Launch of the Big Town Read 2014

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014


The Boy with the Top KnotMarlborough LitFest in partnership with The Reading Agency are giving away copies of Sathnam Sanghera’s first book, The Boy with the Topknot: A Memoir of Love, Secrets and Lies in Wolverhampton, as part of World Book Night on 23 April and to launch the LitFest’s ‘Big Town Read’ during its weekend festival in September 25-28.

World Book Night is an annual celebration of reading and books run by The Reading Agency – the charity with a mission to give everyone an equal chance to become a reader. Every year on 23 April, volunteers give hundreds of thousands of books away in their communities to share their love of reading and encourage those people who, for whatever reason, don’t read for pleasure or own books. In 2014, 250,000 books from a list of 20 specially chosen titles will be given away on World Book Night. According to The Reading Agency, 35% of people in the UK do not read regularly despite reading for pleasure being a globally recognised indicator in a huge range of social issues from poverty to mental health. People are also invited to become a Community Book Giver and give a book of their own, bought specially or taken from their shelves, to someone who doesn’t read regularly.

Following the success of Jackie Kay’s appearance at last year’s LitFest Big Town Read event, Sathnam Sanghera’s book has been chosen from this year’s World Book Night list to be the ‘Big Town Read’ for 2014. The LitFest is encouraging local book groups and individuals to read Sathnam’s book in advance of his appearance at the fifth annual LitFest in September so that the audience can discuss it in a Q&A session with the author. Sathnam Sanghera will be appearing on Sunday 28 September at 4pm at the Town Hall, Marlborough.

Born to Punjabi parents in the West Midlands in 1976, Sathnam Sanghera attended Wolverhampton Grammar School and graduated from Cambridge University with a First in English. Before becoming a writer, Sathnam (among other things) worked at a burger chain, a hospital laundry, a market research firm, a sewing factory and a literacy project in New York.

His first book, The Boy with the Topknot: A Memoir of Love, Secrets and Lies in Wolverhampton was named 2009 Mind Book of the Year. In part, the book is a hilarious gallop through the typical teenage frustrations of growing up in a provincial town, with frequent musings about escaping for something more exciting. But what really resonates is his observation of life in a Punjabi Sikh family in the 1980s and 1990s, and the book’s central thread – an incredible depiction of how he and his family came to terms with his father and sister having a serious mental illness.

The Marlborough LitFest celebrates its fifth year in 2014 (25-28 September) with an exciting roll-call of established writers and emerging new talent, including Louis de Bernières, Lynne Truss, Sarah Dunant, Jenny Uglow, Simon Garfield, Nina Stibbe, and former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams discussing the WWI poets. The programme features over 20 events, covering adult and children’s fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

The Marlborough Litfest committee would like to thank our Founder Sponsor ALCS Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, lead sponsor Brewin Dolphin and events sponsors Hiscox Insurance, Knight Frank, and Duncan Morris Solicitors for their continued support.