Stormzy’s #Merky Books launches literature festival to ‘inspire young creatives’

<span>Photograph: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

A free festival from Stormzy’s #Merky Books imprint, headlined by musician Wretch 32, poet John Agard and former children’s laureate Malorie Blackman, will aim to demystify publishing for aspiring storytellers across all media.

The event, consisting of two days of workshops and masterclasses at the Roundhouse in London, expands on a pop-up held by #Merky Books in 2019.

Stormzy said he was proud to be able to offer the event, taking place on 22 and 23 April, to “inspire young creatives”.

The festival, sponsored by Netflix, will showcase established authors alongside new voices and will cover literature, as well as writing and storytelling across film, TV, music and photography.

The headline event on 22 April will be a panel discussion with Wretch 32 and Agard, followed by an opening party hosted by Sounds by No Signal. Blackman, author of the award-winning Noughts & Crosses series, will interviewed by DJ Vick Hope on 23 April.

Other highlights include a spoken-word performance with Sophia Thakur, Monika Radojevic, Caleb Femi and Yomi Ṣode, a panel discussion exploring the theme of girlhood with author Candice Brathwaite and playwright and screenwriter Theresa Ikoko and a conversation on mental health and resilience hosted by BBC Radio 1Xtra presenter Richie Brave.

There will also be career drop-in clinics held by Penguin Random House UK, which #Merky Books is a part of, Netflix and expert industry organisations such as MYM: Million Youth Media.

Independent bookseller Round Table Books will run a bookshop throughout the weekend, while Run the Check, which promotes paid jobs in the creative industries, will hold Ask Me Anything sessions each day.

Lemara Lindsay-Prince, senior commissioning editor for #Merky Books, said the imprint was “committed to breaking down barriers in the publishing industry and investing in the voices of today and tomorrow”.

Related: Turning a new page: the rise of #Merky Books

The festival, she added, would “demystify the creative industries, empower a new generation of talent and offer an insight into the range of careers in the arts”.

Netflix’s VP of UK content, Anne Mensah, said: “Without everyone’s voices represented in the arts, we are so much less than we should be. Events like the #Merky Books literature festival open up our industry to young people and show the range of real and accessible careers available to them.”

Event passes for the festival will be available from the Roundhouse’s website, with further sign-ups for workshops and masterclasses available at the venue on the day.