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Spake: in conversation with Roy McFarlane, Lisa Blower and Urszula Clark (Feb 2020)

February 5 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Wednesday 5 February, 2020, 6pm-7pm

Waterstones Birmingham, 24-26 High Street, Birmingham, B4 7SL


An evening of discussion about the West Midlands dialect, its preconceptions and Spake, a love letter to the region’s many voices.

Join us for an evening with Roy McFarlane, Lisa Blower and Urszula Clark as we discuss the West Midlands dialect, as well as the prejudices, challenges and interesting stories which often accompany it – all of which is explored in Spake: Dialect and Voices from the West Midlands.

After the sell-out book launch of Spake at Birmingham Literature Festival 2019 with Paul McDonald and Rupinder Kaur, it seemed that there was much more to discuss concerning West Midlands voices, experiences, and wider attitudes towards regional accents. So, we are back with another event alongside some wonderful contributors of Spake to delve deeper into the enigma that is the West Midlands accent.

This event will be chaired by Jonathan Davidson, Chief Executive of Writing West Midlands.

Copies of Spake will be available to purchase at the event.

This is a collaborative project between Writing West Midlands and Aston University.


More on Spake: Dialect and Voices from the West Midlands

“Examining regional accents and our attitudes to them are a way of peering into Britain’s soul. I can’t wait for this book” – Sathnam Sanghera

Spake is a love letter to West Midlands voice and a challenge the preconceptions and prejudices that abound about dialect and non-standard English. Much maligned, frequently overlooked or simply left out altogether: the English West Midlands has for decades been diminished in the national conversation – and with it, the rich dialects and voices of the region are often misunderstood, ignored or worse – ridiculed and mocked. But who’s to say that the way we ‘spake’ isn’t every bit a vital and precious part of the landscape as other accents and dialects?

This anthology features contemporary writing that draws upon dialect in ways that explore the potential of the narrative and poetic voice, bringing to life the silent histories and harsh realities of a vanishing working-class way of life in what was once Britain’s industrial heartland. From contemporary re-imaginings of the interwar decades in Steven Knight’s TV series Peaky Blinders to Liz Berry’s prize-winning poetry and up and coming new talent, this book celebrates and gives voice to experiences rooted in the region that have largely lain at the margins.

Featuring contributions from Liz Berry, Lisa Blower, R M Francis, Rupinder Kaur, Steven Knight, Paul McDonald, Roy McFarlane, John Mills, Emma Purshouse, Roderick Smith, Meera Syal, Julie Walters and Benjamin Zephaniah.


24 - 26 High Street
Birmingham, B4 7SL
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Writing West Midlands