What is the Flipside festival?

Tom Bailey's VIGIL will form part of Flipside 2019 at Henham Barns in November Photo: Flipside

Tom Bailey's VIGIL will form part of Flipside 2019 at Henham Barns in November Photo: Flipside - Credit: Archant

Flipside festival is more than a literary event, it’s a place to explore ideas, enjoy experiences and swap stories. This weekend it’s settling into its new home

Mira Calix who is appearing ast Flipside 2019 at Hensham Barns Photo: Jana Chielino

Mira Calix who is appearing ast Flipside 2019 at Hensham Barns Photo: Jana Chielino - Credit: Archant

Literary festival Flipside is setting up a new home at Henham Barns, near Southwold, this weekend for a one day event which is designed to get everyone talking.

The international literary festival has been part of the Suffolk cultural calendar since 2013 when it first introduced its heady mix of books, music and food to Snape Maltings. This year FlipSide has been titled The Purpose of Place and looks to provide an immersive day of conversations, performance, screenings, music and more - all centred on the concept: The purpose of place and the place of purpose.

For organiser and Booker Prize judge Liz Calder, the event has always been about providing a 'cultural encounter' rather than staging another straight forward book festival - which is why the festival brought so many different experiences into the programme.

This year the festival explores our relationship with place - with where we are, how we affect it, and it affects us. Co-founder co-founder Genevieve Christie said: "Now, as everything we know about that encounter is changing, and we are questioning more than ever how we live on the earth, and to what ends, Flipside 2019 explores the many ways in which writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians, poets and activists are responding to the challenges we face.

Liz Calder co-director of the Flipside Festival

Liz Calder co-director of the Flipside Festival - Credit: Archant

"We're pitching our camp for a full day of spirited meetings in the remarkable landscape of Henham Park, close to an equally distinctive coast, one that knows the force of the climate on its cliffs and its shores. And there's one thing you can be sure of. We are all changed by our time in such places, with such talents. This is Flipside's purpose."

This year's programme features pioneering literary star and advocate Robert Macfarlane and Radiohead's long-term artist-in-residence Stanley Donwood discussing their collaboration on new book Ness, a prose-poem-mystery-play for the earth's 'human age' the time when we, as a species, have made a mark upon the world in which we live.

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Described as a poetic parable of land itself resisting, Ness is to be spoken aloud, sung, staged. Ness is a black mass for dark times, described by fellow writer and editor Max Porter as "a triumphant libretto of mythic modernism for our poisoned age".

The book features 12 original drawings by artist Stanley Donwood. The image at the core of Ness is the 'hagstone' - a flint with a natural hole through it. In folklore across Europe, to look through such a stone is to see into the future or the past - or through the veil.

Orfordness as seen from the air in 2015. The changing nature of the Ness is the subject of a Flipsid

Orfordness as seen from the air in 2015. The changing nature of the Ness is the subject of a Flipside discussion this weekend. Photo: Mike Page - Credit: Archant

In Home Truths, essayists Joanna Pocock and Jon Day will explore the worlds both local and distant conjured and conjoined in their acclaimed new books, respectively Surrender and Homing.

From the vastness of Montana to the streets, parks and waterways of east London, they will tease out the myriad threads of being from which we weave a sense of enduring and viable identity.

In his new book The Great Flood, the award-winning investigative writer of Leadville Edward Platt, takes as his point of departure the record-breaking waters of 2013-14. With cultural and social historian Ken Worpole, who has written extensively on Eastern England and also on the 1953 disaster, they will discuss the challenge of the tides and the realities we will be increasingly facing.

In Culture Declares Emergency with Mira Calix and Dan Harvey, these two remarkable artists who are central to the growing Culture Declares Emergency movement, will be in conversation about how their practices can both inform and inspire collective creative and transformational action.

Author Julia Blackburn and artist Jayne Ivimey will soar with the birds - in print and paint - as they talk about their book Bird by Bird, and Tom Bailey's extraordinary award-winning performance Vigil will remind us how they are not free of threat.

There will be an impressive programme of films during the festival. The screening of Magda's Boy will see the East of England premiere of a new film about the life and work of Norfolk-based poet George Szirtes.

Meanwhile photographer Bill Jackson's new film Man of Stones about Suffolk sculptor Laurence Edwards will also have its premier at FlipSide and throughout the day the festival will be screening films from Britain on Film on Tour, specially crafted film programmes of archive films including Welcome to Britain, Coast and Sea and Rural Life.

FlipSide 2019: The Purpose of Place is at Henham Barns, near Southwold, on November 16.

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