Sun 18 February
Brian Bilston and Henry Normal
Brian Bilston has been described as the Banksy of poetry and Twitter’s unofficial Poet Laureate; with over 400,000 followers on social media, Brian has become truly beloved by the online community. He has published several collections of poetry, including You Took the Last Bus Home and Alexa, what is there to know about love?, described by one reviewer as ‘the funniest collection of humorous verse I have seen in a long time’. His novel Diary of a Somebody was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel award. He has also written poetry for children, including a collection of football poems, 50 Ways to Score a Goal, while his acclaimed poem Refugees was set to music by composer Mark-Anthony Turnage and turned into a picture book. Days Like These: An Alternative Guide to the Year in 366 Poems is his latest book and is out now in hardback, a brilliant collection of poems that will take the blues out of Monday, flatten the Wednesday hump and amplify that Friday feeling, from January through to December.
Henry Normal is a writer, poet, TV & Film producer, founder of the Manchester Poetry Festival (now the Literature festival) and co-founder of the Nottingham Poetry Festival. In June 2017 he was honoured with a special BAFTA for services to Television. He co-wrote and script edited the multi-award winning Mrs Merton show and the spin off series Mrs Merton and Malcolm. He also co-created and co-wrote the first series of The Royle Family. With Steve Coogan he co-wrote the BAFTA winning Paul and Pauline Calf Video Diaries, Coogan’s Run, Tony Ferrino, Doctor Terrible and all three of Steve’s live tours and the film The Parole Officer. Setting up Baby Cow Productions Ltd in 1990, Henry Executive Produced all and script edited many of the shows of it’s 17 and a half year output during his tenure as MD. Highlights of the Baby Cow output during his time include the Oscar nominated film Philomena, I believe in Miracles, Gavin and Stacey, Moone Boy, Uncle, Marion and Geof, Nighty Night, The Mighty Boosh, Red Dwarf, Hunderby,
Camping and Alan Partridge. Since retiring in April 2016, Henry has written and performed 10 x BBC Radio 4 shows combining comedy, poetry and stories about family. His 11th BBC Radio 4 show ‘A Normal Journey’ will be recorded this autumn. Born in St Anne’s, Nottingham in 1956, Henry now lives in Fairlight, Nr Hastings with his wife and screenwriter Angela Pell and their son Johnny. In April 2018, Two Roads publishers released his book of memoirs ‘A Normal Family’ which was written with his wife Angela Pell, drawing on his family experience. It immediately became a best seller on Amazon and has already been reprinted. The paperback was released on 21st March 2019.
Henry performs poetry at Literature Festivals around the UK and has eleven poetry books available from Flapjack. On15th August this year Henry’s 12th poetry book entitled ‘Collected Poems Volume 3’ will be released, Henry’s 13th book ‘A Moonless Night ‘ is also set for release on 28th February 2024. He was recently given an honorary doctorate of letters by Nottingham Trent University, another by Nottingham University and has a beer and a bus named after him in Nottingham!