HeadRead literary festival announces its first international guests: Leïla Slimani, Ian Thomson, Philip Gross

Catherine Hélie © Éditions Gallimard

This year’s HeadRead literary festival in Tallinn will once again welcome renowned writers and literary figures. They include French-Moroccan Leïla Slimani, a Prix Goncourt winning journalist and author. She arrived at fiction after her coverage of the Arab Spring in 2011 and her arrest in Tunisia. Her subject matter involves international scandals like the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn (Dans le jardin de l’ogre, 2014) and murderous nannies (Chanson douce, 2016).

Ian Thomson is a translator, writer and journalist of Estonian origin who has written for publications like The Guardian, The Independent and Times Literary Supplement. He is currently teaching at the University of East Anglia. His most prominent work is a biography of Primo Levi (2002, reprint in 2019).

HeadRead is also happy to welcome another guest of Estonian origin, British poet Philip Gross, who is probably the only T. S. Eliot Prize winner who has Estonian roots. The Poetry Book Society has lauded ‘his deep enquiry into and fascination with the nature of embodiment and existence’. In his academic work, he has studied the creative process, in particular, cross-arts work and collaboration, and he is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of South Wales.

Other guests include children’s author Toon Tellegen, literary critic Galina Yuzefovich, author of a bestselling book on wolves Elli Radinger, storyteller and choreographer Nikky Smedley, columnist and author A. N. Wilson, cultural journalist and writer Mattias Berg and many others. The final list of international guests will be announced in February.

The HeadRead literary festival will be held in Tallinn from 22 to 26 May 2019.

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A selection of talks from previous festivals is available via the Estonian Public Broadcasting

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