Fabulous libraries

Shami ChakrabartiShami Chakrabarti

With a line-up including a discussion of women's rights with Shami Chakrabarti in Wanstead, this month's Fabula Festival is set to show that there is far more to libraries than books. Anita Luby reports.

If you haven't been into one of Redbridge's libraries for a while then you're in for a pleasant surprise! Gone are the days when libraries were just places full of dusty books and bespectacled librarians telling you to be quiet. These days, you are just as likely to come across live theatre and music as you are a shelf of books.

Libraries in Redbridge are thriving cultural hotspots that support grassroots local creative talent as well as bringing high-quality arts programming to the borough. For many residents, their first cultural experience takes place in one of our libraries. Over the last three years, the library service has been developing Fabula Festival to make libraries even more engaging for the community.

Fabula Festival is a unique, week-long celebration of the art of storytelling and its power to transform lives. It is delivered through a programme of performances, children's events, author talks, films, writing programmes, workshops and specially commissioned arts projects. It is designed to encourage Redbridge residents of all ages to develop their enjoyment of reading, writing and storymaking through participation in high-quality arts activities and events.

This year, the festival is even bigger and better as we celebrate the power of libraries during National Libraries Week from 9 to 14 October to showcase the very best in literature, music, drama, dance, film, art and technology.

Highlights include a lively event with Shami Chakrabarti and Rachel Holmes at Wanstead Library, which will explore women's rights and history. Leading human rights campaigner, Chakrabarti's new work, Of Women, makes the case for radical positive action to promote the vindication of the rights of women worldwide in the 21st century. Rachel Holmes ventures further back in history to tell the story of Eleanor Marx, a woman who did more than any other to transform British politics in the 19th century. Elsewhere in the festival, London Laureate Laurie Bolger will be leading a masterclass for aspiring writers followed by a performance event featuring herself and rising star on the poetry circuit, Kieron Rennie.

Redbridge Libraries issue the most children's books across London and this is partly down to the programme of events for families we offer throughout the year. The 'kids take over' events curated by the magical Discover Story Centre – which will take place at Redbridge Central Library and Fulwell Cross Library over the weekend of 13 and 14 October – won't disappoint.

There's so much going on throughout the festival that all tastes and abilities will be catered for, so pick up or download a festival brochure today.

Fabula Festival is curated and produced by Redbridge Library & Culture Service and managed by Vision RCL on behalf of Redbridge Council. To book tickets for festival events, visit wavidi.co/fabula18

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