This is a sponsored article on behalf of Cityread.
Calling all bookworms! Cityread — the festival that transforms London into one massive, interactive book club — is back, and this year’s chosen read is quite the page-turner.
Across the whole of May, 25 London boroughs (plus Luton and Slough) host talks, live readings, workshops and much more, all inspired by Ayesha Malik’s hit debut novel, Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged. Dubbed the ‘Muslim Bridget Jones’, this sharp romantic comedy explores the Muslim dating scene through the lens of a young, British-Pakistani publicist navigating life and love in London.
Intrigued? There are plenty of ways you can get involved with Cityread 2019 — first and foremost by getting your hands on a copy of the book if you haven’t yet devoured it. Head to Westfield Stratford City at 4pm on 2 May to scoop up one of the 1000 special edition copies of Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged being given away. If you’re not able to make that, you can read the ebook for free for the whole month (though it’s so delightfully moreish, you’re highly unlikely to need that long).
Other highlights include live readings by actors Anjli Mohindra (Bodyguard, Dark Heart) and Nina Wadia (EastEnders), a special screening of Bridget Jones’s Diary featuring a Q&A with Malik, and a panel discussion dedicated to one of the most unfairly overlooked literary genres: chick lit.
There are plenty of chances for you to ignite your own creativity, too. On Saturday 18 May, you’re invited to join Alex Werner, Lead Curator at the Museum of London and filmmaker Paul Atherton to discover diaries kept by Londoners throughout history, before workshopping your very own video journal.
And, if you’re up for stretching your legs, you can join Blue Badge Guide Katy Wignell for a walking tour around Spitalfields, exploring the evolution of London’s Muslim community in the capital’s original cultural melting pot.
With over three quarters of the capital’s boroughs getting involved, we’d need all day to give every event a shout out. But you can check out the full line-up — and see what’s going on in your borough — here. Happy reading!
Cityread Festival 2019, Wednesday 1 May-Friday 31 May 2019, across London.