Cafedirect Sponsors Toast


    I’m very pleased to announce that the very excellent Fairtrade company Cafedirect is sponsoring my talk at the Guardian Hay Literature Festival 2009.

    The talk is at 9am on Sunday 31st May, and Cafedirect will be kindly providing free coffee – and I think I may be able to rustle up some toast and jam, too…

    I’ll be giving a preview reading on the afternoon of Saturday 30th, and there’s a competition to win copies of Toast and more…

    Cafedirect are UK’s leading Fairtrade hot drinks company.
    As well as being 100% Fairtrade, Cafedirect invest over half of their profits into the businesses of their grower partners. This goes into training and development programmes so that they can become experts in their trade. This unique, direct and long-term relationship, with 39 partners across 13 countries, has resulted in a range of excellent quality and great tasting coffees, teas and hot chocolate.
    This has been recognised by numerous awarding bodies e.g. recently Cafedirect won eight Great Taste Awards – the highest number awarded to any hot beverage company by the Guild of Fine Foods!

    For more info please visit

    Poland – Gdansk, Warszawa, & Krakow

    Gearing up to head to Poland next week, giving three talks in three cities in three days, for Macmillan Poland, and their new Global course.

    More details can be found on Macmillan’s site here…

    Toast nominated for’s Falstaff Awards!

    The kind folks over at (who’re also responsible for the Shakespeare iPhone App) have had their annual Falstaff Awards, and Shakespeare on Toast was nominated for their Best Book or Publication category.

    Up against some steely competition, including Andrew Gurr’s Shakespeare’s Opposites and AD Cousins’ The Shakespeare Encyclopedia, I’m touched and honoured Toast was up for consideration.

    Full details of the other categories, including Jude Law’s Hamlet win for Best Principal Performance, can all be found here…

    Happy Birthday Will!

    In celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday, there are a whole bunch of events and performances across the country today.

    They can all be found at, a project which says:

    The idea is for everyone throughout the United Kingdom to have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have fun with Shakespeare

    Great stuff. I’m a supporter of the organisation, if there’s an event near you today, pop along…

    A Review of a great new Graphic Novel – Kill Shakespeare!

    I was asked recently to put some ‘unfettered’ thoughts together about the first edition of a new graphic novel, Kill Shakespeare!

    First off, I think it’s *beautifully* drawn. Reminds me of Hellboy, particularly the ghosts and witches. It looks great, has a good pace, and is exciting to read. I like the story too: it’s a nice twist – one I’d been toying with for a while – and it left me wanting to read more.

    Click here to read the review in full – though you will have to read past another’s vitriol to get to my thoughts.

    Congrats to Anthony & Conor, and all else responsible…

    British Psychological Society, Stamford Shakespeare Society, & Rebel Shakespeare Company!

    Apologies for the lateness in this post, but last week was somewhat frenetic.

    Following on from the great gig at Peter Parker’s Rock’n’Roll Club last Monday, I had been kindly invited to give the after-dinner speech at the British Psychological Society’s 2010 Conference in the ever-beautiful Stratford-upon-Avon. A terrific evening, with much fascinating post-dinner in-depth analysis of Life, the Universe and Everything Shakespeare with some of the delegates.

    Then on Friday I whisked myself over to Tolethorpe Hall – a beautiful manor near Stamford, with a wonderful open-air theatre where the Stamford Shakespeare Society perform, to speak at the Cambridge Welland Valley branch of the English Speaking Union for their annual Shakespeare Literary Lunch!

    Last, but by no means least, a wonderful day in London’s Regent’s Park yesterday, running a workshop on Acting Shakespeare for a terrific bunch of young American actors, all members of the Rebel Shakespeare Company, from Salem, MA.


    To Hell With The Lighthouse – 8pm tonight!

    Speaking tonight at Peter Parker’s Rock’n’Roll Club, 4 Denmark Street, with David Whitehouse, Joe Stretch & Dockers MC…

    More details here…

    BBC Blast – Othello Retold

    A clip from BBC Blast’s film about the Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company’s production of Othello Retold, which I worked on last year…

    My review of James Shapiro’s Contested Will, Independent on Sunday

    My review of James Shapiro’s Contested Will, and Doug Stewart’s The Boy Who Would Be Shakespeare, in today’s Independent on Sunday:

    For so long, I had not wanted to get drawn in to this unanswerable debate. No more. Now I’m out and proud. Shapiro’s is an important book, which goes a long way towards putting an end to the authorship question once and for all. Bring on the conspiracy theorists, I have met their nemesis, and its name shall be Contested Will.

    So it was with eagerness that I turned to Doug Stewart’s The Boy Who Would Be Shakespeare, keen to delve deeper into one of the stories that Shapiro thrillingly covers in a dozen pages: the story of the forger William Henry Ireland.

    Click here to read the review in full…

    Oxfam Bookshop, Bloomsbury — Thursday 25th March

    This Thursday, 6.30pm…

    Readings from Ben Crystal, Anne-Marie Fyffe, and Owen Sheers,
    compered by Rakesh Bhanot, Shop Events Manager. The shop will be open from 18:30. Event starts at 18:45. Limited refreshments will be served.

    12 Bloomsbury Street
    WC1B 3QA

    The shop can accommodate a maximum of 60 guests (30 seated and 30 standing) so early booking is advised. Please telephone or email to book:

    t 020 7637 4610