Gala El-Behairy Sentence Update/Green Plaque Nominations/Bradford Literature Festival – Poetry News Roundup June 30th

Our final news update of the week brings an update on the sentencing of the poet Gala El-Behairy, nominations for green plaques in Leicestershire and the Bradford Literature Festival.

Sentencing of Poet Postponed

The poet Gala El-Behairy, who is currently imprisoned in the Tora prison in Egypt on charges of spreading false news and insulting the army, has had his sentencing date postponed.

A verdict in the case was due to be given on 27thJune, however, this has now been postponed until 28thJune. This is not the time that the poet has had the verdict of his case postponed it was originally set for 9thMay, however, this was postponed to 16thMay and then 27thJune.

The charges that are being levelled against the poet relate to the publication of “The Finest Women on Earth” his latest book of poetry. However, whilst the book has been printed and all the necessary permissions for its release obtained it has not in fact been published as such.

Galal has now been in Tora prison since he was originally arrested on 3rdMarch and there are growing calls in the literary community for his release. In addition to this military trial, the poet is also facing a civil case related to some of his poetry that has been used as lyrics by a fellow musician.

Nominees for Green Plaque Honour Unveiled

Leicestershire County Council have announced their nominees for the possible dozen names that they are considering in their current round of nominations for a green plaque.

The nominations include one of the most famous names in the world of travel Thomas Cook – the founder of the Thomas Cook travel agency, William Lilly a 17thCentury astrologer and author, and the poet, historian and essayist Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay.

Of the dozen names on the list, six will be chosen to receive the honour. The shortlist has been put together by the committee who deal with green plaques and the nominations for then, however, the voting for the final six is open to the public. The public are invited to vote with online or by requesting a postal voting form from the council. Voting will close on 30thJuly and it is hoped that the results will be announced shortly after.

Bradford Literature Festival

This years Bradford Literature Festival will take place from 29thJune to 8thJuly and there are over 500 speakers confirmed who will take place in more that 400 sessions. The festival is a celebration of both the spoken and the written word, in all it’s forms, and has grown from an audience in 2014 of just 968 to over 50,000 last year.

Amongst those names confirmed to attend this year are the boxer Frank Bruno, musician Kate Bush, Carol Ann Duffy the British poet laureate and Kei Miller the Jamaican poet.

One of the special commissions that will be at the festival this year is a public art installation in celebration of the Bronte sisters. This is in the form of a set of stones engraved with original works by Kate Bush, Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay and Jeanette Winterson celebrating each of the sisters.

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