Upcoming Primadonna Festival to bridge Gender Inequality in Literary Culture

The Editorial Team
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“I’m collaborating with 16 great women, including my WE co-founder Sandi Toksvig, and two titans of festivals, Jude Kelly and Joanna Baker, to create the Primadonna Festival, a riotous three-day event that, as the name implies, tilts the balance in favor of work by and about women.”

A brand new festival for creative souls titled ‘Primadonna’ was recently announced. It is scheduled to be held from 30 August to 1 September 2019 in Suffolk, UK. Primadonna promises to be a lavish affair bursting with literary events, lively discussions, music, dance, and food. Primadonna is not just any cultural extravaganza – the festival’s women organizers aim to create an inclusive atmosphere where different voices and cultures are embraced. Catherine Mayer, women’s rights activist, founder of the Primadonna festival and also of the Women Equality Party says in a recent article: “We want to include the kind of women who are often left out…There is an imbalance from the first about who is at the table when decisions are made. We want to work around that, so we will have well-known writers introducing less well-known ones.”

16 great women, including my WE co-founder Sandi Toksvig, and two titans of festivals, Jude Kelly and Joanna Baker, to create the Primadonna Festival.
Primadonnas

Sixteen literary giants are endorsing the event and creating a furor in the cultural community. Gender inequality and a differential attitude towards women in workplaces is a global problem and the literary sphere and publishing business is no different. Catherine Mayer talks about her effort to bring women into the spotlight through the Primadonna festival: “I’m collaborating with 16 great women, including my WE co-founder Sandi Toksvig, and two titans of festivals, Jude Kelly and Joanna Baker, to create the Primadonna Festival, a riotous three-day event that, as the name implies, tilts the balance in favor of work by and about women.”

Christine Mayer and Jane Dyball discussed the possibility of hosting a cultural event for lesser-known writers at Jane’s Suffolk home grounds. Jane Dyball is the winner of the ‘Women in Music’ award and the CEO of MPA Group of Companies. One thing led to another, and the Primadonna festival was born. 

Catherine Mayer announced the festival and highlighted her partners, each of who is a success story in her own right. The much-awaited event has managed to garner support from an eclectic selection of the literary elite, publishing stalwarts, and well-known women’s rights advocates. Sabeena Akhtar, Kit de Waal, Monisha Rajesh, Sonia Purnell, and Catherine Meyer, are familiar to most literati because of their books, editing prowess, journalism, and experience with a festival organization. 

Joanna Baker is a recognizable figure on the women-only core team. She has served as Managing Director of the Edinburgh International Festival for 26 years up to 2018. Jude (short for ‘Judith’) Kelly is a theatre producer and director who will add the dimension of acting to the cultural mix while Sioned William is a commissioning editor for radio. Athena Steven and Sandi (short for ‘Sandra’) Toksvig are multi-dimensional personalitites who don the hats of activist, motivational speaker, actor, and producer at different times. From the publishing world come, Alexis Kirschbaum, publishing director at Bloomsbury, and Lisa Milton who is an executive publisher for Harlequin.

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Shona Abhyankar is set to join ED Public Relations as associate director and is part of the core organizing team. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu is an attorney, author, and political commentator and founder of the ‘Women in Leadership’ publication. Cathryn Summerhayes is an established literary agent with more than a decade of experience in producing books.

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