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“The queer voice has never felt so urgent in my life time as it does today.”

We are very excited to announce that Dr Valerie Mason-John will be flying over from Canada for the inaugural DIVA Literary Festival this November.

Valerie is an author, a poet and a survivor with an inspiring life story. After growing up in Dr Barnardo’s foster homes, she ended up living on the streets. As a teenager she was locked up for shoplifting, but when she was released from Borstal at the age of 17 she turned her life around and started college. She went on to become an international correspondent covering issues such as Sinn Fein Prisoners and Aboriginal Australian deaths in custody. In 2006 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of East London in recognition of her achievements and contribution to the African Diaspora.

Now an award-winning writer, she has written and co-written many works of fiction and non-fiction, including Detox Your Heart, Borrowed Body and Eight Step Recovery – Using The Buddha’s Teachings To Overcome Addiction.

Valerie said:

“The queer voice has never felt so urgent in my life time as it does today. Gay concentration camps in Russia, the rise of Trump and Le Pen and Brexit are a threat to our diverse visibility. We must not be silent. Come celebrate our lives at DIVA Literary Festival.”

We can’t wait to have her at this fantastic event celebrating the cream of the crop of lesbian and bi literature. Other authors already confirmed include Val McDermid, Kiki Archer, Stella Duffy and Lucy Sutcliffe.

The packed weekend programme will include workshops, panels, interviews and the first ever DIVA Literary Awards, hosted by DIVA columnist, Radio DIVA host, actor and singer Heather Peace.

The DIVA Literary Festival and Awards takes place 3-5 November at the Hilton Metropole, Birmingham NEC. Book now at

To see Valerie in action, watch her brilliant Ted talk now.

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