Being young isn’t always easy. Either someone’s telling you that you need to think about your future and act like an adult or you’re frustrated because you’re being treated like a child and can’t do what you want. Life throws all kinds of curveballs at you, from the spots on your face to the loves of your life.

Gemma Cairney, former fashion stylist, Radio 1 DJ and author of Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be, comes to Bradford Literature Festival for an open and honest debate about the issues that can affect all young people. She will be in conversation with local campaigner, 16-year-old Mehmoona Parvez.

About The Speakers

Gemma Cairney

Gemma Cairney is a multi-award winning broadcaster, writer, and producer. She currently presents The Surgery on BBC Radio 1. Gemma owns her own production company called Boom Shakalaka Productions. She is ‘Artist In Residence’ at The Southbank Centre and is on the committee for Women Of The World Festival. Outside work she loves to DJ garage classics at parties and lives by the sea, where she can be found wild swimming in a tidal pool.

Mehmoona Parvez

Mehmoona is a student from Bradford who helps to co-run Speakers Corner, a centre for young people and adults. She is a proud feminist who wants to change Bradford for the better.

About The Chair

Shanon Shah

Shanon Shah is a sociologist of religion and Deputy Editor of the acclaimed quarterly Critical Muslim, published by the Muslim Institute and Hurst. In a previous life, he was an award-winning singer-songwriter, playwright and journalist in his native Malaysia. His acclaimed bi-lingual Malay-English play, Air Con, tackled the themes of homophobia, transphobia, religious fundamentalism and racism.