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 teenage student and youth campaigner in Bradford. She co runs Speakers Corner Collective which is a women led social space aimed at creating change through positive action. Mehmoona is behind the youth led campaign #iamperfectasme which focuses on body positivity and supports the NHS Future in Mind and #selfcareeverywhere campaigns.

About The Chair

Shanon Shah

Shanon Shah is the author of The Making of a Gay Muslim: Religion, Sexuality and Identity in Malaysia and Britain and a deputy editor of Critical Muslim, the acclaimed quarterly publication of the Muslim Institute. He is also an award-winning singer-songwriter and playwright.