Why do stories matter? Fellow writers Nikesh Shukla, Preti Taneja, Nikita Gill and Anthony Anaxagorou discuss Your Story Matters, the new book from author, editor and writing mentor Nikesh Shukla.

This panel will consider the importance of storytelling as a means of making sense of a life lived, exploring the ways in which telling stories can help us to understand our place in the world around us, and taking tips from Nikesh’s book on how we can start telling stories of our own, with insights into the craft of writing, process, technique, editing, character, story and plot.

About The Speakers

Nikesh Shukla Headshot

Nikesh Shukla

Nikesh Shukla is a novelist and screenwriter. He is the author of Coconut Unlimited (shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award), Meatspace and the critically acclaimed The One Who Wrote Destiny. Nikesh is the editor of the bestselling essay collection, The Good Immigrant, which won the reader’s choice at the Books Are My Bag Awards. He co-edited The Good Immigrant USA with Chimene Suleyman. He is the author of two YA novels, Run, Riot (shortlisted for a National Book Award) and The Boxer (longlisted for the Carnegie Medal). Nikesh was one of Time Magazine’s cultural leaders, Foreign Policy magazine’s 100 Global Thinkers and The Bookseller’s 100 most influential people in publishing in 2016 and in 2017. He is the co-founder of the literary journal, The Good Journal and The Good Literary Agency. Nikesh is a fellow of the Royal Society Of Literature and a member of the Folio Academy. Nikesh’s new book, Brown Baby: A Memoir Of Race, Family And Home was released on Bluebird in February 2021. He is also the host of the Brown Baby Podcast. Nikesh’s latest book on writing craft, Your Story Matters, will also feature at the festival. 

Nikita Gill

Nikita Gill is a British-Indian writer and poet living in the south of England. Her works include Fierce Fairytales: & Other Stories to Stir Your Soul (2019), Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from Myths and Monsters (2019), The Girl and The Goddess (2020). Her most recent book Where Hope Comes From: Poems of Resilience, Healing and Light was published in 2021. With over 500,000 followers, Nikita is one of the most popular poets on Instagram.

Anthony Anaxagorou headshot

Anthony Anaxagorou

Anthony Anaxagorou is a British-born Cypriot poet, fiction writer, essayist, publisher and poetry educator. His poetry has been published in POETRY, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, New Statesman, Granta, and elsewhere. His work has also appeared on BBC Newsnight, BBC Radio 4, ITV, Vice UK, Channel 4 and Sky Arts.  

His second collection After the Formalities published with Penned in the Margins is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and was shortlisted for the 2019 T.S Eliot Prize along with the 2021 Ledbury Munthe Poetry Prize for Second Collections. It was also a Telegraph and Guardian poetry book of the year.  

In 2020 he published How To Write It with Merky Books; a practical guide fused with tips and memoir looking at the politics of writing as well as the craft of poetry and fiction along with the wider publishing industry. 

He was awarded the 2019 H-100 Award for writing and publishing, and the 2015 Groucho Maverick Award for his poetry and fiction. In 2019 he was made an honorary fellow of the University of Roehampton. Anthony is artistic director of Out-Spoken, a monthly poetry and music night held at London’s Southbank Centre, and publisher of Out-Spoken Press.

His forthcoming poetry collection Heritage Aesthetics will be published by Granta in 2022. 

Preti Taneja Headshot

Preti Taneja

Preti Taneja is a writer and activist. Her debut novel We that are Young is a translation of King Lear set in contemporary India, and her second book is Aftermath, a lament on trauma, terror, prison and grief. Her writing has been published in The White Review, the Guardian, Vogue India, the New Statesman and in anthologies of short stories, essays, literary criticism and prose poetry.

Preti has taught writing in prisons, worked with arts practitioners around the world mediating their own conflict and post conflict zones, and with young people across deprived parts of the UK who want to get published.

She is Professor of World Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Newcastle.