This year’s programme is jam-packed full of inspiring creatives


In 2019, the first Primadonna festival was held and featured the likes of Bernardine Evaristo, Elif Shafak and Luke Jennings. Since then the festival has gone on to grow and spotlight a wide range of creatives from the margins. Earlier this year, Primadonna was voted Suffolk’s best festival by the East Anglian Festival Network.

So what do you have to look forward to this year? In short, a lot. The all-ages weekend of books, ideas and inspiration will take place between 29 – 31 July at the Food Museum in Stowmarket. The festival will mix famous names with emerging talent, offering a specific strand of programming for writers and aspiring writers. The lineup will join the “Primadonnas”, the group of women working across the arts who founded the festival – including Sandi Toksvig, Kit de Waal, Catherine Mayer and Jude Kelly.

Festival director Catherine Riley said: “We’ve set up some challenging, provocative and hilarious sessions this year which we know will create the buzz and excitement that Primadonna is known for. There are some amazing names on our line-up already, but we’re not finished programming yet. Expect some big announcements in the coming weeks as we bring even more fantastic talent to Suffolk for what we call ‘the world as it should be, for one weekend.'”

Here are some of the highlights from this year’s programme:

Musician La Roux (Elly Jackson) in conversation with writer Catherine Mayer. This must-see session covers Elly’s career highlights, life in the paparazzi lens and the problems of being a “figurehead” in a world that refuses nuance.

Sunday Times bestselling-author Cathy Retzenbrink in conversation with Abi Morgan, who wrote Suffragette, The Iron Lady and BBC 1’s The Split among other smash hits.

Kit de Waal, whose BBC 1 adaptation of her award-winning novel My Name is Leon is hitting the screens next month, will talk about her new book – a memoir called Without Warning and Only Sometimes – as well as try out a new role as Agony Aunt in a hilarious audience participation event.

Author and broadcaster Symeon Brown will host a discussion on influencer culture with Alex Light and Natalie Lee (StyleMeSunday).

Viv Groskop is recording an episode of her award-winning How To Own The Room podcast live at the festival.

Best-selling author, Erin Kelly, will offer up an insider know-how on “How To Write A Killer Novel”.

Author and features director of Red magazine, Natasha Lunn, leading some Conversations On Love, the title of her recent book and the focus of a panel on alternative happy endings.

Juno Dawson and Zoe Howe exploring the phenomenon of withcraft, the power of the witch figure and the legacy of the witch trials on contemporary culture and iconography.

Patsy Stevenson, whose face became the defining image of the Sarah Everard vigil in 2021, in discussion with activist and commentator Shola Mos-Shogbamimu on the scandals enveloping the Metropolitan police as well as the growing scrutiny of the monarchy in light of Megxit, Prince Andrew’s conduct and the Queen’s Jubilee year.

Want more Primadonna goodness in the lead up? Check out the podcast below!


DIVA magazine celebrates 28 years in print in 2022. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.