UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 2020: With the live literature scene and most live book appearances and festivals currently largely curtailed due to COVID-19-related public health measures, I am currently doing fewer events than usual. However the events I have been doing are largely online – via Zoom and other platforms – so in theory at least they may prove to be more accessible. Watch this space, or follow me on Twitter for news of upcoming events, or sign up here to receive invites via my occasional mailing list.
I am often invited to give readings and to talk about my books and other projects for audiences in all kinds of places around the world. For upcoming events, scroll down.
I’ve performed at festivals including Glastonbury, Port Eliot, Sheffield’s Off The Shelf Festival of Words, Manchester Literature Festival, Durham Book Festival, Richmond Literature Festival, TULCA Festival of Visual Arts in Galway, Festival Poligon in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and many more, as well as at universities including King’s College London, the Royal College of Art, The Slade, Westminster, UCL, and Brunel University London, at Macquarie University, Sydney and the Victoria College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia. I’ve done solo events and panel discussions in bookshops including Waterstones in Oxford and London, and at celebrated independent bookshops all over the country, including the Golden Hare, Storytellers Inc., The Bookseller Crow, Bookartbookshop, and Housmans.
I’ve given masterclasses at The Guardian and Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature. I’ve also spoken and given readings at museums and art centres including Turner Contemporary, The Whitworth in Manchester, The MAC in Belfast and the ICA, London, as well as galleries including Cabinet, PEER and The Approach. I’ve given readings in pubs, libraries, museums and nightclubs, at spoken word gigs from Faber Social to Brixton Book Jam and In Yer Ear, and at performance art venues across the UK and around the world: from London to Lancashire, Soho to Split, from Sir George Gilbert Scott’s chapel at King’s College London to the Dissenters’ Chapel in Kensal Green Cemetery.
I enjoy giving live readings, and consider it an important part of my work as a writer. I would love to welcome you to forthcoming events. If you’d like to receive invites to future events and launches, you can subscribe to an occasional mailing list here.
2021 dates include:
April 14 2021: more info soon.
February 9 2021: They are all of them themselves and they repeat it and I hear it Anna Barham & Irene Revell’ live-streamed reading group continues with live readings from How to Write, by Gertrude Stein. More info and streaming archive.
January 26 2021: They are all of them themselves and they repeat it and I hear it Anna Barham & Irene Revell’ live-streamed reading group continues in 2021 with live readings from a new title: How to Write, by Gertrude Stein. More info and streaming archive.
2020 dates include:
December 30 2020: The 23rd and final part of ‘They are all of them themselves and they repeat it and I hear it’ — concluding Anna Barham and Irene Revell’s yearlong reading of Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans (1925). Readings from Anna Barham, Sarah Chilvers, Jen Hodgson, Sabrina Fuller, Daniela Cascella, Kerstin Shrodinger, Cristina Ramos, Louise Gray, Sarah Chatwin, Tony White, Karen Di Franco, Julia Calver, Joanna Raczynska, Teresa Cos, Lady Lucy, Dragos Olea, Naoko Takahashi, Holly Antrum, Claire Holdsworth, Harriet Plewis, Serena Braida, Vanessa Desclaux, Esmerelda Valencia, Miranda Clow, Lucy A Sames, Katherine MacBride, Tess Denman-Cleaver, Irene Revell. Streaming starts 8:00 pm. More info and streaming archive here.
December 2 2020: ‘They are all of them themselves and they repeat it and I hear it’ — Anna Barham and Irene Revell’s yearlong reading of Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans (1925). Streaming starts 8:00 pm. More info and streaming archive here.
October 29 2020: Crime Writers’ Association – ‘In conversation with Antony Johnston’, plus readings from Victoria Dowd, Tony White, Barbara Nadel. Streaming starts 7:30. Sorry, audience limited to CWA members only.
October 20 2020: ‘They are all of them themselves and they repeat it and I hear it’ — Anna Barham and Irene Revell’s yearlong reading of Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans (1925). Streaming starts 8:00 pm. More info and streaming archive here.
September 19 2020: A Leap in the Dark 50 – the last-ever Leap in the Dark, an online gathering that has been running twice-weekly since early April and has, to date, featured more than 150 contributors. Featuring Helen Ottaway, Tony White, Natalia Zagorska-Thomas, Michael Hughes, Amy McCauley, Helen and Melanie Pappenheim, Tim Etchells, Henningham Family Press, Aea Varfis-van Warmelo, regular feature the ‘settee salon’ and your host the Pale Usher a.k.a. David Collard. Streaming starts 8pm.
June 27 2020: A Leap in the Dark 26, a special edition of David Collard’s online salon dedicated to Seen From Here: Writing in the Lockdown, introduced by the editors Tim Etchells and Vlatka Horvat, with Season Butler, Tony White, Andrea Mason, Chris Thorpe, Rachel Genn, Fernando Sdrigotti, Jacob Wren, Marvin Thompson, Lara Pawson, M John Harrison, Caroline Bergvall. 100% of proceeds from Seen From Here go to The Trussell Trust. 8pm Saturday 27th June 2020
May 19 2020: ‘They are all of them themselves and they repeat it and I hear it’ — Anna Barham and Irene Revell’s yearlong reading of Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans (1925). More info and streaming archive here.
May 6 2020: ‘They are all of them themselves and they repeat it and I hear it’ — Anna Barham and Irene Revell’s yearlong reading of Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans (1925). More info and streaming archive here.
May 1 2020: 24 hours of special broadcasts, midnight to midnight, to mark the 18th anniversary of London’s arts community radio station Resonance 104.4fm. Featuring two new works from Tony White never before broadcast on radio | 05:30, a radio edit of my short story ‘Apocryphal Fragment from the Lives of the Conquistadors’, from A Puppet Show by Steven Hull for Glow: Santa Monica 2013 | 20:00, short story ‘High-Lands’ performed live at the Mechanics’ Institute, Galway for TULCA Festival of Visual Arts 2016, with live musical accompaniment from New Pope. More info and Listen Again to these programmes here.
April 9 2020: ‘They are all of them themselves and they repeat it and I hear it’ — Anna Barham and Irene Revell’s yearlong reading of Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans (1925). Now online. More info and streaming archive here.
March 15 2020: Essex Book Festival. The Word From Paris with Philip Terry and Tony White. The Penguin Book of Oulipo book launch. This is the first collection in English to bring together 100 pieces of ‘Oulipo’ writing. Editor and translator Philip Terry will be joined by novelist Tony White to read and discuss selections from the book, as well as some of their own writing inspired by the group. 4:00–5:00pm, Studio 1, Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, High Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1JH. Tickets: 27 years and under: £5.00 | Standard: £7.00. Info and bookings.
February 29 2020: A Leap in the Dark. A one-off entertainment to celebrate the leap year with music, performance, poetry, prose, book talk. Also good grub, strong drink & cocoa. Feat. Anna Aslanyan, Tim Etchells, Neil Griffiths, David Henningham, Michael Hughes, Melanie Pappenheim, Paul Stanbridge, Aea Varfis-van Warmelo, Tony White, Natalia Zagorska-Thomas, David Collard. 6:00–9:30pm, Paddington Conservative Club, 1 Hormead Road, London, W9 3NG. Doors open at 6:00pm. The show starts at 6:15 and will finish at around 9:30pm, with two intervals. Tickets £11.00. Info and bookings.
February 1 2020: ‘They are all of them themselves and they repeat it and I hear it’ — Anna Barham and Irene Revell’s yearlong reading of Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans (1925). More info and streaming archive here.
January 11 2020: ‘They are all of them themselves and they repeat it and I hear it: a yearlong reading of Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans (1925)’. Group reading/performance and livestream curated and produced by Anna Barham and Irene Revell. Invited participants. Further dates to follow.
2019 dates include:
November 29 2019: Culture and Climate Change: Scenarios, publication launch. Geographical Lates: Cop25 Climate Talks, Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR. 6.00pm-10.30pm Exhibition Road doors open at 6.00pm. From £10.00 per person. Booking info here.
November 9 2019: Emma Curtis, Amanda Robson, Tony White, for Richmond Literature Festival’s Local Author Day, Twickenham Library, Garfield Road, Twickenham, 2:30pm
October 26 2019: Endland, Tim Etchells reading from his new collection ENDLAND and in conversation with Tony White, Off The Shelf Festival of Books, Drama Studio, Shearwood Road, Sheffield S10. 3:00pm.
July 27 2019: A Night of Pure Moby Dickery. A celebration of Herman Melville’s salty maritime epic – in a boat in a church in a landlocked London borough – prompted by the 200th birthday of Melville this year. With Will Barrett, David Collard, Henningham Family Press, Jennifer Hodgson, Melissa McCarthy, Tony White, Eley Williams, and more. Eventbrite booking here.
June 16 2019: Please join us for Bloomsday readings by Marcia Farquhar and Tony White. The legendary Marcia Farquhar will be reading Molly Bloom’s monologue from James Joyce’s ULYSSES and London author Tony White will give his ‘bravura’ reading of ‘The Willingdone Museyroom’ from Finnegans Wake, & we will drink a glass or two of the cheapest Bourgogne wine. Bookartbookshop, 17 Pitfield Street, Hoxton, London N1 6HB. Sunday 16th June, 2019, 2.00 – 5.30pm. Readings start 2:45pm.
June 15 2019: Hillingdon Library Service presents Crime Fest: Masterclass with Tony White. The Lounge at Winston Churchill Theatre, Manor Farm, Pinn Way, Ruislip HA4 7QL. Saturday 15 June, 2019 at Tickets £5.00. Booking and more info here.
May 4 2019: Finneganight. On Saturday 4th May (the actual publication date of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake in 1939), a gathering of enthusiasts, sceptics and the well-disposed uncommitted who would all like to celebrate the world’s most difficult book. With Alba Arikha, Jessica Boyd, June Caldwell, David Collard, David Henningham, Jennifer Hodgson, Dan O’Brien, Melanie Pappenheim, Alex Pheby, Jessica St Clair, Susan Tomaselli, Tony White, Eley Williams, Alice Zawadski. SOLD OUT – see photos of the event here.
April 30 2019: Tony White joins fellow novelists and members of the Crime Writers Association Louise Burfitt-Dons (The Missing Activist), Emma Curtis (author of When I Find You) and Amanda Robson (Envy) for crime fiction chat. Methodist church hall, Thames Street, Staines, TW18 4SD. 7.30pm
March 26 2019: The first night of a brand new literary event in Soho: The Great Wen. Hosted by Murray Lachlan Young and Dave McGowan. Feat. Murray Lachlan Young, Tony White, Adelaide Banks, Jessica St James, Dave McGowan, Alan Tyler, Dean Wilson. The Union Club, 50 Greek Street, London W1D 4EQ.
March 13 2019: The Hurst, Winter Warmer: Fiction – re-energising your creativity, residential course with Kirsty Gunn, Meaghan Delahunt. Guest speaker Tony White. The Hurst, The John Osborne Arvon Centre, Craven Arms, Shropshire.
February 15 2019: The Fountain in the Forest guided walk, for the Resonance FM annual fundraiser 2019. Starting at the memorial to the Zeppelin attack of 1915 in Queen Square (and probably ending in a local pub), the walk takes in many of the landmarks of ‘Rex King Country’, including the site of Wyndham Lewis’s Rebel Art Centre of 1914 on Great Ormond Street, Sid’s (a.k.a. Conduit Coffee House) on Lamb’s Conduit Street, Holborn Police Station, and the celebrated fish and chip shop Fryer’s Delight, interspersed with anecdote, local history, and readings from The Fountain in the Forest.
February 11 2019: ‘Chiswick Crime Writers’ Panel’. Ever wondered how crime writers approach their writing? Three authors and members of the Crime Writers Association, Louise Burfitt-Dons (The Missing Activist), Tony White (The Fountain in the Forest) and Amanda Robson (Guilt) talk to Emma Curtis (author of When I Find You) about everything criminal in their plots. Chiswick Library, Duke’s Avenue, London, W4 2AB. Mon 11 Feb 2019, 18:30. Tickets (available from the library) £3.00 or £1.50 for CWA members.
February 6 2019: ‘Speech Acts for Resonance’. An epochal evening of poetry, spoken word and readings for Resonance 104.4fm Fundraiser — featuring Rachael Allen + Edward Doegar + Rakaya Esime Fetuga + Liliane Lijn + Tony White + more tbc! Tickets: £10 (£6 students, concessions) on the door. All proceeds go to the Resonance Fundraiser. . At Iklectik, Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane, Lambeth North, London SE1 7LG.
January 23 2019: ‘Writing an experimental crime novel’. Tony White reads from The Fountain in the Forest and is interviewed by Dr Nick Hubble, author of The Proletarian Answer to the Modernist Question. Brunel Writers Series 2019. Brunel Library (room: BANN 226), Brunel University London, UB8 3PH. Weds 23 Jan 2019, 17:30–19:30.
2018 dates include:
November 9 2018: Kirsty Gunn and Tony White: Literary Page-turners. Can contemporary literary fiction also be page-turning stuff? Of course it can, say acclaimed novelists Kirsty Gunn and Tony White, both published by literary publisher of pedigree, Faber & Faber. Stroud Book Festival, 18:30–19:30: Friday 9 November. Lansdown Hall, Stroud, Glos. Tickets £8: Available from Subscription Rooms.
October 13 2018: Strong Language Live #2 is a bold followup to Friday’s session comprising an inventive and restless evening of performances, readings and installations out in the atmospheric former bank space of Attercliffe™. Renowned punk poet, author and tattooist Joolz Denby shares the stage with performer Selina Thompson whose work touches on identity, bodies and the environment. Both Joolz and Selina will have new texts published by Piece of Paper Press available to collect free on the night. Lending further grace and gravity to the evening is Piece of Paper press editor and cult author Tony White, reading stories including The Holborn Cenotaph – ‘his powerful satirical performance piece’ (Financial Times) – that mix contemporary urban concerns with an approach that’s both gritty and conceptual. FREE. Venue: Site Gallery, 1-5 Brown Street, S1 2BS. 7:00–9:00pm
October 13 2018: Strong Language: ‘Small is Beautiful’. A two part discussion event around the labour of love that is radical print. In the first part artist Penny McCarthy will talk to the artist Janette Paris about her celebrated Arch Comic – ‘Bringing art and life together’ since 2011 – and to Tony White about the ambitions and approaches of Piece of Paper Press, which over the years has seen contributions from artists, performance-makers and writers from Joanna Walsh to Michael Moorcock. In part two, Leigh Wilson chairs a discussion about passion, politics and innovation featuring a rich array of forces to be reckoned with in contemporary independent publishing, from Sheffield-based & Other Stories to Dostoyevsky Wannabe and Longbarrow Press. Both sessions will have lots of space for audience questions and discussion – so please get involved. FREE. Venue: Site Gallery, 1-5 Brown Street, S1 2BS. 1:00–3:00pm
October 12 2018: Strong Language Live #1, gets the weekend off to a powerful and playful start with readings from the genre-defying authors M John Harrison and Courttia Newland who both have new texts published by Piece of Paper Press available to collect free on the night. There will be additional word play from curator Tim Etchells and from artist Vlatka Horvat who’ll be reading a text related to her brand new projection piece As Things, As Animals on display at locations around the city. Strong Language Live #1 also sees the opening of our enticing exhibition of Piece of Paper Press editions and ephemera. FREE. Venue: Site Gallery, 1-5 Brown Street, S1 2BS. 7:00–9:00pm
October 12–14 2008: ‘Piece of Paper Press: artworks and ephemera 1994–2014’ – part of Tim Etchells’ Strong Language weekend, a display of books, artworks, and ephemera from 24 years of Tony White’s Piece of Paper Press, featuring books and artworks by Ian Bourn, Pavel Büchler, Peter Bunting, Barbara Campbell, Mikey Cuddihy, Stevie Deas, Tim Etchells, Stephanie Fawbert, Rose Frain, Jane Gifford, Bruce Gilchrist, Halford + Beard, Christopher Hewitt, Steven Hull, Liliane Lijn, Elizabeth Magill, Penny McCarthy, Susana Medina, Michael Moorcock, James Pyman, Borivoj Radaković, Sheena Rose, Gordana Stanišić, Suzanne Treister, Alison Turnbull, Joanna Walsh, and Tony White. FREE. Venue: Project Space, Site Gallery, 1-5 Brown Street, S1 2BS. DOCUMENTED HERE.
October 11 2018: The Fountain in the Forest at Off The Shelf Festival of Words, Sheffield. Tony White will be reading from The Fountain in the Forest and talking to novelist Nicholas Royle. This event is also part of Strong Language, curated by Tim Etchells. Thurs 11 Oct, 6pm. Site Gallery, 1-5 Brown Street, S1 2BS. Tickets (In Advance) £6/£5 (concs) | Tickets (On the Door) £7/£6 (concs). Bookings and info.
September 5 2018: Alison Turnbull’s Japanese Paintings. Tony White will read an extract from the short story he contributed to Alison Turnbull’s artist’s book Spring Snow – A Translation (Book Works) to coincide with the display of Turnbull’s paintings in the Bury Place windows of Rodic Davidson Architects studio. 6–8pm, readings 7pm. 1 Pied Bull Yard, London WC1E 2AE. London Review Bookshop will be open on the evening, and copies of both Spring Snow – A Translation and The Fountain in the Forest will be available.
July 3 2018: A guided walk with readings from The Fountain in the Forest, to Holborn locations featured in the novel. ‘Refresh, Reboot, Retool: new imaginaries for challenging times.’ 3pm–6pm, 3rd July, The Art Workers Guild, Bloomsbury. £45 (Reduced £25 tickets are available for artists and creative practitioners, students, ECRs, and employees of not-for-profit, volunteer and third sector organisations). DOCUMENTED HERE.
June 27 2018: Split, Croatia. Tony White reading from The Fountain in the Forest and in conversation with Croatian author, playwright and translator Borivoj Radakovic – 8pm, Academia Club Ghetto, Dosud 10, Split 21000, Croatia. DOCUMENTED HERE.
June 20 2018: Koprivnica, Croatia. Tony White reading from The Fountain in the Forest and in conversation with Croatian novelist Marko Gregur – 7pm, Koprivnica Library, Zrinski trg 6, 48000 Koprivnica, Croatia. Info here.
May 26 2018: Digi_Create Conference, part of the Creative Fuse Northeast digital literature programme — ‘Explore the creative ways that writers are using digital technologies and distribution to develop their work and to engage with audiences. The event is suitable for professional and emerging writers/producers/publishers who wish to gain professional skills, insights and understanding. This event is open to all writers in the North.’ Line-up includes Richard Evans, Kate Pullinger, Tony White, and Alison Boyle (Arts Council England). 11–4pm, Live Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne. Register here.
May 9 2018: Experimental Fiction: Tony White and Jeremy Gavron in conversation. ‘A thrilling double bill! Join Tony White and Jeremy Gavron as they discuss their new novels, both being hailed as ambitious novels with experimental styles. People love to debate the death of the novel, so here is a chance to witness it flourishing boldly and growing in new ways.’ Golden Hare Books, 68 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh, EH3 5AQ. 6:30–8:00pm. Tickets £5.00. Bookings and info here.
May 3 2018: Tony White and Gregory Norminton talk experimental fiction. The Bookseller Crow, 50 Westow Street, London SE19 3AF. Bookings and info here.
April 27 2018: The Fountain in the Forest: An Evening with Tony White – ‘We couldn’t be more excited to host Tony White to discuss his new novel The Fountain in the Forest. It is a powerful new take on crime writing and radically different to anything we have encountered before.’ – Waterstones Oxford, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3AF. 19:00. Bookings and info here.
April 14 2018: Endlessly curious – Rein Raud and Tony White in conversation with Bhavit Mehta. ‘With an inquisitive mind and sophisticated style, Rein Raud is versatility personified: he has written poetry, plays, short stories, and novels. One of Estonia’s best known writers and an influential opinion leader, Raud will be in conversation with the formally adventurous and equally curious British novelist, writer and editor Tony White, whose latest novel, The Fountain in the Forest, has just been published to much acclaim. EstLitFest, Print Room, The Coronet, 103 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3LB. 5pm. Booking here.
March 29 2018: Tony White interviews Man Booker-shortlisted Graeme Macrae Burnet about his newest novel, The Accident On The A35. Waterstones Islington, 11 Islington Green, London, N1 2XH. 6:30-8:00pm, tickets £3.00. Bookings and info here.
March 8 2018: WRITERS’ CENTRE KINGSTON PRESENTS The English PEN Modern Literature Festival. Nearly a dozen contemporary English writers present new works, each in tribute to a writer who is part of the English PEN Writer’s at Risk programme, writers living under oppression around the world. All Saints Church, Kingston upon Thames. 14-16 Market Place, Kingston upon Thames KT1 1JP – 7PM – FREE ENTRY. Full line-up and info.
March 7 2018: Reading and Resistance, Waterstones Gower Street, a new series of salons at which writers and readers will discuss the relationship between literature and politics in the work of authors from all over the world, with Jeremy Gavron, James Miller and Tony White. Bookings and info here.
March 5 2018: Brixton Book Jam – readings from Tony White, Mark Hill, Chris Chalmers, Sarah Robertson, Ivy Ngeow, Lorna Fraser, John Cullen, and Stevyn Colgan with more to be announced. Hootananny, 95 Effra Road, London SW2 1DF. 7.30pm FREE. Find out more.
February 28 2018: Brunel Writers Series EVENT POSTPONED DUE TO INDUSTRIAL ACTION
February 27 2018: IN YER EAR – with Tony White, Julia Bell, Bioni Samp, Dave McGowan, Ryan Addison Fletcher, Lara Pawson, Valentine Carter, Clancy Gebler Davies, Sharon Shaw, Colin from Trisha’s. The French House, 49 Dean Street, London W1D 5BG. 20:15–22:30. Find out more on the IN YER EAR event page.
February 23 2018: Storysmash Masterclass. Storysmash is a project delivered by Nottingham City Libraries in partnership with National Videogame Foundation and Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, funded by Arts Council England.
February 22 2018: The Fountain in the Forest and the French Republican Calendar – readings and discussion with Dr Sanja Perovic of King’s College London, author of The Calendar in Revolutionary France (Cambridge University Press. Housmans Bookshop, London. Bookings and info here.
February 19 2018: Faber Social and Tony White present ‘UNDER THE PAVING STONES: a night of experimental fiction’, with Kirsty Gunn, Tony White, Richard Milward, Joanna Walsh, Eley Williams, Iphgenia Baal. The Social, 5 Little Portland Street, London W1W 7JD. Tickets £8 in advance. Doors 7pm. Performance 7.30pm. Bookings and info here
February 15 2018: The Fountain in the Forest readings and discussion, Sheen Bookshop, 375 Upper Richmond Rd W, London SW14 7NX. 6.00pm
January 29 2018: Storytellers Inc. St. Annes-on-the-sea, Lancashire.
January 19 2018: Tony White launches his new book The Fountain in the Forest with a rare screening of Wetherby (1985) a film he loves and which has featured in much of his writing. Wetherby is playwright and screenwriter David Hare’s first film as director and stars Vanessa Redgrave. Tony will be in conversation with writer, poet and CB Editions publisher Charles Boyle about the film after the screening. 7:00pm–21.30, Friday 19 January 2018, London Review Bookshop, 14 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL. Tickets £15. Bookings and info here.
January 11 2018: The Fountain in the Forest: launch party. Daunt Books, Marylebone High Street, London W1.
I love doing live readings and consider it a central part of my work as a writer.
As noted above, events relating to my latest novel The Fountain in the Forest are usually coordinated by the publicity team at Faber and Faber.
But I am always happy to hear from anyone about a potential event or reading. If you run an events programme or festival etc. and are interested in booking me to read or participate in some way then please feel free to get in touch as far in advance as possible with as much information about your event(s) as you can. I need to know where and when it will be (venue, date, time etc), what kind of event it is, as well as information about travel and accommodation, and by when you would need me to send you any blurb and press photos. It would also be useful to know more about the audience and how you plan to publicise the event; how I might be able to add to that.
My technical requirements are very simple: at the most basic these would be a microphone on a mic-stand, enough light to read by, and a small table upon which I can place a glass of water and whichever books I am reading from.
You should also, ideally, let me know what the fee is. I mention money because this is what I do for a living, and I think that writers should be paid and expenses should be covered. Too often it seems that everyone but the writer (the festival staff, the crew, the bar staff, the DJ, etc.) is being paid! FYI, the Society of Authors suggest a basic author appearance fee of £150.00 plus expenses.
However, I do know that some events, and arts projects of various kinds, can be run on less than a shoestring, and that payments are not always possible, especially if you’re trying to start something from scratch. I’ve done this myself; started things from scratch. I know that sometimes it is a kind of miracle if things come together at all. I also know that there are other kinds of value than purely financial. So, long-short, artists and writers should be paid, but it is also true that if I need the warm-up or if I’m simply into what you’re doing then I still might. Just ask.