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Sairish Hussain & Lucy Sheerman

The critically acclaimed author of The Family Tree Sairish Hussain talks about her new novel Hidden Fires, set at the time of the Grenfell Fire. She is joined by poet Lucy Sheerman, the author of an experimental memoir Pine Island. 

Hidden Fires by Sairish Hussain explores grief and loss, the power of family ties, and the long arm of history. Ramadan, 2017. Yusuf wakes up in the middle of the night to pray. Miles away, Rubi is also awake. On the television, she watches reports of a devastating fire in London. She is already anxious when her parents send her to stay with her Grandpa Yusuf, whose conservative house rules are almost as unbearable as the loneliness she feels at home. When she finds him scared and confused one night, it becomes clear that there’s more to her grandfather than Rubi ever considered. 

Pine Island by Lucy Sheerman is an experimental memoir written in the form of a series of letters to an unknown recipient. The book chronicles a year in the life of the author as she navigates family illness, bereavement and motherhood while honouring and cultivating the poetic life she has created. Pine Island documents a life unfolding and accounted for, with all its little victories and failures laid bare. Weaving family interactions and personal reflections with observations of the natural world and accounts of the weather, the book creates an intimate space in which the reader becomes a participant in an evolving present. 


Sairish Hussain is a Bradford-based author and lecturer in Creative Writing. Her debut novel, The Family Tree, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, the Portico Prize and the Diverse Book Awards. It was also longlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and winner of Calibre Audio’s ‘Hidden Gem’ Prize. Sairish was selected by Kei Miller as one of 10 ‘unmissable writers working in the UK’ for the International Literature Showcase 2021. She was one of the finalists in the Women’s Prize & Good Housekeeping Futures Award, an initiative which celebrates the most promising emerging female authors today. Hidden Fires is her second novel. 

Lucy Sheerman is a poet and writer who has worked in the School of Arts and Humanities at University of Cambridge since 2022. Prior to this she ran the Centre for Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education. Lucy has experience in the arts sector, fundraising and government relations. She is also a writer, publishing both creative and critical work. Her first degree is in English and she also has a PhD in English. 


Access and Covid safety measures: if you have specific access needs or queries and/or prefer to be seated away from other audience members as a Covid safety measure, please contact our Admin at: [email protected] with your request.  

Date: Thursday 18 April 

Time: 5.30pm-6.30pm 

Venue: Heritage Quay, Schwann Building, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield HD1 3DH 

Tickets: Free (booking recommended) 

Age guidance: 16+  

Access Guide: https://www.accessable.co.uk/huddersfield-literature-festival/access-guides/heritage-quay  

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