Brighton Festival names author Ali Smith as 2015 guest director

Goldsmiths Prize and Whitbread Award-winning novelist Ali Smith (The Accidental, How To Be Both) has been announced as the guest director for the Brighton Festival in 2015.

First taking place in 1967, Brighton Festival prides itself on being the largest and most established annual multi-arts festival in England, with a rich history of pushing boundaries.

In its inaugural year the programme controversially included the first ever exhibition of concrete poetry in the UK, alongside performances by Lawrence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and Yehudi Menuhin.

Brighton Festival 2014 Opus number 7

Now one of Europe’s leading arts festivals for artists and audiences, Brighton Festival has been widely recognised for presenting exciting site specific work, thought provoking debate and newly commissioned works. That seems set to continue with Smith’s appointment.

“Imagine the world seen from the eye of a bird. Migrating birds are born naturally equipped with maps that even new-born birds know how to follow, maps of landscapes with no borders. Birds with nothing but the urge to flock together, get there, be here now,” she said. “Imagine the borders between the artforms. Imagine them opened, crossed, melted, made invisible, so that poetry meets music meets theatre meets dance meets thought meets sculptural meets rhythm meets fiction meets the natural world.

“I’m a fan of the unexpected connection, the crossing places between the art forms, the place where they meet, open to each other and fuse into something more. The word festival comes from the place where the word for feast crosses into the word for joyful, happy, honouring, celebratory. The word Brighton, in the month of May: that means festival.”

The annual celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events will take place in venues across the city and beyond from 2-24 May 2015. Full programme details will be available at the official launch on Wednesday 18 February 2015 and ticket information can be found at the official website or by calling 01273 709709.

Smith is the seventh guest director of Brighton Festival, following visual artist Anish Kapoor (2009), musician Brian Eno (2010), Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (2011), actress and human rights campaigner Vanessa Redgrave (2012), poet, author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen (2013) and choreographer, composer and performer Hofesh Shechter (2014).