The West Midlands tends to get forgotten in discussions of regional literature. Maybe, because it takes in parts of Shropshire, Warwickshire, the Black Country and Leicestershire, it can feel more formless than Scotland or The North or Wales or The South. But having set two books – my memoir The Boy With the Topknot and my novel Marriage Material – in my home town of Wolverhampton, I do think there is certain way of thinking and writing when you are neither from the North or the South, and when you live in an English urban, multicultural setting which is not London. Moreover, some of the greatest names in literary history, from Shakespeare to W.H. Auden to JRR Tolkien, came from here. I couldn’t, unfortunately, persuade these particular writers to make this year’s Birmingham Literary Festival, but I drew up a dream list of living authors with direct links to the region, emotionally blackmailed them individually, and am delighted that most agreed to come. I look forward to personally introducing Caitlin Moran, Nigel Slater, Jonathan Coe and many others. Booking open now.. Sathnam Sanghera