Saturday, 7 February 2015

National Library Day and Headingley Literature Festival

Happy National Library Day to all my followers.  I believe British Libraries are a valuable community resource that should be celebrated and appreciated, rather than misguided local councils decided that they are an easy target for a budget cull.  Sadly, this is exactly what our local council is trying to do at the moment.  Cleckheaton Library is an historic building and the venue for not only our Cleckheaton Writers Group meetings, but our Cleckheaton Literature Festival planning meetings, plus many other valuable community groups such as Talking Zebras poetry group.

A group has been set up to try and save our Library and the next meeting of The Friends of Cleckheaton Library meet this Monday 9 February at 7pm at the 14th Spen Scout building where I will be in attendance.  I would urge all local followers to attend if they can.

Talking of Libraries, I just found out that Helen Cadbury (To Catch a Rabbit and winner of the Northern Crime Award) and Alison Taft (Shallow Be Thy Grave, My Father Who Art Out There Somewhere and My Time Has Come) are two of several writers who will be appearing at Headingley Literature Festival and many of the events are taking place at Headingley Library.  Here are the details so that my followers can organise themselves some tickets, I have already booked mine:

Thursday 5 March 
The Leeds Novels of Lettice Cooper
Janet Douglas talks about
the early work of a neglected writer.
Lettice Cooper (1897-1994) is barely remembered today despite writing twenty novels and countless works of non-fiction. Only one novel remains in print. Lettice Cooper grew up in Leeds where her father ran a structural engineering company on Balm Road, Hunslet, and five of the novels she wrote in the 1930s are set in the city. 

The best known and most well-thought of today is The New House (1936) but my own particular favourite, is National Provincial of 1938. Like all her fiction, both convey her socialist convictions and like her friend, Phyllis Bentley, her loyalty to West Yorkshire. Although Lettice  left Leeds  for London just before the Second World War, family connections and Yorkshire County Cricket Club drew her back frequently to the city. She deserves to be better known here for the fascinating insights she gives us of the city in the throes of change.

7.15pm Headingley Library, North Lane
Friday 6 March

Peter Spafford
Richard Ormrod
Songs and stories on the theme of hospitality written and performed by poet and musician Peter Spafford and multi-instrumentalist Richard Ormrod. 

Who do you let in? 
How far do you let them in?

'If a stranger knocks on your door on a stormy night, always let them in. They may be a god in disguise.'

The customs surrounding hospitality and sanctuary go back to ancient times. The obligation to give food and shelter to wanderers, and to look after them once they are under your roof, is as old as the hills.

THRESHOLD explores our relationship with the complex notion of Hospitality, now a word more associated with Premier Inn than Homeric lore. Should we take in strangers? Or are we too afraid of being 'taken in'?

8pm Café Lento, North Lane
£5 on the door

Saturday 7 March

The Dragon Who Hates Poetry 
- with Dommy B from BBC's Rhyme Rocket

"There is no dragon scarier in any earthly place.
His face looks like his bottom and his bottom like his face..."

A fun, solo show packed full of lyrics, laughter and lots of joining in! Armed with only pen and paper, poet Dommy B needs your help to bring this fearful dragon's reign to an end!
As seen on BBC's 'Rhyme Rocket'The Dragon Who Hates Poetry is written and performed by slam winning poet Dommy B, winner of New York's famous Nuyorican Poetry Cafe Slam and UK's Superheroes of Slam. The show enjoyed a full month's run at 2013's Edinburgh Fringe before embarking on a sell out 2014 UK tour from Brighton up to Glasgow!

Wonderful show – kept the children’s (and adults') attention the whole time.’ A teacher from Newcastle
My only criticism is not being warned to wear waterproof mascara, I laughed so hard!   A Mum from Preston after The Dragon Who Hates Poetry
Funny and enjoyable. More! More More!’  Seven year old boy describing Dommy B poetry.
From the moment he started to speak we were totally captivated- the incredible way he uses words, the expression and energy of the delivery and the subject matter made him irresistible. - City Life Magazine

11.30am Meanwood Institute, Green Road
For 5+ and families
Children free, adults £3

Saturday 7 March

Children’s Book Question Time
Nicolette Jones will answer your questions (please submit at the door) about books to suit young people you know - from babies to young adults.  Tell her what they have enjoyed in the past, and she will offer books to follow up. Or she can offer advice about how to encourage youngsters to read, what to do to help learners, or even how she chooses books for review.  Come and ask whatever you would like to know.

Nicolette, who grew up in Leeds, has been the children’s book reviewer for the Sunday Times for 21 years. In 2012 she was shortlisted for the Eleanor Farjeon Award for an outstanding contribution to the world of children’s books.

She is experienced in radio and television, and a professional chair of adults’ and children’s events (at, for instance, Cheltenham, Oxford and Charleston literary festivals). Interviewees have included Quentin Blake, Jacqueline Wilson, Anthony Horowitz, Judith Kerr, Anthony Browne, Shirley Hughes, Malorie Blackman, Michael Morpurgo and Philip Pullman. She has co-authored with Raymond Briggs a book about his life and work, Blooming Books.

From 2010-13 she was Director of the children's/young adult programme at the Oxford Literary Festival, and Consultant Director for the programme in 2014. She has judged, among other awards, the Carnegie/Greenaway top ten, the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Branford Boase Award (for a first children’s book), the Whitbread (now Costa) Children’s Novel Prize, the Macmillan Prize for Illustration, and Booktrust’s Ten Best New Illustrators, as well as chairing a Children’s Laureate selection committee. Her choice of the Top 100 Children’s Books of the Past Ten Years is currently on the Sunday Times website.

3pm New Headingley Club, St Michael's Road
£3 (children free) Tea and cake included.

Saturday 7 March
We’re Not Going Back
A musical evening with Red Ladder Theatre Company 

This touring play by Red Ladder commemorates the thirtieth anniversary of the 1984/5 miners’ strike from the vantage point of a well-worn settee in a South Yorkshire pit village home. The play’s cast, writer and musicians gather to perform extracts, sing songs and discuss the impact of the strike, the play and its audiences up and down the country.


Song – Coming Round
First scene – the birthday party
Talk – how the play was conceived and written
Song – This Was War
Talk – the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign
Song – What Price Coal?
Talk – mixing fact and fiction
Song – Fish Song
Talk – Red Ladder funding cuts/ Save Red Ladder
Short scene extract – Eddie’s changed
Song – Everything’s Changed
Talk – Taking theatre to non-theatre audiences

End Song – Miners Washing

8pm New Headingley Club, St Michael's Road

Sunday 8 March  - Irish Day
Back-to-Back Beckett
Samuel Beckett
David Robertson

Dave Robertson of Theatre of the Dales                                                                                                        
A not to be missed creative and original look at the work of Samuel Beckett through a dramatised exploration of the influences, origins and implications of his seminal work, Krapp’s Last Tape. As well as a performance of the work, David will perform monologues of Beckett’s From an Abandoned Work and an extract from the newly published novel Beckett’s Last Act by Mora Gray. 
The session will conclude with a discussion and Q and A session with David, Mora, the producer Serge Alvarez and Dr. Mark Taylor-Batty of the University of Leeds, Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies and a specialist on the theatricality of Beckett. 
This event is sponsored by Arts Council England

3pm New Headingley Club, St Michael's Road
£3 with tea and cake


Sunday 8 March
A Year of Festivals in Ireland  Partnership Event with Irish Arts Foundation
- an epic tale of meandering misadventure and anti-economics

Meet Mark Graham, Conker Champion of Ireland, All-Ireland Bucket-Singing Champion and the sixth-best bog snorkeler in Ireland. Rejected by the banks as he looked to start on the journey to home ownership, Mark started on an altogether more interesting and exciting journey to attend three festivals a week for a year.

In this entertaining roller-coaster tour of Ireland, Mark paints a picture not of a broken and maudlin country that lost the run of itself, but of a people with a wealth of character, imagination, generosity, wildness, curiosity, creativity and an insatiable hunger for fun and divilment. The surprising array of weird and wonderful festivals around Ireland is matched and surpassed by the cohort of characters and clients who attend them. Throwing himself into the thick of these gatherings may have nearly killed him, but he survived his year of festivals, enjoyed almost every minute and was left with a tale or two to tell.


8pm to 9 New Headingley Club, St Michael's Road

Monday 9 March
Dinner with the Decameron  Partnership Event with Salvo's Salumeria

Following the success of Dinner with Dante during the Headingley LitFest in March, we are proud to present the sequel with the help of Gigliola Sulis and Richard Wilcocks

This time, some of the classic stories of Giovanni Boccaccio will be read to you to help you digest your light supper, in English with some of the original Italian. They go perfectly with a glass of wine!

7.30pm Salvo's Salumeria, Otley Road
£15 from Salvo’s             Book now with Mark 0113 275 8877

Monday 9 March Partnership Event with Café Scientifique
Magnetism and Electricity - Magical and Exciting

Magnetism and electricity have often featured in science fiction literature as causes for horror - or something else.  You have only to think of Frankenstein and other gothic novels.

Meet Geoff Auty, doyen editor of the School Science Review, who will show apparatus appropriate to some developments in Magnetism and Electricity over the last two hundred years - demonstrating what was discovered and when.  
 In other studies you go as far as other have gone before you, and there is nothing more to know; but in a scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder.

7.30pm New Headingley Club, St Michael’s Road

£2 entry on door

Tuesday 10 March
Leave to Remain   Partnership Event with Films at Heart

The plight of the refugee has occurred throughout human history; there are still so many current examples in life and in literature – think of Rose Tremain’s The Road Home.

Starring Toby Jones, and BAFTA-nominated, “this ambitious low-budget feature lends an authentic voice to often marginalized figures” said Mark Kermode of a film that finds “eloquent cinematic ways of describing the hopes, dreams and fears” (Guardian) of young refugees.

Based on real-life stories, Leave to Remain is a coming-of-age drama that depicts a world hidden from view.  Three teenagers forced to leave everything behind, learn to live alone in a hostile country.  That country is the UK.  Fighting for survival, they form a unique and unbreakable bond, but all is not what it seems in their game of chance.
8pm Heart Centre, Bennett Road
£6/£4 tickets on the door

Wednesday 11 March
Jasper Fforde
The best-selling author's first novel, The Eyre Affair, was published in 2001. Fforde is mainly known for his Thursday Next novels, although he has written several books in the loosely connected Nursery Crime series and has begun two more independent series, The Last Dragonslayer and Shades of Grey.

Fforde published his first novel, The Eyre Affair, in 2001.
Jasper Fforde
His published books include a series of novels starring the literary detective Thursday Next: The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, Something Rotten, First Among Sequels, One of our Thursdays Is Missing and The Woman Who Died a Lot. The Eyre Affair had received 76 publisher rejections before its eventual acceptance for publication.

Fforde's books are noted for their profusion of literary allusions  and wordplay, tightly scripted plots, and playfulness with the conventions of traditional genres. His works usually contain elements of metafiction, parody and fantasy.

Look at his wonderful website - 

7.15pm Headingley Library, North Lane


Thursday 12 March
Jo Shapcott and Colin Speakman

Jo Shapcott                Photo: Johnny Ring
Jo Shapcott won the Commonwealth poetry prize with her first collection and her poetry ever since has proved her to be one of the most original voices of her generation. As Sinclair McKay in The Telegraph says of her Costa award winning collection Of Mutability she explores themes of change and mortality using ‘a dazzling variety of tone and colour and subject throughout - Shapcott's language dances lightly, and often with wit.’ 

Kira Cochrane in The Guardian notes ‘the diamondhardness of her imagery’ and ‘the accessibility of her work’

Jo Shapcott was born and continues to live in London. Twice winner of the National Poetry Competition, she has published seven collections with Faber including Her Book: Poems 1988-1998 which selects from three earlier volumes: Electroplating the Baby (1988) which won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, Phrase Book (1992) and My Life Asleep (1998) which won the Forward Poetry Prize. Her most recent collection Of Mutability (2010) won the Costa Book Award and in 2011 she was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.


Colin Speakman’s poetry often focuses on landscape, especially that of the Yorkshire Dales and South Pennines, the history of that landscape and the impact it has on human lives. His work is represented in various poetry publications, anthologies and in three collections of his work, Northland (Perkin Poets 1973), That Bleak Frontier (Outposts Publications) 1978 and Dune Fox & Other Poems (Fighting Cock Press 2011).

Colin is also the author of around 50 books, most of them linked to walking and the countryside, most recently Walk! A Celebration of Striding Out and The Yorkshire Dales National Park – A Celebration of 60 years. A co-founder of the Yorkshire Dales Society and of the Dales Way long distance footpath, Colin received an honorary degree (D.Lit.) from Bradford University in recognition of his literary and environmental work, and in 2007 was awarded the first Dalesman Rural Lifetime Achievement Award. 

7.30pm New Headingley Club, St Michael's Road

Friday 13 March

We can't tell you anything about this show, I'm afraid.

What we can tell you is that Trio Literati are known for their witty, upbeat and thought-provoking  shows, from Hull to Liverpool and Aberdeen to Wellington NZ.  With poetry, song and audience participation Censored! will be no exception.
                         Maggie Mash, Richard Rastall, Jane Oakshott

Since Trio Lit was established in 2003 they have created over fifty new entertainments. In 2010 they won Sell Out Status at the Edinburgh Fringe with their jazz show "Five in a Bar", and audience comments for other shows include:

highly entertaining evening  -  Turkeys and Trifles
lively and original  -  The Miltons of Bread Street
beautiful, clear verse reading  -  Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal
good fun and lovely music  -  Aunt Emily's Victorian Christmas
full of energy wit and style  -  Sonnet Lumiere OR The Bard's Big Birthday

7.30pm New Headingley Club, St Michael's Road

Saturday 14 March

Florence and the Whale who lives in the Woods

A year or so ago following the birth of his daughter, Florence,  local resident Julian Oxley was inspired  to write  Florence and the Whale who lives in the Woods. 

Set along the Meanwood Valley Trail and the Hollies the book for young children aims to encourage them to use their imagination and is beautifully illustrated by Clare Morgan. Julian will be reading from the book and also providing  a summary of the self-publishing process.

11.30am Meanwood Institute, Green Lane

Sunday 15 March 
Malcolm Lowry's Elephant and Colosseum
Malcolm Lowry
Doug Sandle presents his reading of Lowry's short story, prepared for a performative production on Manx radio. The author was well-known for his novel Under the Volcano (1947) - voted eleventh in the Modern Library's list of the hundred best novels. Elephant and Colosseum is an intriguing tale of a day in the life of a retired Manx merchant seaman who has become a successful American author, and who undergoes a crisis of identity whilst visiting Rome.

This will be followed by performances of related poems and songs.

2.30pm House Event.
For full details ring 0113 278 7295 or text 0792182347 

Sunday 15 March
Yorkshire Noir - An Evening of Crime Writing

Alison Taft
Four of the region’s foremost crime authors present an evening - chaired by Alison Taft - of readings, crime-writing history (in film and fiction), discussion and debate.

Helen Cadbury
It’s no surprise that the crime genre is undergoing something of a renaissance. For anyone interested in crime-fiction, this evening showcases exciting new writing talent and takes audiences on a trip through the annals of great British crime writing.
Nick Triplow
Nick Quantrill


Helen Cadbury (To Catch A Rabbit – Winner of the Northern Crime Award 2013)
Nick Quantrill (Broken Dreams, The Late Greats, The Crooked Beat)
Alison Taft (Our Father Who Art Out There Somewhere, Shallow Be Thy Grave, My Time Has Come)
Nick Triplow (Frank’s Wild Years)

7pm New Headingley Club, St Michael's Road

Monday 16 March
England Arise            Partnership Event with Leeds Libraries
The People The King and The Great Revolt of 1381

Juliet Barker, acclaimed author of Agincourt, discusses her fascinating account of the 1381 Peasants' Revolt, the dramatic and shocking events of which give a snapshot of what everyday life was like for ordinary people in the Middle Ages. Barker explores why such a diverse group of ordinary men and women united in armed rebellion against church and state, demanding a radical political agenda.

The author writes: "This is a book of two halves. The first is a snapshot of what English life was really like in town and countryside in 1381 which helps to set the scene for the Great Revolt and explains how and why it happened. 

The second is a detailed account of the revolt itself, following its course across Essex and Kent then spreading throughout the south east and East Anglia and as far afield as Yorkshire and Somerset. And as anyone who’s read any of my books before will expect, it’s full of entertaining stories which bring the people and period to extraordinary life, from Margery Starre who danced around the bonfire of the Cambridge University archives shouting ‘Away with the learning of clerks! Away with it!’ to the sad tale of John Giboun, whose evidence was used to convict and hang his own son."

Richard meets Wat Tyler, Jack Straw and John Ball

7.15pm Headingley Library, North Lane

Tuesday 17 March
Something Else to Think About      
 Partnership event with the Workers' Educational Association and Osmondthorpe Hub
Weird?  Special?  Strange?  Intriguing?  
A mix of poetry, short stories, plays and  life writing -  as presented by two groups of local writers. 

To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect (Oscar Wilde) 

Following their successful collaborations at both LitFest and the Ilkley Literature Festival Fringe in 2014, two WEA writing groups (Headingley and Osmondthorpe) join together again to present a selection of their thoughts and musings on our theme of Something Else.  Prepare to be entertained, cabaret fashion, in this eclectic collection of the work of budding and experienced writers, supported once again by

11am to 1.30pm (with cake break) Shire Oak Room, Heart Centre, Bennett Road  
Free (donations)

Tuesday 17 March
The King's Psychic
Sean Stowell
Local TV journalist Sean Stowell's recent book is a tale of intrigue and  mystery which tells how a Leeds university medical graduate became  known as a 'master of black magic' whose powerful presence  penetrated the upper echelons of British society in the late 30s.  Dr Alexander Cannon seemingly influenced the  military top brass, government  ministers and even royalty itself. Involved in secret  psychic experiments backed by the war office, was he both a charlatan and a dangerous spy? An intriguing and sensational true story.

7.15pm  Headingley Library, North Lane

Wednesday 18 March
Adrian Tchaikovsky
Adrian Tchaikovsky                         Photo: Tor Books
Adrian Tchaikovsky is the successful author of the 10-book fantasy series Shadows of the Apt and newly published period fantasy Guns of the Dawn, all published by Tor UK, along with a large number of short stories in numerous anthologies and magazines. He is a keen swordsman, gamer and amateur entomologist and his work has been nominated for the Gemmel Awards and the British Fantasy Awards.

6pm Oxfam Books, Otley Road

Wednesday 18 March
Tolkien’s Beowulf and The Hobbit.
Partnership Event with Leeds Combined Arts

Readings from JRR Tolkien’s recently published 1926 translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf including sections which inspired scenes in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.  Read by Claire Randall with musical interludes by Jane Sanderson
on Celtic Harp. 

7.15pm Headingley Library, North Lane
£4/£3 on the door

Thursday 19 March
Murder and Mayhem
Award winning-author and Headingley LitFest Writer in Residence, AJ Taft will be chatting to poet and writer James Nash about how she gets away with murder, why revenge is a dish best served cold and what makes a young woman buy a one-way ticket to Thailand.  They may also get around to talking about her novels... 

When not being chased by drug-runners, Alison writes about a female detective duo, based in Headingley in the late 80s and early 90s. The first, Our Father Who Art Out There...Somewhere was published in 2011, followed by Shallow Be Thy Grave in 2013. Tonight she will be launching the hotly-awaited third in the series, My Time Has Come. 

Please join them for laughter, launching and literature (and a glass of wine!)

7.15pm Headingley Library, North Lane


Friday 20 March
Lemn Sissay

Our distinguished guest will appear at Leeds City Academy after a grand poetry slam involving school students from the Academy. The event is open to all ages from everywhere.

Author of several books of poetry alongside articles, records, public art, and plays, Lemn Sissay MBE was an official poet for the London Olympics.  His Landmark Poems are installed throughout Manchester and London, in venues such as The Royal Festival Hall and The Olympic Park. He is associate artist at Southbank Centre, patron of The Letterbox Club and The Reader Organisation, and inaugural trustee of World Book Night.

In March 2013, Lemn Sissay was at the West Yorkshire Playhouse for the premiere of Refugee Boy, a play adapted by himself from Benjamin Zephaniah's novel. Sissay describes dawn in one tweet every day - his Morning Tweets. His Landmark Poem,  Shipping Good,  will be laid into the streets of Greenwich.

6pm Leeds City Academy, Bedford Field, Woodhouse Cliff, Leeds LS6 2LG
School students free. Others £5
Saturday 21 March Partnership Event with Leeds Salon
Tea and Cake with Oscar Wilde - A Vagabond in Leeds

The recently-published Oscar Wilde - A Vagabond with a Mission gives a vivid picture of Wilde lecturing throughout Britain (including Leeds and Bradford)  and Ireland on his way to becoming one of the most famous writers of the time. Using letters, memoirs, biographies, previously unpublished information and contemporary newspaper accounts, Geoff Dibb of the Oscar Wilde Society gives us a portrait of Wilde which we have never seen before.
His (Dibb’s) book is both a labour of love and a work of scholarship, full of new information, new connections, and fresh insights.
3pm New Headingley Club, St Michael’s Road 
£4 entry on door, includes tea and cake. 
To reserve your place by email:

Saturday 21 March

Outside In
Hannah Swalwell in the 2014 show
A range of young talent from around the city bring their words and music to Headingley, in a show organised and hosted by broadcaster, poet and playwright Peter Spafford. Last year in the LitFest, Peter gathered in a collection of brilliant, gifted young people, many of them connected with the radio station ELFM, and there is every reason to believe that it will be even better this year. 

7.30pm  Heart Centre, Bennett Road
Free (under 18) or £5

Sunday 22 March
Maggie Mash
Tales of the Unexpected
Thrills, spills, adventures and mysteries as Maggie Mash gathers a group of local poets, actors, writers and musicians for a Taste of Something Else

Amongst other things local writer Stuart Fortey will be reading an extract from his new detective novel A Scandal in Scarborough. But be warned, anything could happen!

House event 
Ring 0113 275 8378 to reserve a place

Monday 23 March

South American Evening
Paolo Coelho
with the music of the much-loved and much-travelled group Mestisa (last seen at the LitFest in 2012) and a little of the poetry of Brazilian poet Paolo Coelho (author of The Alchemist) in English.

8pm Mint Café, North Lane
£5 or £10 with Lebanese/Brazilian buffet

Tuesday 24 March

British Surrealism Opened Up
Former Leeds doctor  and alderman Jeffrey Sherwin will talk about his recent publication, the first layman’s guide to British surrealism and the first comprehensive book on British surrealism for fifteen years.
Definitely something else! 

The author has deliberately adopted a friendly anecdotal style that allows the inclusion of nuggets of previously unreported history, along with unpublished photographs. 

The book is absorbing and informative, outlining surrealist history from Dada in Zurich via Paris surrealism to England up to the present day.
There are well defined sections. He has included biographies on all the British surrealists and many others who adopted surrealist images in their work. Also included are sections on surrealist techniques, artistic comparisons, the ‘religious’ works of Conroy Maddox, Henry Moore the Surrealist and his views on Margaret Thatcher. Along with the British surrealists the author recounts and includes photographs of his time with Damien Hirst, Peter Blake, Eduardo Paolozzi, and George Melly.

7.15pm Headingley Library, North Lane

Wednesday 25 March

Poetry by Heart
For this partnership event with Headingley LitFest, Poetry by Heart presents a feast of prize winning poets. The line up includes two winners of the National Poetry Competition plus winners of: The Ledbury ,The Amnesty International, The Bridport ,The Torbay, The Manchester Prize.

Appearing are: Paul Adrian, Mike Barlow, Carole Bromley, Helen Burke, Jane Routh and Ron Scowcroft . Poetry lovers you cannot afford to miss this! Poetry by Heart is a regular event on the Headingley calendar and famously takes place in three ‘halves’ in the Heart café. 

Paul Adrian was born in 1984 in Yorkshire, and still lives there.  His first published poem, Robin in Flight, won the 2010 National Poetry Competition. Since then, he has had poems in The Moth, And Other Poems, Eyewear and Lung Jazz, and received a commission from the British Craft Council to accompany their Twenty at Twenty exhibition.

Mike Barlow has published three collections: Living on the Difference (Smith|Doorstop 2004), shortlisted for the Jerwood Aldeburgh Prize for best first collection; Another Place  (Salt 2007) and Charmed Lives (Smith|Doorstop 2012). He has won prizes in many competitions, including first prize in The National, The Ledbury and the Amnesty International Competitions. … a directness and lightness of touch, an often brilliant deftness … Ann Sansom. 

Carole Bromley teaches Creative Writing for York University and has published two pamphlets and a first collection, A Guided Tour of the Ice House, from Smith|Doorstop (2012). She is winner of many prizes including The Bridport, Yorkshire Open, Brontë Society and, most recently, the 2014 Torbay Competition.

Helen Burke has read in Paris, New York, Rhode Island, and Rome. Her second collection is Here’s Looking at You, Kid,  (Valley Press 2013).  Her first collection The Ruby Slippers (Valley Press 2011) is in its 3rd print. She has won the Manchester prize, the Torbay prize, the Suffolk prize, the Devon and Dorset prize, Ilkley Performance prize,  and BBC Scriptwriting comedy prize amongst others. 

Jane Routh has published three full collections with Smith|Doorstop: Circumnavigation was shortlisted for the Forward Best First Collection Prize; Teach Yourself Mapmaking was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and the title poem of Gift of Boats won the 2009 Academi Competition. A forthcoming poetry pamphlet will have its first outing at Poetry by Heart.

Ron Scowcroft was Winner of the McLellan Award (joint first 2013), Highly Commended in the Yorkshire Open (2012) and by Magma (2012). Ron is widely published in magazines and prize winners anthologies.  A founder member of Lancaster based April Poets, Ron will be reading from his new pamphlet Moon Garden. The free-verse Scowcroft deploys is flexible, sure footed … and a pleasure to read. (Peter Bennet, Guardian Books).

7.15pm Heart Café, Heart Centre, Bennett Road

Thursday 26 March

Stories from the War Hospital
Headingley LitFest Secretary Richard Wilcocks will tell dramatic true stories of heroism, suffering and romance taken from the book which was launched in Headingley in 2014, accompanied by a Powerpoint display of rare, historic photographs. Stories from the War Hospital is based on extensive original research into Leeds's principal First World War hospital at Beckett Park and Wilcocks's interviews with descendants.

The Leeds Library is a wonderful mix of the old and the new located at the very heart of a busy shopping centre. It was founded in 1768 as a proprietary subscription library and is now the oldest surviving example of this sort of library in the British Isles.  It boasts Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) as one of its original subscribers.  The collections are particularly rich in travel, topography, biography, history and literature. 

12.30 for 12.45pm Leeds Library, 18 Commercial Street, Leeds, LS1 6AL

Contact the Library at 0113 245 3071 to book a place

Thursday 26 March   Partnership event with Leeds Salon
Debate at Ralph Thoresby
Students from the school will debate the theme of Censorship in Art, to be followed by a reprise of parts of the Censored! performance by Trio Literati, adapted for the audience.
3.30pm Ralph Thoresby High School
Free (under 18)

Sunday 29 March

The Yerney Project
A rehearsed and staged radio play written and directed by Ray Brown.

As young deserters, Yerney and his friend Sitar work to build a farm from nothing.   Forty years on Sitar dies and his son dismisses Yerney.  So Yerney begins a quest for his rights which takes him to Vienna and back.  

Inspired by a classic Slovene novel, set in nineteenth century Slovenia (when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) The Yerney Project seethes with anger, warmth, satire and relevance to the present.

The author of the original novel was Ivan Cankar (died in 1918) who is often regarded as the greatest writer in the  Slovene language, and who has been compared with Franz Kafka and James Joyce. 

7.30pm New Headingley Club, St Michael's Road

Thursday 2 April
Poetry Slam
The school's very 'Own Your Words' poets will perform their original work, supported by music and dance.  All welcome.

6pm Ralph Thoresby High School


Community Programme
LitFest is working with many local schools.  We engage professional writers/poets James Nash and Michelle Scally Clark to work with primary and secondary school groups to develop their confidence in writing and presentation through poetry and short stories. 

This year we are working with the following primary schools: Brudenell, Ireland Wood, Quarry Mount, Shire Oak, Spring Bank, St Chad’s and Weetwood.  We are also working again with local secondary schools Leeds City Academy and Ralph Thoresby, with a special workshop at Lawnswood by Lemn Sissay  We are also working once again with the disabled writers from Osmondthorpe Hub, in partnership with some of the Headingley writers, both WEA groups.

Tickets can be bought

1. via our box office partner:   
 Heart Centre, Bennett Road Leeds LS6 3HN, which is open Monday to Saturday 9am to 11pm 

They can be bought

·       On-line : from  transaction charge of 10% for online bookings)

·       In person: from  Heart Centre reception, Bennett Road Leeds LS6 3HN (no booking fee)

·       By phone: 0113 275 4548 – tickets bought in this way do not attract a booking fee but they must be picked up in person from Heart before the event. They will not be available ‘on the door’ of the event.


2. From our partners: for many of our events tickets should be bought from our partners — please see the event description for details

Any unsold tickets will be available on the door at each event.

For free events (apart from the launch which will be ticketed) just turn up.


Thanks are due to Arts@Leeds, Jimbo’s Fund, Leeds City Council, Leeds Community Foundation, Leeds Libraries, local councillors (Headingley: Martin Hamilton, Janette Walker, Neil Walshaw; Hyde Park & Woodhouse: Christine Towler; Weetwood:  Jonathan Bentley, Sue Bentley, Judith Chapman), North Leeds Life, Meerkat Publications and Design and West North West Management (LCC)

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