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LitFest Community Involvement
Headingley LitFest is indebted once again to have the support of the councillors and others on the Inner North West Leeds area management committee to fund their work with a wide range of schools. Our councillors have been consistent supporters of the interventions we make in the schools in our ‘patch’.

The grants support the work with primary school groups to develop confidence in writing and presentation through poetry, spoken word and short stories. Each young poet gets to perform their work and some have their original work included in a book or e-book as a further legacy of their work. Our work in schools starts in the late autumn and runs through the winter to early spring, so it is a large commitment from our volunteers and our poets. However, we are all passionate that developing original writing, using poetry as a genre, encourages a love of words, a curiosity about poetry and literature and an increased self-confidence in both writing and performing.

This year we have commissioned work with professional poets Malika Booker and James Nash. Schools in our 2017/18 programme so far have been: Brudenell, Ireland Wood, Quarry Mount, Shire Oak, and Spring Bank.

We are also working once again with the disabled writers from the Osmondthorpe Hub, in partnership with some of the Headingley creative writers, both WEA groups.

The LitFest has been organised this year by the following volunteers - Sally Bavage, Sheila Chapman, Mary Francis, Rachel Harkess, Doug Sandle and Richard Wilcocks.
long live the LitFest
This LitFest is the eleventh, and the last to be made up of a series of events in the last three weeks of March. From now on, we are going to scatter the LitFest across the year, something we do already with our ‘Between the Lines’ events, but on a bigger scale.

Writers and performing artists from Headingley and beyond will continue to be our guests, but not in one burst of talent. And we hope to continue our poetry workshops with local primary schools.

Plenty of talent has come our way in the ten years since the first LitFest in 2008 which quickly got into gear with a poetry slam at Lawnswood School. As part of a packed and varied programme, Nicolette Jones talked about her new book on the great Victorian reformer Samuel Plimsoll, a play by Peter Spafford on the life and death from pneumonia in Headingley of Prince Alamayou of Abyssinia drew a large audience and poet James Nash compered a poetry reading in a café basement.
Beryl Bainbridge
The style was set for future years. In 2009 we had our first big headliner – Dame Beryl Bainbridge, who read from her work-inprogress (and final novel) The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress, followed in 2010 by David Peace, who spoke about his latest novel GB84, which focused on the miners’ strike.

In 2011 our principal guest was Booker Prizewinner Ben Okri and in 2012 poet Ian McMillan was wonderfully uproarious.

In 2013 we booked the Howard Assembly Room in the city centre for a reading by poet Roger McGough. In the same year Headingley resident Kay Mellor spoke about her new television series, The Syndicate. In 2014, a non-fiction book by LitFest secretary Richard Wilcocks, Stories from the War Hospital, was launched with a play, and novelist Alison Taft presided over the third annual session devoted to the work of creative writing students from Headingley and Osmondthorpe. She reappeared in 2015 in Yorkshire Noir, an evening devoted to crime writers. In the same year, David Robertson, the driving force behind Theatre of the Dales, a group regularly performing in the LitFest, gave a stunning performance of Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape.

Trio Literati is another group of local performers, extremely talented amateurs seeming like professionals, who have been with us every year.

Children and young people have always made an important contribution, and not just when we have worked with poets in schools: Julian Oxley’s beautiful Florence and Jem books for pre-schoolers have launched at the LitFest, and for the last couple of years an evening entitled ‘Cabaret Thirty’ has been allocated to people of less than that age. So look forward to more of the same, but not concentrated into a few weeks in the spring.

We Live On!
link to LitFest 2018 brochure
The March 2018 LitFest programme is full of great events which are all listed below.
You can find out more about each one by clicking anywhere in the text or on any of the images for each event.

Alternatively you can view or download a copy of our brochure by clicking on this image: