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Friday 23 March
Yorkshire Rows

The incredible true story of four ordinary working mums from Yorkshire who took on an extraordinary challenge to row the Atlantic and broke a world record along the way.

Four Mums in a Boat book cover
Janette, Frances, Helen and Niki, though all from Yorkshire, were four very different women, all juggling full time jobs alongside being mothers to each of their 2 children.
They could never be described as athletes, but they were determined to be busy and the local Saturday morning rowing club was the perfect place to go to have a laugh and a gossip, get the blood pumping in the open air, and feel invigorated.

Brought together by their love of rowing, they quickly became firm friends, and it wasn’t long before they cooked up a crazy idea over a few glasses of wine: together, they were going to do something that fewer people than had gone into space or climbed Everest had succeeded in doing. They were going to cross 3,000 miles of treacherous ocean in the toughest row in the world, The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

This is the story of how four friends together had the audacity to go on a wild, terrifying and beautiful adventure, not to escape life, but for life not to escape them.

A Sunday Times Bestseller and longlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year
Yorkshire Rows crossing the Atlantic
‘They raced into the record books, and the hearts of many people inspired by the story of four ordinary women who proved that anything is possible
.’ BBC Breakfast

The legacy of their adventure will be felt by thousands of people across Yorkshire in years to come.’ Yorkshire Post

National Geographic made a documentary film of the Yorkshire Rows adventure which was screened at cinemas across the UK and Ireland as part of the Banff film festival in February - May 2017.

7.30pm New Headingley Club, St Michael’s Road
Saturday 10 March
Is Anything Happening?

In the days before mobile phones, the internet and 24-hour news channels, the easiest way for a Robin LustigBritish foreign correspondent to find out what was going on in the world was to phone the local office of Reuters news agency and ask: ‘Is anything happening?’

That’s how the award-winning BBC reporter and presenter Robin Lustig started out in journalism, working for Reuters as an agency man. During a distinguished career spanning more than forty years, he watched the world of news change beyond recognition, as he reported on terror attacks, wars and political coups.

In this witty and illuminating memoir, Lustig looks back on his life as a newsman, from coming under fire in Pakistan to reporting on the fall of the Berlin Wall, and from meeting Nelson Mandela to covering Princess Diana’s sudden death.

Back in the studio, Lustig lets us in through the BBC’s back door for a candid, behind-the- scenes look at some of his triumphs and disasters working for the nation’s favourite broadcaster. He writes of his childhood as the son of refugees from Nazi Germany and, drawing on thirty years of reporting about the Middle East, he comes to a startling conclusion about the establishment of the state of Israel.

Astute, incisive and frequently hilarious, Is Anything Happening? is both an irresistible personal memoir and an insightful reflection on world events over the past forty-five years.

Is Anything Happening, book coverThis memoir is everything you would expect from its author: intelligent, shrewd, witty, civilised and great company. He lifts the lid on life within BBC newsrooms and captures the fun of touring the world’s trouble spots as an eyewitness to great events and interviewing the lead characters. Along the way, he reminds us why serious journalism still matters.” Richard Sambrook, Professor of Journalism, Cardiff University, and former Director, BBC News

Robin Lustig’s memoir is an engaging mix of anecdote, reportage, reflection and the odd bit of gossip – as good a late-night companion as his voice on Radio 4’s The World Tonight.” Lindsey Hilsum, International Editor, Channel 4 News

2.00pm Leeds Library, Commercial Street

Free. Donations welcome.
Reserve your seat with ticket from:http://bit.ly/litfestanythinghappening
Thursday 15 March
Amit Dhand - Girl Zero

Amit DhandAmit Dhand, our friendly local pharmacist, leads a double life as a writer of crime fiction. His sellout event last year at Headingley Library detailed his debut novel Streets of Darkness. His hero is Harry Virdee, a Sikh detective, with flaws in his professional and private lives.

‘There are some surprises that no-one should ever have to experience. Standing over the body of your beloved – and murdered – niece is one of them. For Detective Inspector Harry Virdee, a man perilously close to the edge, it feels like the beginning of the end.’

This next book in the series, Girl Zero, takes up his story a year later. It’s another fictional dark look at a criminal underworld placed in Bradford, and involving the kind of things you see pretty much every day on the news.

‘Outstanding - relentless, multi-layered suspense and real human drama
.’ Lee Child

Harry Virdee is one of the most multi-layered policemen to have appeared in recent years. Girl Zero is a story as fresh as today’s newspaper headlines - and all the more potent for being so . . Fierce, fast-paced and vivid, it underlines just how good Dhand is’ Mail on Sunday

‘Dhand is a fearless writer’ Sunday Times

Amit is currently working with a UK broadcaster to develop a TV adaptation of the book. He still works full-time as a pharmacist and writes late at night into the early hours.

Amit will read from his new work and will both tell you more about himself and his writing life as well as answer questions. The paperback edition will be released on 22 February 2018 and will be on sale at the event.

7.15pm New Headingley Club, St Michael’s Road

Meet The Authors a Litfest eventTuesday 27 March
Meet The Authors

Frances Brody, Clare Fisher,
Chris Nickson and June Taylo

Partnership event with HEART

Frances BrodyFrances Brody is the author of popular mystery novels set in 1920s Yorkshire, featuring Headingley-based Kate Shackleton, First World War widow turned sleuth, her sidekick, former policeman Jim Sykes and housekeeper Mrs Sugden.

Before writing the Kate Shackleton series, Frances wrote as Frances McNeil - short stories, scripts and plays for radio, theatre and television. JEHAD was produced at Manchester Library Theatre, the Gate, Nottingham Playhouse and Theatr Clwyd and was nominated for a Time Out Award. Her Leeds-based sagas, the first of which won the HarperCollins Elizabeth Elgin award, have recently been re-published as Frances Brody books.

Clare Fisher
Clare Fisher was born in Tooting, south London in 1987. After accidentally getting obsessed with writing fiction when she should have been studying for a BA in History at the University of Oxford, Clare completed an MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London. All The Good Things is her first novel and was described as ‘a sparky and unsettling debut’ by The Guardian.

When she’s not writing, she’s selling books, teaching writing, running, or tweeting about not writing.

Find out more at www.clarefisherwriter.com
Twitter: @claresitafisher.

Chris NicksonChris Nickson is the author of over 20 historical crime novels, including the six acclaimed Richard Nottingham novels, set in Leeds in the 1730s. Cold Cruel Winter was named one of the 10 Best Mysteries of the Year by Library Journal, while the audiobook of The Broken Token was cited as one of the Audiobooks of 2012 by the Independent on Sunday.

Born and raised in Leeds, Chris spent 30 years living in the US and working as a music journalist in Cincinnati and Seattle before returning to Britain in 2005. Along with the novels, he’s the author of over 30 non-fiction books.

The Tin God, the sixth novel in his Victorian Leeds crime series featuring Detective Superintendent Tom Harper, comes out in March.

June Taylor
June Taylor is a writer from Leeds, living in Headingley. Her debut novel Losing Juliet was published in 2017 by HarperCollins. She is currently working on her second book, set in contemporary Leeds. June is active in the local writing scene in all its forms, and is on the Board of Script Yorkshire.

Losing Juliet was nominated for the Not the Booker Prize 2017. She was also runner-up in the 2011 Times/Chicken House Fiction Competition for her Young Adult novel and writes plays and flash fiction.

You can find her at www.junetaylor.co.uk
Twitter: @joonLT

7.30pm HEART Centre, Bennett Road
Free. Donations welcome (to support HEART fund)
Saturday 24 March pitch & pen logo
Pitch and Pen

Ever wondered whether that idea you have for a novel, or a poetry or short story collection could fly?

Would you like the chance to pitch to a team of publishing industry professionals?

You’ve seen Dragons’ Den, so now Headingley Litfest invites you to pitch your ideas in front of an audience and a panel of professional writers and publishers. Not only is this a great chance to see whether your idea is sound, it also gives you a chance to see what the competition is like out there. What makes a great idea stand out from the pile?

The winning pitcher(s) will be invited to submit a synopsis and sample of their work for consideration by either Valley Press based in Scarborough, or Sheffield based And Other Stories. Regardless of whether a publishing contract is offered, feedback will be provided on the submission package.

The panel of judges will be made up of:
Jamie McGarry Publisher/Director - Valley Press
Anna Glendenning Editor - And Other Stories
Alison Taft - Novelist and Editor for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy

£5 to pitch - places to pitch are limited and to apply for a ticket you must please email litfestpitchnpen@gmail.com stating whether you want to pitch poetry/short stories or a novel.

£2 to attend - on the door.
4.00pm - 6.00pm New Headingley Club, St Michael’s Road

Valley Press logoValley Press
(est. 2008) is a thriving independent publishing house based in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. With authors from all corners of the UK, as well as Canada, the USA, India, Bermuda and China, it brings the world to Yorkshire and Yorkshire to the world. There are more than 100 titles currently in print, including poetry (collections, pamphlets and anthologies), fiction (novels and short stories) and non-fiction (travel writing and memoirs). 2018 will see further expansion, with musical history and graphic novels appearing on the shelves. Valley Press’s most important belief is that great literature and great publishing is for everyone and anyone. Get in touch if you agree.

And Other Stories logoAnd Other Stories publishes some of the best in contemporary writing. It aims to push people’s reading limits and help them discover authors of adventurous and inspiring writing. And Other Stories is its readers, editors, writers, translators and subscribers. While all its books are distributed widely through bookshops, it is subscribers’ support that makes the books happen. The press now has about 1,000 active subscribers in over 40 countries, receiving up to 6 books a year in advance of publication date.
Saturday 17 March
The Mayflower Generation

Selected by The Sunday Times as a History Book of the Year 2017

The voyage of the Mayflower and the founding of Plymouth Colony is one of the seminal events in world history. But the poorly-equipped group of English Puritans who venturedRebecca Fraser across the Atlantic in the early autumn of 1620 had no sense they would pass into legend. They had eighty casks of butter and two dogs but no cattle for milk, meat, or ploughing. They were ill-prepared for the brutal journey and the new land that few of them could comprehend. But the Mayflower story did not end with these Pilgrims’ arrival on the coast of New England or their first uncertain years as settlers. Rebecca Fraser traces two generations of one ordinary family and their extraordinary response to the challenges of life in America.

Edward Winslow, an apprentice printer born in Worcestershire, fled England and then The Mayflower Generation book coverHolland for a life of religious freedom and opportunity. Despite the intense physical trials of settlement, he found America exotic, enticing, and endlessly interesting. He built a home and a family, and his remarkable friendship with King Massassoit, Chief of the Wampanoags, is part of the legend of Thanksgiving. Yet, fifty years later, Edward’s son Josiah was commanding the New England militias against Massassoit’s son in King Philip’s War.

The Mayflower Generation is an intensely human portrait of the Winslow family written with the pace of an epic. Rebecca Fraser details domestic life in the seventeenth century, the histories of brave and vocal Puritan women and the contradictions between generations as fathers and sons made the painful decisions which determined their future in America.

5.00pm Leeds Library, Commercial Street Free.

Donations welcome.
Reserve your seat with ticket from: http://bit.ly/litfestmayflowergeneration
Wednesday 14 March
Sweet Wild Note

Partnership event with Leeds Libraries and Read Regional Richard Smyth

Richard Smyth is a writer, researcher and editor based in Bradford. He is a regular contributor to Bird Watching magazine, and reached the final of Mastermind with a specialist subject of British birds. In A Sweet, Wild Note, Smyth asks what it is about birdsong that we so love, exploring the myriad ways in which it has influenced literature, music and art, our feelings about the natural world, and our very ideas of what it means to be British.

A Guardian ‘Readers’ Choice’ Best Book of 2017

7.30pm HEART Centre, Bennett Road