Saturday, 27 February 2010

Two more writers who lived in Headingley

Thanks, June, for the information that Arnold Kettle and William Fryer Harvey were once residents of Headingley.

Arnold Kettle (1916 - 86) was a respected Marxist literary critic who was a lecturer in English Literature at the University of Leeds from 1948-1967. After leaving Leeds he became Professor of Literature at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and then the first Professor of Literature at the Open University.

He produced some influential literary criticism, including The Nineteenth Century Novel, and An Introduction to the English Novel, and was an important contributor to the journal Marxism Today. He was also editor of Shakespeare in a Changing World.

The Kettles lived on Moor road, Headingley. Their son, Martin, amongst other things an outstanding Guardian  journalist and commentator, was born in Leeds in 1949 and attended Leeds Modern School.

Above - Arnold Kettle

William Fryer Harvey (1885-1937) was born into an affluent Quaker family. His cheerful upbringing at Spring Bank, Headingley, was described in the memoir We Were Seven. 

He was a successful writer of tales in the mystery and horror genres. One of his best known stories, The Beast with Five Fingers, was made into a movie in 1946, starring Peter Lorre, and regenerating interest in his work. So what did he look like? If you know of a photo, please send it to us.

In the meantime, here is a poster for the film:

Monday, 22 February 2010

Chris Mould is wicked!

It doesn't matter that much if you come with or without children - Chris Mould is pure magic. Wickedly Weird as well.

He is at Headingley Library on the last day of the LitFest - 27 March at 1.30pm - and you don't have to pay a penny. He is not just going to talk, but draw as well.

Chris Mould was born in Bradford and has lived and worked there all his life. He began drawing at a very early age and hasn't stopped since. He trained in Art colleges and Polytechnic for six years altogether starting in Dewsbury College and moving to Leeds, during which time he gained a joint honours degree in Graphic Design and Illustration. Since then he has been working as a freelance illustrator. More recently his work has been used in television and in feature film development.

Chris has illustrated several books for Oxford University Press. His latest illustrations are for the Measle series, where Chris really manages to bring the characters to life.


You can find out what you are letting yourself in for by visiting the website. Click HERE to go to it.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Tolkien on Mastermind

Richard Wilcocks writes:
Thanks for the new email, Karen. I missed that episode of Mastermind on the BBC as well, but now I have found it, and there's plenty on Tolkien. How many people know that he caught Trench Fever in 1916 during the Great War and had to be sent back to England? Saved his life? Without Trench Fever, no Lord of the Rings? What if? The Mastermind episode is HERE. The Tolkien questions are about five minutes in.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Tolkien in Headingley


Richard Wilcocks writes:

Contrary to what people keep telling me, and in response to a few email queries, one-time Headingley resident J. R. R. Tolkien did not write The Hobbit in Leeds. Thanks to Karen for your research on Lord of the Rings, as well, while we are on the subject - you had something to do with the filming in New Zealand, so you should know. And incidentally it's good news that The Chocolate Fish is open again in Wellington!

Tolkien was Reader and then Professor of English Language at the University of Leeds from 1920 to 1925. Just before he left to become Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, he brought out an edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The second edition of this (with his colleague E.V.Gordon) followed in 1930 and remained influential throughout the twentieth century.

And I have no idea whether or not Tolkien supped pints in Whitelocks. I like to think that he did.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Whatever happened to Phyllis Bentley?

Phyllis Bentley was not from Headingley but from Halifax, where she spent almost her entire life. Her family was closely involved with a textile industry which has now largely disappeared. When she is remembered at all, it is as the writer of regional novels, and her West Riding was considered, in its day, to be a kind of equivalent of Thomas Hardy’s Wessex. She was highly praised by the likes of Arnold Bennett, Hugh Walpole and that other great literary figure from Yorkshire, J. B. Priestley.

Her novel Inheritance is set in the times of the Luddites, with a mill owner’s son in love with a mill girl, and is a little reminiscent of Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley. It sold very well in the Thirties, and was translated into a number of languages. Bentley was fascinated by the Brontës, and her book on them is something of a classic, still selling steadily and used as a reference. So why has she faded into obscurity, unlike Hardy?

This will be one of the questions addressed in Headingley Library on Tuesday 23 March at 7pm by Dave Russell. The ticket is three pounds – with two pounds for concessions. There are refreshments too.

Click top right for the programme

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Want a programme leaflet?

If you would like to take a few of our just-published programme leaflets, or if you want a digital (pdf) version to pass on to friends on your email network, contact us at the email address on the right of your screen.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Linda's launch

After studying modern languages at university, Linda Marshall took up her old hobby of penning verse (serious and funny) and joined the Aireings co-operative of women writers and poets. She also made a few contacts at Leeds Writers’ Circle and poetry became a way of life. Involved in the production of two poetry magazines, she particularly enjoyed the editing side of things. It is always exciting to find work of merit by new poets.

In the mid ’90s she became a member of Pennine Poets, who used to meet at Mabel Ferrett’s house in Heckmondwike. Linda’s work has been included and commented on in the Pennine Poet 40th Anniversary Anthologies.

Recently Linda has taken part in many open mike sessions. Writing for performance, she finds, is an enjoyable challenge, but some of her poems are meant for the page.

She likes to experiment with style and at times she uses rhyme to get her point across. “The writing process can be full of surprises and the possible outcomes are infinite. One bizarre thought can be transformed into a whole new way of looking at things.”

Linda is currently associated with Lucht Focail, a group of Irish writers and poets, and she has run a few creative writing workshops.

Her launch as part of Headingley LitFest will be at the Flux Gallery, Midland Road on Saturday 20 March at 7.30pm