Monday, 14 December 2009

Leeds Poetry Special Collection

Doug Sandle writes:

Visiting the Leeds Poetry Special Collection last week was a real journey down memory lane. Sifting through copies of various Leeds University student magazines it brought back memories of an exciting period during the early sixties, when Leeds Student Union became a hive of creative and cultural activity. When I arrived in Leeds in 1960 as a student the University Union was dominated by a particular clique around law society and the University motor club and a rather elitist class based attitude.

Whether it was an influx of more students from more varied backgrounds and schooling, the zeitgeist of the dawning spirit of the sixties, (more beatnik at the time than hippy), the influence of radical lecturers such as John Rex and the involvement of the then Gregory Fellows (in art and poetry) a real change took place at the University Union, one which was both politically and culturally fuelled. A manifestation of this was the emergence of several new cultural and political student societies and a number of student produced magazines encouraging student writing, creativity and debate. Mostly typed and duplicated by means of ‘Roneo’ and ‘Gestetner’ reproduction and with cover designs by student artists and illustrators, they would be on sale most days in the lower corridor of the student union.

I was fortunate enough to be involved with several of these magazines at one time or another, including 61 which heralded the sixties era, IKON, which was more formally type set and also featured photographs, MOMA (Magazine of Modern Arts) and Tlaloc, which was devoted to concrete poetry. Not only did the magazines feature student writing but sometimes carried special guest features, for example a pre-publication extract from a book by Herbert Read appeared in IKON. The Leeds Poetry Special Collection features some of these student magazines on its web site
as well as documenting the work and lives of the then Gregory Fellows in Poetry, whose influence and reputations extended far beyond the local Leeds literary scene

The inclusion of the Leeds Poetry Special collection in the coming 2010 Headingley Lit Fest. is something to look forward to and the initial collaboration promises to lead to a future partnership highlighting the illustrious cultural history of Headingley and its environs.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Beryl Bainbridge on the radio

In response to some recent enquiries relating to Beryl Bainbridge, who was our guest last March, please click HERE to reach a BBC website where you will be able to listen to her, and where you may well find answers to your questions.


We were hippos rediscovering a muddy pool: Doug Sandle and myself visited the Brotherton Library's special collections department yesterday afternoon to look at magazines (mainly poetry) from the Sixties and Seventies. Neatly filed in cardboard boxes were fountain-penned letters, Underwood-typed poems on yellowing paper, carefully Gestetnered publications and distant but still fresh memories.

Archivist Kathryn Jenner (Geoffrey Hill Archive) showed us some of what she is documenting, and as we talked, we splashed about in comfortable nostalgia. Doug remarked on the quality of MOMA and IKON, I remembered that Dave Birtwhistle used to drink and sing in the back room of the Packhorse with Jake Thackray.

Click HERE for link to Brotherton.

All of this led to the fixing of a date - Thursday 18 March 2010 - for a reading of some of the notable poets of those prolific times.

More programme details to follow soon - jigsaw nearly complete.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Darkly brilliant

The darkly brilliant and remarkably prolific David Peace (pictured here by Naoya Sanuki) has been booked for the final Saturday – 27 March 2010 - after more than a week of events.

The novel which led to the film The Damned United was a big word-of-mouth success before the celluloid version, and the Red Riding television plays based on his novels and set in the time of the Yorkshire Ripper clocked up high ratings. David Peace has more recently detonated his explosive mixture of politics, local history, violent crime, humour and horror in the setting of Tokyo, and many commentaries on this and all his writing can be found on the web. Try clicking on one or two of the links on this blog.

The 2010 LitFest programme is being firmed up at the moment. There will be another Poetry Slam at Lawnswood after the great success of this year’s, another sports writing competition for schools, an Irish connection, theatre, and plenty of local talent.

The general theme will be A Sense of Place.

If you want to help, or offer suggestions, or make criticisms, come to our open consultation meeting on Tuesday 22 September at 7.30pm in the New Headingley Club, St Michael’s Road, Headingley.

Feel free to click on the comment link below, or send an email (see above right) remembering to put LITFEST in the subject line.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Wandering Abroad - Corinne Silva

This notice follows on from the first of the events of the Headingley LitFest 2009 - on The Hounding of David Oluwale, when Kester Aspden and Ian Duhig spoke (and read) at the Yorkshire College. Scroll down to see the blog entry for it. Some of those who came are likely to want to visit Leeds Art Gallery.

9 October 2009 – end January 2010
Leeds Art Gallery: previews 7 October

David Oluwale came to England from Nigeria as a stowaway in 1949 with dreams of studying to be an engineer in Leeds; twenty years later he was found drowned in the River Aire. Subsequently two police officers were found guilty of assault.

This new film installation by Corinne Silva, which receives its premier at the Gallery, relates to Oluwale’s journey down the river, his final journey, but also narrates a journey through the city, a journey through times of change and transition, resonant with the contemporary development of the city and the experience of migration in our own times.

The story - of migration; prejudice; isolation; and the forming of communities, runs parallel to a story of urban regeneration in a post-industrial city with its concept of ‘readymade’ communities, ‘new developments’ and those left behind in their wake - is told through a collage of sound and image. Interwoven and sometimes contradictory accounts recount the tragic tale of David Oluwale: fragments of memory and experience from other migrants who also chose to settle in Leeds in the 1950s, interspersed amongst a soundtrack of music from the time, recorded in England by musicians from Africa and the Caribbean and played at the dance sessions attended by young West African immigrants striving to create a foothold and a community in what was often a hostile city.

Corinne Silva, born in Leeds, is a photographic artist with degrees from the Universities of Brighton and Nottingham Trent. Past commissions include From War to Windrush, from the Imperial War Museum (2008) and Róisín Bán from Leeds Irish Health and Home (2006), about the Irish Diaspora.

Wandering Abroad, her first moving-image commission, is commissioned by Leeds Art Gallery with support from Arts Council England.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

We were charmed and entertained

Photo by Richard Wilcocks
Tea with Beryl Bainbridge was on Saturday 28 March. Framed photographs of battleships and Royal Navy reunions were behind her on the wall of the long meeting room at the back of the New Headingley Club, which was until a few years ago owned by the British Legion. In front of her was a large audience expecting to be charmed and entertained. It was. We loved her! At one end of the room, a selection of her novels had been spread along the top of a table All were later sold.

Introduced by Richard Wilcocks, who had invited her to Headingley after a conversation during a visit to the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth, she spoke about her early career as an actress at Liverpool Rep, about her influences, about recent illness, about recurring themes, and about death, which was the subject of an essay to be broadcast on Radio 3 a few days later. This can be heard by clicking here.

She made special mention of According to Queenie and her view of Dr Samuel Johnson, of The Dressmaker and the repressive atmosphere during the War, and of The Bottle Factory Outing, but the main part of the talk was taken up by a reading from the manuscript of The Girl in the Polka Dot dress, which has yet to be completed. After a short explanation about the background (who was the widely reported, untraced young woman seen in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in which Bobby Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan in 1968?) we heard the story of Harold and Rose, who are travelling through the States in search of a sinister Dr Wheeler. They end up in Los Angeles on the night of the assassination. Rose is wearing her favourite dress – the polka dot one.

Questions afterwards were well fielded, and a queue of admirers formed for the book signing. A major event! 

In conversations later on, after the main audience had departed, she expressed great interest in the Victorian aspects of Leeds, of which there are many, of course, especially the streets of red-brick houses and two of the buildings in the city centre designed by Cuthbert Brodrick - Leeds Town Hall and the Corn Exchange.


Here is an extract from her July 2010 Guardian obituary:   She did not read modern fiction, only "anything from Graham Greene backwards". Her discipline as a writer was intense. Each novel emerged from a few months in which she wrote through the nights, smoked a lot, slept and ate little. She constantly read aloud what she had produced, to get "the music of the prose" right, and in an alchemical process of cutting and perfecting, she would distil every dozen or so draft pages into one sheet without a single wasted word.

Read the whole thing here

Friday, 3 April 2009

Cellar debuts

James Nash is the perfect compere for poetry sessions. He gave the audience in the Dare Café cellar (in this case, largely made up of people wanting to read their work) just enough of his own excellent fare and then turned things over to the other producers, handling them with cordiality and diplomacy, making sure that nobody went on for too long. He always had a positive word or two up his sleeve, especially for first-timers. There's nothing as frightening as spouting your treasured verse for the first time in front of your fellows!

Ambiguous eroticism

Rose Doughty writes:

Love and beauty are the conventional topics of many of Shakespeare’s sonnets, along with related topics of time and mutability. He is not conventional in his treatments, though – he addresses the poems of love and praise not to a fair young maid, but to a young man, and includes a secondary subject of passion – a woman whose beauty and virtue is questionable: love is represented in a complex and paradoxical way. Over many years, commentators have speculated about the claim in the sonnets that the poet will make the young man’s beauty immortal in verse, thereby defying the destructiveness of time, and about the theme of betrayal of friendship.

What is the nature of the relationship between the poet (or rather, the persona of the poet which Shakespeare adopts) and the young man? Some commentators claim that the relationship is asexual while others contend that it is sexual. The ambiguous eroticism is a constant source of fascination, not least for Paul Priest, the author of Sonnets, two performances of which by Theatre of the Dales closed the LitFest this year. They were followed by a lively discussion with the audience.

Paul Priest taught at Trinity and All Saints College in Horsforth, and during his time there introduced a number of innovatory practices to increase the students' level of engagement with Shakespeare. These included bringing in theatre practitioners like David Robertson, and he was the actor who played a most convincing, if a little ageing Shakespeare last weekend at the Yorkshire College of Music and Drama. Gemma Head oozed authority as Lady Pembroke, and Will Tristram played her son William as an irritating teenage aristo who was perhaps justifiably upset at being described as a churl. The wordmaster had to explain the use of the term in his dedicated sonnet, rather weakly in this script, I thought. Katharina, 'a dark lady' (Victoria Morris) was suitably alluring in a slightly mannered performance full of appropriately slinky movements, a turn-on indeed for WS. John Savage brought an intelligent flamboyance to the character of Henry Wriothsley, Earl of Southampton and the author himself came in to play the part of a divine dressed in a blue Anglican cassock to comment on the religious slant adopted by WS towards the end of the series.

Theatre of the Dales is locally famous for all the right reasons, it appears.

Below, the man responsible:

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Ancient Ireland in Headingley

Sheila Moriarty writes:

On Saturday 21 March, the Bowery Café, Headingley, was the setting for a vivid and lively performance by the Irish Writers' Group, Lucht Focail (People of the Word) who were joined for the evening by David Agnew, Jo Flannery, Berni Byrne and the Joyce O’Donnell School of Irish Dancing. The event, which began at 8pm, was preceded by Irish music ably provided by Des and Kevin Hurley in the café as people arrived from 7.30 onwards.

The main event took place in the upstairs workshop room and the venue was packed to capacity by an appreciative audience who were treated to an hour of magic and mythology. The theme was Irish myth and legend: an exploration through poetry, music, dance and song of such iconic Irish mythological figures as The Children of Lir, Finn MacCool, and mad King Sweeney. Much of the poetry was original work by members of Lucht Focail, interspersed with poems by other contemporary poets and including some poetry in Irish.

A successful and highly enjoyable event, made even more enjoyable by the warm welcome extended to all by Sandra Tabener of the Bowery Café. Some of Sandra's photos are below:

Monday, 30 March 2009

Thanks Paul

Hearty thanks are due to Headingley Librarian Paul Askew, who produced a series of useful posters for individual events during the LitFest. Here he is in front of his display:

Regnar Lodbrog i Götaland

Richard Wilcocks writes:
Rory McTurk     Photo by Richard Wilcocks
In spite of the rawly violent storyline (the Vikings were, like us, very fond of rawly violent storylines), Rory McTurk's lecture last Friday was highly academic, based on a lifetime of research, as befits an Emeritus Professor of Icelandic Studies in the School of English of the University of Leeds. He began by looking at a couple of cartoons which were , he explained, clipped from a corn flakes packet in Denmark twenty years ago and which were translated very efficiently for the audience's enlightenment by the speaker, and progressed to speculation about the identity of one Healfdene, or Halbden, or Haldene, who may or may not have had his name incorporated into the name Headingley. The -ley part may or may not have derived from lowe, or hill: it might have derived from lea, meaning a clearing in the forest, the forest of Knaresborough which once covered this area before exploitative charcoal burners and property developers arrived. We were given a list of references which might prove handy, including Annals of St Bertin, Abbo of Fleury's Passio Sancti Eadmundi, Cogadh Gaedhel re Gallaibh, Geffrei Gaimar's L'estoire des Engleis and the Icelandic Knútsdrápa. That last one includes a little poem about the infliction of the blood eagle upon the captured King Ella by Ivor the Boneless:

Auk Ellv bak/ at lét hinn's sat,/ Ívarr, ara,/Jórvík, skorit

'And Ívarr, the one who dwelt in York, had Ella's back cut with an eagle.'

It was breathtakingly impressive. We were left pondering many questions at various levels of sublimity. Has Headingley really got a hill? Did they call him Boneless to his face? Do the Danes really eat corn flakes? Could a hairy fertility goddess really be confused with a man who wore hairy breeches?

The cartoon from the corn flakes packet

Friday, 27 March 2009

Lawnswood Slam

Three hundred vocal and appreciative 14 to 16 year-olds with their friends, parents and visitors packed into the main hall of Lawnswood School yesterday evening for a the grand Poetry Slam. It was the school’s contribution to the Headingley LitFest, and was coordinated by teacher Amanda Stevenson.

Very much in charge was performance poet Michelle Scally Clarke. This is the second year running that Lawnswood has been involved in a Slam. The theme this year was Pride.

With her help the students wrote and performed their own pieces - individually, in duos, trios and larger groups.

A panel of three judges chose three main award-winners: Ellen Hemingway’s Life is a Lottery was the most outstanding poem, Priya Lota’s Think, feel, say, see was the most emotive performance and Kizzy Jones, younger than most at 13, gave the most courageous performance.

Poetry Slams can feature a broad range of voices, styles, cultural traditions and approaches to writing and performance. The emphasis is on delivery, which might involve choreographed movements, hip-hop music and theatrical devices.

Below, Michelle with some of the poet-performers


Richard Lindley, the affable owner of Café Lento, compered a delicious short story evening on Wednesday, with original stories (and wines) of all types. He wants the place to become even better-known as a microcosm of the Headingley arty universe, so let it be. Star turn was undoubtedly John Jones, who had revealed to Richard Wilcocks over the weekend that Yoko Ono had performed a happening along with her then partner Tony Cox at the Leeds College of Art in 1966 (when John was a young lecturer in the Fine Art department at the University of Leeds) and that she had stayed at his house in Rochester Terrace, bringing with her Kyoko, her daughter.

Brief mention of this was included in a LitFest email circular which reached the local press....and the result was an interview with John and a substantial article by Chris Bond on Wednesday in the Yorkshire Post. The focus was John's 1987 essay in an anthology entitled The Lennon Companion, in which he writes about his interviews with a constellation of artists who were around in the sixties in New York, including De Kooning, Man Ray and Lichtenstein. He just missed Andy Warhol. The essay was read out, and John answered questions.

The Yorkshire Post article can be found here.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Running smoothly

On Wednesday it was Salvage - dramatised readings of three superb pieces by Peter Spafford in the cleared-out arts and craft room upstairs at the Bowery, and on Thursday members of Trio Literati seemed well pleased at the very full audience which had arrived to sample their special brew of poetry and song, immaculately rehearsed and beautifully presented. Lesley and Richard Quayle are pictured below performing Dylan's Don't think twice, it's all right just before the interval.

Amongst those spotted in the audience were David Robertson from Theatre of the Dales (see below) and Paul Priest, author of Sonnets, the new play which the company will perform at the Yorkshire College this coming Saturday and Sunday at 7.30pm. You can watch a slide show of their recent Twelfth Night by clicking here.

Robert Barnard fielded a fair number of questions after his talk on Friday Making Crime Pay from aficionados who were obviously very well-acquainted with the genre. At one point, there was even speculation about the relative merits of Norwegian and Swedish crime writers! Apparently the Norwegians are now on the up and up, so eat your heart out Henning Mankell.

Theatre Group Blah Blah Blah performed When the Wind Changed no less than three times on Saturday morning due to popular demand from the five and six year-olds in Headingley Library, some of whom had turned up a little late. They were charmed. They liked the way the actors sitting on the carpet made faces and put wigs and hats on and became funny people. They liked the orange juice and the biscuits too.

Ian Clayton's writers' workshop on Saturday afternoon in the Stadium café was attended by seventeen people - which according to Ian is a lot more than the usual.

Rugby met literature met music in the Executive Suite at Headingley Stadium on Saturday evening when Phil Caplan spoke about his work as a ghost writer for sports celebrities including, of course, Jamie Peacock. He explained how the books (like No White Flag, the Jamie Peacock story) had grown out of match reporting, and how Rugby League, which has world-class sportsmen and long traditions, is still, regretfully, treated as a poor relation in Britain outside the north of England. Jamie stepped forward to confirm that everything in the book was true, and answered questions from the audience. Doug Sandle introduced Phil and Jamie and outlined the work of the Rugby Arts Steering Group, which has already made a number of achievements, including, for example, a specially composed piece from composer Carl Davis.

Richard Wilcocks said a few words about the Headingley LitFest and the fruitful partnership with the Rugby Foundation before introducing Ian Clayton, mentioning that Headingley had produced both sporting and literary greats, and that it was right and proper for them to be celebrated together. The Ancient Greeks had given awards to athletes and poets at the Olympic Games, and why not? Similarly, it should not be enough to just watch a rugby match or listen to a poetry reading: the watchers and the listeners should be encouraged to do it themselves. So - the LitFest and the Rugby Foundation had provided opportunities for young and old in the form of a sports story competition for high school students and a writer's workshop.

Ian Clayton spoke as only Ian Clayton can speak, and the audience was very soon falling about because of his opening anecdotes. His talk was wide-ranging, and included a reading from Bringing it all back home - for example the sections about his encounter with Johnny Hope, who could recite Featherstone Rovers' teams right back to Edwardian times like prayers, and his search for the place where Bessie Smith died in what was once the Afro-American Hospital but which is now the Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Soon after the applause, plenty of copies of the hardback and the softback editions were sold.

Below, Lesley and Richard Quayle, David Robertson with Sauvignon Blanc and Ian Clayton with a pen:

Monday, 16 March 2009


Richard Raftery (that's him in the picture) was feeling expansive at the LitFest Launch Party yesterday. It was held in the long room at the back of the New Headingley Club. Daffodils adorned every table.

Richard Wilcocks spoke about the superb response to the 'Create a Sports Story' competition, organised for high school students by the LitFest in Partnership with Leeds Rugby Foundation, and then read out the winning entry, Richard Raftery, Trio Literati and poet Murray Edscer performed, and Trevor Bavage was the affable man with the gavel in an auction which raised two hundred pounds for LitFest funds. Winners of the literary - and very non-trivial - quiz were treated to drinks at the bar and Head For Heights provided excellent music. Now for the first event on Wednesday - Salvage by Peter Spafford.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

See them at the stadium

An Evening with Ian Clayton and Phil Caplan with special guest Jamie Peacock

Ian Clayton, television broadcaster and author of Bringing it all back home, and Phil Caplan, ghost writer to Leeds Rhinos player and England Rugby League captain, Jamie Peacock (No White Flag), on the same bill this coming Saturday.

Reviews of Ian Clayton's book - "One of the best books about popular music ever written", [Record Collector], / "Not a single false note. Clayton has written a compelling memoir of place and culture" [The Times] / "The best read I've had all year, at times very funny, genuinely touching and always deeply personal. The perfect book for anyone who has defined their life through music and the memories of youth” [Joanne Harris].

Premier Suite, Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Saturday 21 March, 7.15pm £12.00 (£8.00 concession-including students). Includes pie and peas supper - pay bar.

Tickets to be purchased/reserved in advance at Leeds Rugby's Ticket Office at Headingley Carnegie Stadium - 0871 423 1325 - or contact, phone/text 077 5252 1257 ASAP. Proceeds to Headingley Rugby Foundation's Learning Centre and Headingley LitFest).

In the photo - Phil Caplan, Jamie Peacock and Ian Clayton.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

A terrific starter

A terrific starter! Last Sunday afternoon, Kester Aspden and Ian Duhig attracted a large and appreciative audience to the Yorkshire College for the first LitFest event of 2009, in spite of the snowy weather. We were starved with cold outside, but soon warmed up inside, especially after being served with tea out of a proper teapot and home-made cakes.

Ian Duhig began the event with a selection of his poems, which included Róisín Bán (that’s White Rose in Gaelic), about the obliteration of the much-loved Roscoe pub by the new Sheepscar Interchange, and God Comes Home, his brilliant poem on the Oluwale case, which you can read by clicking here.

Kester Aspden began by talking about himself and how he came to write Nationality Wog: The Hounding of David Oluwale after researching other topics which might be described as a little arcane. Well it’s more than lucky that he did get it together, because now it stands alongside the 1999 Macpherson Report on the bungled investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence in what might be called the History of Institutional Racism in the Police Force. He read from the opening pages and used the two words which tend to come up frequently when the subject is discussed – “bad apples”. Inspector Ellerker and Sergeant Kitching, who were sent to prison for a lot less than manslaughter, were not the only ones, according to Kester Aspden: “There were more than two bad apples”.

He then went on to make the point that the rest of the Leeds police at the time was not corrupt, that the wrongdoers were shopped by a young policeman, and that the hero of the story was DCI John Perkins from Scotland Yard, whose persistence resulted in the prosecutions.

Discussions afterwards covered attitudes to asylum seekers today, the degree to which David Oluwale was “mad” (apparently, the cast of the play debated this for hours) and the effects of closing down huge institutions/asylums like Menston.

Poet Rommi Smith made a powerful appeal for the Oluwale Memorial Campaign at the end of the event, which resulted in a good amount.

If you are reading this before the run finishes at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, get down there! You can read Alfred Hickling’s review by clicking here. You can also watch the trailer here.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

The Hounding of David Oluwale

Richard Wilcocks writes:

The image below (the many snapshots are all of parts of Leeds which would have been known to Oluwale) was produced by the West Yorkshire Playhouse as part of the publicity for the play version of The Hounding of David Oluwale. I'll be seeing that on 4 February in my capacity as editor of Harmony, the news magazine of the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard, which is based at Education Leeds. The play will be reviewed, because the story is very relevant for anyone concerned about institutional racism in the police force - of the sort condemned in the 1999 Macpherson Report which looked at the way the Metropolitan Police had investigated the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in London.

The Headingley LitFest event on Sunday afternoon 8 February at 4pm at the Yorkshire College of Music and Drama is not just a follow-up for people who have seen the play, but something which stands by itself. It is an excellent opportunity to meet and to question Kester Aspden, the author of the brilliant book which inspired the play, and to listen to poet Ian Duhig. Put it in your diary and on your calendar.

Saturday, 24 January 2009


If you would like your child to participate in When the Wind Changed with the Blahs (that's three of them in the picture) at Headingley Library on Saturday 21 March (two sessions beginning at 10.30 and 11.30am) please get the name down on the booking list. There's a maximum of twenty per session. Lists are currently at the library and at Café Lento. Similarly, if you want to join Ian Clayton's writing workshop in the café at Headingley Stadium on the same day (it begins at 2pm), get your details on the list in the same places. You could also send an email.

Thursday, 8 January 2009


Sunday 8 February
The Hounding of David Oluwale
Kester Aspden and Ian Duhig
A great opportunity to meet the author of this critically acclaimed book, the result of painstaking research into the mystery of the life and violent death (in Leeds) of David Oluwale. It is a story that reverberates in our city today and the event coincides with the premiere of the play - adapted from the book - at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Kester is a former Professor of Criminology at Leeds University. His book was awarded the Gold Dagger Award for non-fiction. Ian Duhig is a widely-acclaimed poet who has worked with homeless people. He has written movingly about David Oluwale. Proceeds from this event will go to the Oluwale Memorial Campaign, in this 40th anniversary of his death.
4 – 6 p.m. Yorkshire College of Music and Drama, Shire Oak Road.
Entry £2* with a collection.

Friday 13 March
Headingley Stadium
Presentation to winners of Children’s Creative Writing Competition organized by Leeds Rugby Learning Centre in partnership with Headingley LitFest.
Half-time on the pitch, Leeds Rhinos v Wigan Warriors match

Sunday 15 March
LitFest Launch
Following last year’s glamorous occasion, the LitFest Launch Party will be bigger this year, at the New Headingley Club. Open to all - meet local authors, artists and performers. There will be an auction and a literary quiz, with prizes.
From 7.30pm New Headingley Club, St Michael’s Road

Wednesday 18 March
Tall tales of ruin and recovery by Peter Spafford. Folk tale, fish tale, war story, love story. Four stories told by four actors. When things go bottoms up, what`s worth saving from the wreckage? Hope, humour, friendship; all in one night and a very small space.
7.30pm The Bowery, corner of Monk Bridge Road and Otley Road

Performance repeated on Fri March 20th at 29 Broomfield Road, Leeds LS6 3DE in aid of B3P (Balkans Peace Park Project).

Thursday 19 March
Virtual Aires
Trio Literati performs in a celebration of Aireings, the Leeds-based poetry magazine dedicated to publishing new work, which has been running for over thirty years and which is now moving to the internet. There will be an open mic session after the interval.
7.30 pm Yorkshire College of Music and Drama, Shire Oak Road
Entry £5*

Friday 20 March
Making Crime Pay
Bob Barnard will reveal a few tips of the trade. Many will remember Bob from the last LitFest, when he talked about the Brontës. He is a veteran crime writer, winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger Award and Best Crime Short Story 2007.
7pm Headingley Library, North Lane
Entry £3*

Saturday 21 March
When the Wind Changed
The Blahs are a group of Leeds-based theatre makers who will make this story up with children aged 5 and 6 by tapping into their natural ability and desire to make faces.
10.30 – 11.00am and 11.30 – 12.00noon
Headingley Library, North Lane
Free. Please book.

Saturday 21 March
An Domhan eile
Using their unique Celtic blend of poetry, music and song Lucht Focail (the award winning Irish writers’ group) explores Irish myth and legend. Lucht Focail means ‘People of the Word’. This event is organised in partnership with Irish History Month 2009.
7.30pm Bowery

Saturday 21 March
Writer's workshop with Ian Clayton
All aspiring writers are invited to have a go. Sign a list in the Stadium or at Headingley Library. Or, send an email.
2 – 4pm Café – Headingley Stadium. St Michael’s Lane.

Saturday 21 March
An Evening with Phil Caplan and Ian Clayton
Ghost writer Phil Caplan will talk about working with well-known sports personalities, JamiePeacock for example. Jamie Peacock will be there, listening. Author and television presenter Ian Clayton will hold forth on his book Bringing it All Back Home. Ian listened to music as a kid to escape and as an adult to connect. He has created a book about love, friendship and loss – about life and living it. While searching for a soundtrack to his own life story, he has discovered the heart that beats inside us all. Any proceeds go to the Leeds Rugby Learning Centre and the LitFest. Pie and Peas. 7.30pm Premiere Suite, Headingley Stadium
Entry £12

Sunday 22 March
Climate Change
A new one-act play by Headingley jazz singer and writer Lynn Thornton, a light-hearted treatment of a topical issue, in which global changes are paralleled by changes in the lives of the characters. This will be a script-in-hand performance. A discussion will follow.
7.30pm Yorkshire College of Music and Drama, Shire Oak Road
Entry £4

Tuesday 24 March
Michelle at Salvo's
Michelle Scally-Clarke performs in a specially-written piece. Dinner – spezattino of lamb with barley and gnocchi sardo, vegetarian option available – is included.
8.30pm for 9pm
£15 Salumeria, Otley Road. Book tickets from Salvo’s.

Wednesday 25 March
On the Edge
This short story evening follows the great success of the LitFest interim event at Lento last July.
7.30pm Café Lento, North Lane

Wednesday 25 March
The first half of the evening will be hosted by Billy Walker (local poet and author) who will read a selection of his own poems as well as poetry by other authors on the main theme. The second half of the evening will be open readings from the floor. Organised by Leeds Combined Arts.
7.45 p.m. Headingley Community Centre, North Lane
Entry £2 on the door

Thursday 26 March
Poetry Slam at Lawnswood
Michelle Scally- Clarke returns to create another Slam with Lawnswood students. Performance poetry, singing and dancing , all of it original.
6pm Lawnswood School Main Hall

Friday 27 March
Snake-pits and Hairy-Breeks
An Emeritus professor of Icelandic Studies, Rory McTurk is best known for his work on Ragnar Hairy-Breeks, a Viking hero who met his death in a snake-pit, bound by hand and foot, but still able to sing cheerfully of a lifetime’s adventures. Rory’s lecture will highlight, among other things, the Headingley connections of this colourful figure.
7pm Headingley Library
Entry £3*

Saturday 28 March
Tea with Beryl Bainbridge
Dame Beryl Bainbridge will speak about her latest novel, The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress, herself, and a lifetime’s work. Beryl Bainbridge began her working life as an actress and has remained an entertainer ever since, as one of Britain's most popular and best-loved novelists. Her work has attracted a wide readership as well as critical acclaim, having been short-listed for the Booker Prize four times, and winning the Whitbread Prize three times, most recently for Every Man for Himself (1996). Her trademark is the sardonic, even at times macabre wit in her books, usually mercilessly black comedies with eccentric characters.
3 pm New Headingley Club, St Michael’s Road
Entry £6* Please book.

Saturday 28 March
A new play by Paul Priest presented as a script-in-hand performance by Theatre of the Dales. Shakespeare's sonnets have a story behind them. The basic facts are not hard to guess, yet the inner reality remains almost as mysterious as the sonnets themselves. This play tries to let the sonnets and the story illuminate each other. Raised in America, Paul Priest is a Shakespeare scholar and retired university lecturer now living in Headingley.
7.30 pm Yorkshire College of Music and Drama
Entry £6

Sunday 29 March
Poetry at Dare
One of the North's foremost poets and writers, James Nash works in schools, runs workshops with writers’ and readers’ groups and comperes events – like this one. Bring your poems! James will read some of his own work too, including poems from his new publication Coma Songs.
2 – 4pm Dare Café