Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Two heads are better than one

Sally Bavage writes on ‘Surviving’ at Brudenell Primary

As James Nash, local poet/writer working for the first time for LitFest with Brudenell Primary School, said of his storytelling sessions here: “I told Year 6 stories; their stories were better than mine!”  Monday 9th December and yet another marvellous afternoon where young people shared their ideas with fellow pupils, parents, teachers and visitors, using a microphone and standing centre-stage to read out to an audience of 100 tantalising excerpts from their vivid tales woven around a clay head. 

Adventures, accidents, tragedy, terror, jollity, journeys – all here.  The clay model carries scars; speculation ranged from crashes to war, from falls to wounding, from kidnapping to family rescue from a cooking pot!  Dreams and nightmares.  Beautiful descriptions of candyfloss clouds, sun-drenched beaches, menacing streets.  From Scarborough to New York to Transylvania – we were taken along a global journey ourselves.  We look forward to seeing the whole stories on display later this year.

Headteacher Jill Harland commented afterwards: “Having an inspirational author work with our pupils has raised their ambition and love of literacy.  Some have been speaking English for less than two years – and now see where this work has taken their language development.”  Teacher Rachael Mann told us that “The event really inspired the Year Sixes to write more, and present their work confidently in front of an audience.  The language used in the stories was excellent and I think events like these really encourage children to have an interest in writing.”

We can leave the final words to some of Year Six themselves: 
“Working with James improved my writing as before he came I didn’t know how to start a story.” Asiman
“He inspired me to write more stories.” Maham
And, simply, “It was fun!!” Aryaan.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Draft Calendar for 2014

The calendar for the programme of the 2014 LitFest is almost in place, with only a few gaps for extra events to squeeze into - final version in a week or two - so far we've got (in the order of the calendar, and without some of the final titles), Climate Change (with Café Scientifique), Film at Heart (Caesar Must Die), Alison Taft's new novel, Irish Arts, Words on Tap Special (with Matthew Hedley Stoppard), Trio Literati, Malcolm Lowery poetry, Italian Classic readings (Dante and Bocaccio) at the Salumeria, Let Me Speak (creative writing group at Heart, with friends from Osmondthorpe if possible), The Return of the Soldier (Rebecca West, lecture by Dr Richard Brown), Leeds Combined Arts event, Jo Shapcott, Grand Launch of the book of stories from the wartime hospital at Beckett Park (together with a performance based on some of them from the Vedettes - Leeds Met students), Ridiculous Witches with Sarah Shafi, Surviving the Publishing Industry (workshop with Alison Taft), house events including one on little-known war poets, Theatre of the Dales, café events at Mint and Lento on North Lane, Scriptophilia with Peter Spafford and Richard Ormrod, a literary walk around Headingley and West Park, poetry slams at City of Leeds and Lawnswood Schools and Aritha van Herk at Heart.