|Maria Stephenson with Osmondthorpe Hub performers Photo Richard Wilcocks|
Sally Bavage writes:
A Sting in the Tale
Intriguing Tales with the Headingley and Osmondthorpe writers' groups
The audience comments really have said most of it – the descriptions of writing that was fabulous, excellent, amazing, wonderful, humorous, rich, inventive give you the general idea. What mere words alone can't give you is the palpable sense of anticipation as reader after reader exposed their work to the keenly-listening ears of friends, family, colleagues and other audience members. We would have whooped and hollered with glee if sometimes the work had not been a bit dark for an explosion of joy - but we did practically clap the skin from our palms.
Group and single – and singular – poems. Flash fiction. Mini novellas. Pleas and polemic. Life histories and lies. Hopes and heartache. Travel and tragedy. Pets and places. Nature and nurse. Our writers took the LitFest theme of 'Intrigues' and simply ran with it. Well, not simply: much of the writing had a complex sting in the tale.
Sex and relationships, legends and love, murder and madness, distopia and paradise, yearning and youth, psychological torture and a hitman's reminiscences, unfaithful spouses .. all human life was here. Breathtaking.
Thanks are due to our star bakers Rachel Harkess (one of the founders, along with Biddy Coghill) of this now-annual event and Mary Frances, who treated the 50-strong crowd to a cornucopia of feasting on a splendid range of home-made cakes that had absolutely no calories in them at all!
Thanks too to the WEA for supporting many of the costs for the hire of equipment and the venue.
This event wouldn't happen without the dedication of the staff who take up so much of their time to support the nervous performers and the reluctant debutantes and turn them into swans. Alison Taft tutors the Headingley writers' group and Maria Stephenson tutors the Osmondthorpe Hub writers. Not least, thanks to the fantastic team of carers from the Hub – Anita and Claire – who worked so hard alongside technicians David and Gavin to give these writers back their voices.
Headingley Writers: Lynn Alexander, Howard Benn, Karen Byrne, Liam Fitzsimons, Michael Freeman, Malcolm Henshall, Simon Hunt, Hazel Kilner, Dru Long, Jim Mallin, Alice O'Donnell, Jackie Offord and Val Wright.
Osmondthorpe Writers: Malcolm Banks, Paul Bugler, Gaynor Chilvers, Julie Conroy, Lisa Daniels, Jackie Fisher, Carl Flynn, Sue Heath, Mandy Hudson, Paul Jeffrey, Lee Rowley, Jenny Ruddock, Robert Thorpe and Winston Whiteley,
I really enjoyed the event, and found it inspiring to listen to everyone's poems and stories. The event was well organised and professional and hopefully will continue for many years to come.
Full of interest and variety in the interpretation of the theme
An excellent performance by both groups. The Osmondthorpe group were exceptional. Well organised and professional; hope the event will continue for years to come.
A fantastic morning! Well done to everyone who took part – the hard work that has gone into this was very obvious.
Fantastic event - good to give an opportunity to aspiring writers. And wonderful to have the Osmondthorpe group here. Superb writing from both groups. Thanks to all involved in the organisation.
Some very talented writing both humorous and moving. Osmondthorpe Hub were again very moving and talented.
An excellent event which gave a great opportunity to hear different voices. Thanks.
Some very good and serious poetry from both of the Headingley and Osmondthorpe Hub groups. I particularly liked both of the (illegible) from the Headingley group and thought that is was good that the poetry from the Osmondthorpe group was projected on the big screen
I'm a Yorkshire born person visiting from New Zealand. A fabulous event. The quality of the works was amazing. I might come back next year!!
Very thoughtful rendering of different situations. Very skilful – amazing stories and poems – what a feast! The poetry from Osmondthorpe students was very thought-provoking. A GREAT MIX!
Amazing talent. Amazing tutors – let's have more.
Absolutely brilliant – so moving.
An EXCELLENT show! One of the highlights of the Festival
An interesting mix of writings. Thank you.
As always, enjoyed listening to the writing group from Osmondthorpe. Thank you for the invite.
Very enjoyable and impressive range of material
Fantastic to listen to such wonderful poems and meet fab people.