Headingley Literature Festival is a programme of events occurring around the production of literature in Yorkshire. This focuses specifically on Headingley here in Leeds, however organisers are also keen to celebrate a diverse range of literature from around the world.
Sally Bavage works as a fundraiser on the organising committee, and works to “support our community work in nine local schools and with creative writers in local community groups.”
Headingley Lit Fest often teams up with local charity groups for events such as writers’ workshops. The Festival is sponsored by organisations such as Leeds City Council, the Workers Education Association and many more. Furthermore, many of the events in the Festival take place in the HEART Centre, a community venture that was undertaken to provide a space for arts and enterprise.
Events so far have included an evening with Afghani refugee Gulwali Passarly, who spoke about his new book, where he describes the incredible events of his journey migrating to the UK after the death of his father.
Sally said “Gulwali was an absolute example of the value of events like this for our community,” promoting community cohesion. It is these events that characterise Headingley LitFestival.
The importance of the festival being locally-focused is very important to organisers, all of whom are from the local area. The festival aims to ‘draw on the strengths of our local community to entertain, enlighten and delight.’
Some of the high-profile guests this year include local pharmacist Amit Dhand, whose new crime novel has been widely-acclaimed; ITV presenter Amanda Owen who will be speaking about her new biography and Mark Connors, an accomplished poet who is a regular feature at Yorkshire literary festivals.
Festival events work with everything that spans from literature. This weekend there is a performance from a musical duo with songs based on the works of Rudyard Kipling and there is an opportunity to perform stand-up or spoken word at an open mic night the following week.
There are also opportunities to showcase your writing, pitching your work to a panel of industry professionals. Or, if you prefer to be in the audience, there are a wide range of talks that will cover any interest: from ‘Strange Encounters,’ which will discuss British Science Fiction to ‘A Yorkshire Tragedy,’ discussing the rise and fall and sports in Yorkshire.
All information about upcoming events is available on headingleylitfest.org.uk.