Headingley Lit Fest was created in early 2008 and operates under the wing of Headingley Network, a community organisation which works to improve the environment and facilities for the local community.
The LitFest is run by a group of people who are local to Headingley and our idea is that we develop a literature festival that draws on the strengths of our local community to entertain, enlighten and delight us all. But, while our roots lie in our community, it is also our pleasure to invite and offer hospitality to people of the word from around the country and the world.
The LitFest takes place in March each year but we also run some supplementary events ‘Between the Lines’ through the year.
We have agreed a formal set of Aims and Objectives—click here to view them
Today, Headingley is a busy suburb of Leeds but its highways, by-ways and back-ways testify to a long and ancient settlement and the criss-crossing of generations of Headingley folk
Architecturally Headingley ranges from humble cottages to the remnants of landed estates, from rows of terraces and semis to mansion houses, from the churches of St. Michaels and St. Chads to modern architectural statements.
Lucy Newlyn celebrates Headingley through her poetry collection Ginnel (she appeared in at the LitFest in 2012), Julia Blackburn, who was at Bennett Road School (now Heart) for a while, recalls her life as the daughter of a Leeds University Gregory Fellow in her book The Three of Us and William Fryer Harvey (brought up in Spring Bank) wrote of his happy Headingley childhood in We Were Seven.
J R R Tolkien lived in Headingley when he worked at the University of Leeds (he now has a blue plaque at 2 Darnley Road), Arthur Ransome was born in Headingley, T S Eliot visited his in-laws in Weetwood and Alan Bennett lived over a butcher's shop opposite the Three Horseshoes. George Orwell used to stay in Estcourt Terrace with his stepsister and her husband Humphry Dakin, Jon Silkin used his flat at 144 Otley Road as the first office of STAND magazine and Geoffrey Hill lived in Shire Oak Road. Kay Mellor still lives in Far Headingley.
Many talented Leeds and Headingley residents (both past and present) have contributed to the Headingley LitFest over the years. They have celebrated the creative word in Headingley by giving us a huge range of exuberant (and thoughtful) events. They have been joined by many Headingley businesses and other organisations (such as schools and the Library) and an array of people from further afield. Together they have created a new and diverse literary heritage.