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Saturday 10
March Schwa - A Lark

Schwa is Peter Spafford on piano and vocals, Richard Ormrod on too many instruments to list, and chanteuse Jacqui Wicks. They are stalwarts of the Litfest, having premiered both Threshold and I Am Alive in previous years. Here they preview Bird Songs, their forthcoming performance piece about the wonder and mystery of feathered creatures - and throw in some old favourites.

Playful, but not frivolous; intricately constructed songs that constantly surprise whilst sounding like you’ve always known them. It’s good to know that music can still bring new joy. (Pancakes for Davros)

Vivid lyricism and authentic vocals blended with fantastic, eclectic arrangements. (Testament)

There’s a northern ambience to the whole thing. Listening to it in Switzerland, this feels to me like its particular character. (Merz)

New Parlour? Fairport meets Threepenny Opera? Schwa take poems by a range of poets dead and set them to intelligent, emotive music.

Their three albums to date are available at: https://schwasters.bandcamp.com/

7.30pm HEART Centre, Bennett Road
Thursday 8 March
Stand and Friends

Partnership event with Stand magazine
Stand Magazine
The international quarterly Stand has been a significant feature on the literary scene since its foundation by the poet Jon Silkin in 1952. Over the last sixty years it has published work by leading poets and novelists, including Alison Brackenbury, Vahni Capildeo, Geoffrey Hill, Tony Harrison, Helen Mort, Ken Smith, Anne Stevenson and Peter Carey. It has always provided opportunities for emerging poets and writers. An independent charitable body, it is currently published from the School of English at the University of Leeds.

Members of the current editorial board - Jon Glover, Elaine Glover and John Whale - invite you to a reading with friends of Stand which will celebrate the past and present of the magazine.

7.30pm HEART Centre Bennett Road
Free. Donations welcome

Monday 19 March
Launch of Strix - Issue Three

Partnership event with Strix

Carol Rumens described Strix in the Guardian as ‘handsome, streamlined and sharp-eyed’, and since its first issue launched in May last year, this Leeds-based magazine has published nearly a hundred writers from all over the English-speaking world and at all stages of their writing lives. Join us for a lively and packed launch at our spiritual home.

8.15pm Hyde Park Book Club, Headingley Lane
Free. Donations welcome
Tuesday 6 March
Recovery Songs

Partnership event with Hyde Park Book Club
Ralph Dartford
Recovery Songs by Ralph Dartford tells a true story of how and why addiction occurs, and how it can eventually stop. Painful, insightful, funny, and ultimately redemptive, Ralph Dartford draws from the stories of his life to fuse narratives and poems that will move you to understand that everything you thought you knew about addiction is maybe wrong.

Ralph hails from Basildon, Essex and is founder member of highly acclaimed spoken word collective A Firm of Poets. Ralph has been published in The Guardian, Stirring Magazine (US), Pulp Faction, Exterminating Angel Press (US) and London Territories. His first collection, Cigarettes, Beer and Love was published by Ossett Observer Presents in July 2013.

Wonderfully dynamic’ - York Press
Great Support’ - Kate Tempest
This is proper, visceral stuff about real life. Poetry for the rest of us’ - Luke Wright

Contains adult themes and some strong language.

7.30pm Hyde Park Book Club, Headingley Lane
Free. Donations welcome
Tuesday 20 March
Taking the Plunge

Partnership event with local WEA creative writing groups taking the plunge

Once again we are delighted to welcome three local groups of creative writers - one from Headingley and two from the Osmondthorpe Hub - to take the plunge and share their work with us. Dark tales? Wry poems? A drama? Short stories with a twist? Or an entertaining excerpt from life writing? An eclectic selection of pieces to fascinate, amuse and arouse your curiosity. We also have a short introduction with local poets who share a snippet to whet your appetite.

11.00am - 1.30pm HEART Centre, Bennett Road
Free. Donations invited for refreshments
Saturday 24 March pitch & pen logo
Pitch and Pen

Ever wondered whether that idea you have for a novel, or a poetry or short story collection could fly?

Would you like the chance to pitch to a team of publishing industry professionals?

You’ve seen Dragons’ Den, so now Headingley Litfest invites you to pitch your ideas in front of an audience and a panel of professional writers and publishers. Not only is this a great chance to see whether your idea is sound, it also gives you a chance to see what the competition is like out there. What makes a great idea stand out from the pile?

The winning pitcher(s) will be invited to submit a synopsis and sample of their work for consideration by either Valley Press based in Scarborough, or Sheffield based And Other Stories. Regardless of whether a publishing contract is offered, feedback will be provided on the submission package.

The panel of judges will be made up of:
Jamie McGarry Publisher/Director - Valley Press
Anna Glendenning Editor - And Other Stories
Alison Taft - Novelist and Editor for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy

£5 to pitch - places to pitch are limited and to apply for a ticket you must please email litfestpitchnpen@gmail.com stating whether you want to pitch poetry/short stories or a novel.

£2 to attend - on the door.
4.00pm - 6.00pm New Headingley Club, St Michael’s Road

Valley Press logoValley Press
(est. 2008) is a thriving independent publishing house based in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. With authors from all corners of the UK, as well as Canada, the USA, India, Bermuda and China, it brings the world to Yorkshire and Yorkshire to the world. There are more than 100 titles currently in print, including poetry (collections, pamphlets and anthologies), fiction (novels and short stories) and non-fiction (travel writing and memoirs). 2018 will see further expansion, with musical history and graphic novels appearing on the shelves. Valley Press’s most important belief is that great literature and great publishing is for everyone and anyone. Get in touch if you agree.

And Other Stories logoAnd Other Stories publishes some of the best in contemporary writing. It aims to push people’s reading limits and help them discover authors of adventurous and inspiring writing. And Other Stories is its readers, editors, writers, translators and subscribers. While all its books are distributed widely through bookshops, it is subscribers’ support that makes the books happen. The press now has about 1,000 active subscribers in over 40 countries, receiving up to 6 books a year in advance of publication date.
Wednesday 28 March

Due to unforeseen circumstances the ‘War on Gender’ event has been postponed and the following alternative event will take place instead.

Open Mic Poetry Evening
poetry evening

Partnership event with Leeds Combined Arts

Join Leeds Combined Arts members and guests for an open mic evening on a mixed theme.

All welcome to read on any topic or just sit and listen if preferred.

8.00pm HEART Centre, Bennett Road

Entrance is £3.50/£3.00 and includes light refreshments

Pay on the door, or to book in advance ring 0113 269 0356