Yup, you heard right. Writers’ HQ are fiiiiiinally bringing their whoop-ass writers’ retreat (wh)oop North, starting with Lovely Literary LEEDS.
Wanna know why? ’Appen as not an mebbe*, we hear you cry (you are going to fit right in).
Srsly tho. We’ve got it all going on:
1. Cerch Lerds† of Lit Fests!
You can’t move in Leeds without bumping into a festival full of lit – we’ve got the Headingley LitFest, Ilkley Literature Festival, Morley Arts Festival, Northern Short Story Festival, Writing On Air Festival and if those literary love-ins are not enough (you’re insatiable) the all new Leeds Lit Fest is landing IMMINENTLY *mic drop*.
Then, once you’ve finished fanning yourself with your manuscript, you could always nip for a reviving cup of Yorkshire tea with our close neighbours for their annual extravaganzas at Bradford Literature Festival and Huddersfield Literature Festival. Fucking heck indeed.
2. Literature. Out. LOUD!
Leeds has more spoken word and open mic nights than you can shake a packet of Vocalzones at. Fictions of Every Kind is Leeds’ longest running literary social and takes place bi-monthly at the tres cool Wharf Chambers. Chelping is a monthly happening at the lush old (like, really old) The Leeds Library. AND you can join the Word Club on the last Friday of every month at the oh-so-cosy Chemic Tavern. Just remember that the first rule of Word Club is you do not talk about… no, wait, that’s the other club…*taps mic*…is this thing ON?!
3. Theatre, dahling!
Telling stories is at the heart of great theatre, obvs, and Leeds has oodles of it. From the cutting edge productions of the relaunched Leeds Playhouse to the Carriageworks Theatre’s commitment to local performers, writers and spoken word artists, Leeds has a super-strong theatrical network. That includes trailblazing radical theatre company Red Ladder and inspirational interactive theatre company Alive & Kicking, who are dedicated to supporting literacy and story-making in schools and communities. Essential stuff for folk round here. Hell, folk everywhere.
4. Literary Luminaries!
Leeds is really good at making writers. Back in the day, Alan Bennett was born-and-bloody-bred here, as were Keith Waterhouse and Arthur Ransome. Other home-grown writers include Helen Fielding (who’s published some quite successful books about a certain ‘thirtysomething singleton’), Jeremy Dyson (author and also one quarter of the one-offs that are The League of Gentlemen) and Barbara Taylor Bradford (pro-LIFFIC bestselling novelist and A Woman of Substance FROM LEEDS. She married an American called Bradford. What are the chances?)
5. Them There Yorkshire Moors!
Ok, so you’ve got a hefty tome-sized headache now from literal literary overload. You writer-types needs your fresh air. Lucky then that Leeds is but a dry stone’s throw away from a big patch of grass known as Bronte Country‡. It’s a landscape credited with inspiring the famous family’s numerous novels and to paraphrase Victoria Wood you can practically hear the wind ‘wuthering’. Ooh, then there’s Ted Hughes who came from nearby Mytholmroyd and of course Sylvia Plath was buried in Heptonstall and then… aarrrgh, who are we even kidding – there’s no getting away from the literary links round these parts.
Join us… book your place on the Leeds Writers’ Retreat ASSSSAAAAAPPPP
* You’re probably right
† Flat vowels come as standard
‡ Actual name