Big names lined up for 2011 Headingley LitFest

African writer Ben Okri will be among the stars from the literary world appearing at the 2011 Headingley LitFest.

Leeds-born author Wes Brown, author of Shark, will also appear at the 10-day literature festival from Friday, March 18, alongside a host of other well-known names.

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Chef Hansa Dabhi, who runs Hansa's in Leeds city centre, will star in an event on the week of the festival launch, where she will talk about her second book and about how the Hindu philosophy of food influences her restaurant.

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Author Robert Swindells, who specialises in writing books for teenagers, will read from his work and answer questions from pupils at Cardinal Heenan High School in Meanwood on March 23.

And poetry performance artist Michelle Scally-Clarke will once again create a poetry slam with pupils at Lawnswood School on March 24.

The festival is backed by local councillors, who have given some of their Money for Investment in the Community and Environment (MICE) cash to the annual event.

Coun James Monaghan (Lib Dem, Headingley) said: "We are always keen to show support for local initiatives such as the Headingley LitFest. Its popularity is a testament to the area's bustling cultural scene.

"The festival brings together children, students, residents and professionals, uniting the local community through the arts."

Other events scheduled for the week of the festival launch include a talk with author Isabel Losada and a lecture on late novelist Margaret Storm Jameson, hosted by Dr Richard Brown. For a full list of events, visit www.litfestprogramme.blogspot.com.

* African poet Ben Okri will read from his work and answer questions at Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre (HEART) on March 26.

* Wes Brown will read from Shark and answer questions during a series of special event taking place in people's houses on March 20. To book, call 0113 225 7397.

* Hansa Dabhi will appear at Salvo's on Otley Road, Headingley, on March 14. To book, call 0113 275 5017.

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