2012 Headingley LitFest set to be bigger and better

BOOKED: Ian Macmillan.
BOOKED: Ian Macmillan.
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‘Bard of Barnsley’ poet Ian Macmillan will be among the stars from the literary world appearing at the 2012 Headingley LitFest next month.

This year’s festival is bigger and better than ever, covering everything from Polish poetry and Yorkshire dialect to stand-up comedy lessons, sports lingo and ‘Elvish’, the language created by JRR Tolkien.

Highlights include Ian Macmillan, who will perform a show called Talking Myself Home at Left Bank Leeds – a new venue for the month-long festival – on March 16.

Festival organiser Richard Wilcocks will also star in an event called Poetry Under Occupation with his wife Anna Zukowska on March 23, where the couple will translate wartime literature from Poland.

Richard said: “We’ve been very lucky this year because we have several coups, not only Ian Macmillan but several celebrated poets.

“The festival brings an increased sense of community and there really is something for everybody this year.

“We have activities for all levels, with some activities for specialist groups and others that are much broader.”

Also on the LitFest line-up is a talk about the origin of Yorkshire dialects, featuring Yorkshire Dialect Society member Dr Barrie Rhodes, at the New Headingley Club on March 14.

Dr Richard Brown, from the University of Leeds, will preside over a look at experimental languages, including Tolkien’s Elvish, Orwell’s Newspeak and Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, at Headingley’s North Lane library on March 21.

Meanwhile, Sunday Mirror sports reporter and Leeds United fan Anthony Clavane will talk about his work – including award-winning book Promised Land: A Northern Love Story – at the New Headingley Club on March 25.

Novelists Michael Stewart and Ross Raisin will star at events on March 20 and March 24 respectively, with performance poet Richard Raftery, writer Peter Spafford and ‘punk publisher’ Mick McCann also on the line-up.

This year’s festival also includes several workshops, with a stand-up comedy class on March 10; a lyric-writing workshop on March 11; calligraphy workshops on March 11 and 18 and story-telling workshops on March 14 and 17.

Poetry performance artist Michelle Scally-Clarke will once again create a poetry slam with pupils at Lawnswood School on March 22.

This year’s festival has been funded by a range of organisations, including the Arts Council, Leeds City Council, Awards 4 All and Jimbo’s Fund, in memory of entrepreneur and philanthropist Jimi Heselden.

For a full list of performance times and ticket prices, visit www.headingleylitfest.org.uk or the blog at: www.headingleylitfest.blogspot.com