Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE to become patron of The Leeds Library

The Leeds Library has today begun a new chapter in its history after a top city born author accepted an invitation to become a patron.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 8:00 am
Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE. PIC: Gary Longbottom

Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE says is it a "huge privilege" to be asked to be a patron of what is the oldest membership subscription library in the country which is based on Commercial Street in the city centre.

She was born in Upper Armley and began her career as a journalist on the Yorkshire Evening Post after initially joining as a 15-year-old in the newspaper's typing pool.

She then moved to London to work on Fleet Street and continued on to America to pursue her writing career. An author of 38 novels, all of which have been international bestsellers, Barbara has sold over 90 million copies and is one of UK’s most commercially successful authors of all time.

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Barbara Taylor Bradford pictured in Leeds in 1981.

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She wrote her first novel, A Woman of Substance, in 1979 and it has now sold more than 30 million copies. Her latest novel, A Man of Honour, is due to be published on Thursday, November 11.

It is anticipated that to mark her role as patron, the Leeds Library will set up an annual lecture in the name of Barbara that will coincide with International Women’s Day, as well as an annual literary prize that will aim to champion women’s writing both regionally and nationally.

Martin Staniforth, chair of the trustees of The Leeds Library, said: ‘We are honoured that Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE has agreed to support the Library as a patron. As a charity that has championed the work of local writers over a number of years it seems fitting that Barbara, as the most successful author ever to come from Leeds, should be a patron. We are looking forward to working with her over the coming months and years to help establish both an annual lecture and literary award which we hope will inspire more people from the city to take up writing.’

Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE and Robert Bradford attend the 2018 Literacy Partners Gala at Cipriani Wall Street. PIC: Getty

Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE said: "‘It is a huge privilege to be asked to be a Patron for The Leeds Library, an organisation that shares my commitment to celebrating and supporting creative writing in all of its forms as well as promoting literacy. I am really looking forward to working with everyone at the Library on a number of initiatives that will take place in a city that will forever be special to me.’

Barbara will join Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, writer Caryl Phillips and arts historian Nima Poovaya-Smith as patrons of the Library, which was founded in 1768, has a collection of more than 140,000 items. As a charity, it is committed to ensuring that the Library is a thriving, individual library and much-loved cultural institution of Leeds, which is an inspiring and valued home and resource for lovers of books, writing and creativity.

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