Tomorrow's free event (Saturday 17 March) at 5pm in the historic Leeds Library, Commercial Street. THE MAYFLOWER GENERATION. Historian Rebecca Fraser traces the progress of a family that sailed with the Puritans to the New World. She reveals disturbing details of its relationships with the Native Americans.

Selected by The Sunday Times as a History Book of the Year 2017

Our friendly local pharmacist is also an ace crime writer! Amit Dhand will be at the New Headingley Club this evening at 7.15pm Not to be missed!

Amit Dhand, our friendly local pharmacist at Headingley Medical Centre, leads a double life as a writer of crime fiction. His sellout event last year at Headingley Library detailed his debut novel Streets of Darkness. His hero isHarry Virdee, a Sikh detective, with flaws in his professional and priv...

Don't miss Ann Dinsdale's illustrated talk 'Living with Emily Brontë' 7.30pm Tuesday 13 March at The Leeds Library. Here she is with Emily's portrait of her merlin hawk Nero. Register for a free ticket -

Headingley LitFest – Ann Dinsdale – Bronte Parsonage museum Living with Emily Brontë An illustrated talk by Ann Dinsdale, Principal Curator of the Brontë Parsonage Museum, to mark the bicentenary of the birth of Emily Brontë, the author of Wuthering Heights, who spent nearly all her life at H...

Robin Lustig's excellent talk on Saturday afternoon about his memoir 'Is Anything Happening' included not only a plea to support serious journalism but a warning about #fakenews

This blog is for reviews and comments on Headingley LitFest events. We would love to hear from you even if you are far away and can't come to any!

Wednesday evening 7 March at The Leeds Library (it's next door to the Co-op Bank in Commercial Street, City Centre) - The Trials of Salomé. Free. 7.30pm

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Headingley LitFest

Partnership event with Café Scientifique

Monday 12 March
7.30pm New Headingley Club, St Michael’s Road ...
£3 Pay on the door

How the weather has shaped our world

Two hundred years ago Mary Shelley’s landmark Gothic tale,
Frankenstein, was published. However, this horror story might
never have been imagined were it not for the spectacular
eruption of Tambora in Indonesia, three years earlier in 1815.
The vast quantities of ash, thrown high into the atmosphere by
this volcano, resulted in ‘the year without a summer’ in 1816
and worldwide harvest failures. And it was during this incredibly
gloomy summer that Shelley started to write Frankenstein.

Join science journalist Kate Ravilious (pictured)for a whistle-stop tour of weather events that have shaped the world we see today. From the weather that inspired the skies in Edvard Munch’s The Scream, to the harsh weather that ultimately led to Heinz beans, Kate will be exploring how some weather events have been turning points in history, and pondering what kind of
weather might shape our future.

Kate Ravilious is an award-winning independent science journalist who is the granddaughter of WW2 war artist Eric Ravilious, and is based in York. She writes about the latest
discoveries in the scientific world and has a particular passion for weather, earth sciences and archaeology. She contributes regularly to the ‘Weatherwatch’ column in The Guardian
newspaper, and you can also see her work in a number of magazines, newspapers and websites including New Scientist, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent,
Cosmos, Archaeology and Environmental Research Web.

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Headingley LitFest

Saturday 24 March
4 - 6 pm New Headingley Club, St Michaels Road

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 stating whether you want to pitch poetry/short stories or a novel.
£2 to attend - on the door.

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Headingley LitFest


5pm Saturday 17 March - Free event at The Leeds Library in Commercial Street.

Selected by The Sunday Times as a History Book of the Year 2017


The voyage of the Mayflower and the founding of Plymouth Colony is one of the seminal events in world history. But the poorly-equipped group of English Puritans who ventured across the Atlantic in the early autumn of 1620 had no sense they would pass into legend. They had eighty casks of butter and two dogs but no cattle for milk, meat, or ploughing. They were ill-prepared for the brutal journey and the new land that few of them could comprehend. But the Mayflower story did not end with these Pilgrims’ arrival on the coast of New England or their first uncertain years as settlers.

Rebecca Fraser traces two generations of one ordinary family and their extraordinary response to the challenges of life in America. Edward Winslow, an apprentice printer born in Worcestershire, fled England and then Holland for a life of religious freedom and opportunity. Despite the intense physical trials of settlement, he found America exotic, enticing, and endlessly interesting. He built a home and a family, and his remarkable friendship with King Massassoit, Chief of the Wampanoags, is part of the legend of Thanksgiving.

Yet, fifty years later, Edward’s son Josiah was commanding the New England militias against Massassoit’s son in King Philip’s War. The Mayflower Generation is an intensely human portrait of the Winslow family written with the pace of an epic. Rebecca Fraser details domestic life in the seventeenth century, the histories of brave and vocal Puritan women and the contradictions between generations as fathers and sons made the painful decisions which determined their future in America.

5.00pm The Leeds Library, Commercial Street Free. Donations welcome

Reserve your seat with ticket from:

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Headingley LitFest – Rebecca Fraser – new book Mayflower generation A talk on The Mayflower Generation an intensely human portrait of the Winslow family written with the pace of an epic. Rebecca Fraser details domestic life in the seventeenth century, the histories of brave and vocal Puritan wom...

Wednesday 14 March at HEART Centre, Bennett Road Headingley.
Richard Smyth will talk about his new book.

Partnership event with Leeds Libraries and Read Regional...
Richard Smyth is a writer, researcher and editor based in
Bradford. He is a regular contributor to Bird Watching magazine,
and reached the final of Mastermind with a specialist subject of
British birds. In A Sweet, Wild Note, Smyth asks what it is about
birdsong that we so love, exploring the myriad ways in which it
has influenced literature, music and art, our feelings about the
natural world, and our very ideas of what it means to be British.
A Guardian ‘Readers’ Choice’ Best Book of 2017

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Headingley LitFest

SCHWA - A LARK Saturday 10 March
7.30pm HEART Centre £5

In the picture - Richard Ormrod, Jacqui Wicks, Peter Spafford


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 dead poets and set them to intelligent, emotive music.

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Headingley LitFest
Includes details of all the LitFest events taking place in March and April 2018 in Leeds

This is Maud Allan in about 1917

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Headingley LitFest

The Trials of Salomé: The Maud Allan Libel Case - 7.30pm Wednesday 7 March in the historic Leeds Library, Commercial Street.

In the early part of 1918, one might have thought that the
British government and the British press had more important
matters to consider than whether a Tory MP had maligned the...
character of a Canadian dancer. The outcome of the war remained in doubt - libel was surely unimportant measured against the scale of the war effort.

But when Noel Pemberton-Billing published an excoriating review of Maud Allan’s performance as Salomé, under the heading ‘The Cult of the Clitoris’, which implied that Allan, then
appearing in her Vision of Salomé, was a lesbian associate of
German wartime conspirators, she sued Billing for libel. This very minor story became a sensation, implicating the government at the highest levels. In this public talk, Professor Ruth Robbins (Leeds Beckett) retells the story, and traces its implications

Free. Donations welcome
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Headingley LitFest – Ruth Robbins, Trial of Maud Allen (Salome) In this public talk, Professor Ruth Robbins (Leeds Beckett) retells the story of the 1918 Maud Allen case, a Canadian dancer who sued a Tory MP (Noel Pemberton-Billing) for libel. Robbins will trace its implications – some of which ...

CABARET THIRTY this year is at 7.30pm on Friday 9 March in the Shire Oak Room of the HEART Centre in Bennett Road. It's free.

Do you still love to tread the boards? Love open mic events?
If you are under thirty, or okay if you look under thirty, this
is your chance to perform. It could be poetry, or song, or...
stand-up comedy, in a group or on your own. If you think
you’ve got it, then flaunt it! At the last LitFest, there was an
astonishing range of acts for this wildly popular event.
There’s no age limit for the audience. Get in touch now to make sure you are on the list if you want to perform. Contact us on Messenger with all your details.

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Headingley LitFest

Tuesday 6 March
Hyde Park Book Club 7.30pm FREE

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.

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Headingley LitFest

Read this clear sensible article by ROBIN LUSTIG on BBC pay in the Guardian, and come to hear him speak for the LitFest on his recent memoir 'Is Anything Happening?' at the old Leeds Library in Commercial Street (next to the Co-op Bank) at 2pm Saturday afternoon 10 March.…/bbc-pay-admire-colleagues-hug…

The row over corporation salaries is actually three scandals in one: radical action is now needed

Dinner with Montalbano is (once again) SOLD OUT for Monday 5 March 2018, but do not despair because we are going to do it a second time on Monday 12 March, the following week. Phone now to book your table for this.