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Everywhere is Somewhere: A question of legacy

Friday 9th March  7pm

Venue: Waterstones, 2-8 King Street, Lancaster, LA1 1JN

Tickets: £10/£8

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways: AVAILABLE NOW!

Online: VIC Ticketbox

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

By phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808


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Naseem Khan’s memoir Everywhere is Somewhere explores how stories from our diverse community are essential in understanding what it is to be British today.  A radical and a pioneer, Naseem was born in Birmingham to an Indian father and German mother. After studying at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, she was held as an ‘Indian spy’ whilst travelling in Pakistan during the second India-Pakistan war in 1965. She was ultimately released back into India. Naseem returned to London, and became part of the black power scene in Notting Hill, editing the Hustler magazine with contemporaries including Darcus Howe.

 Naseem sadly passed away on the 8th of June 2017.

Here her publisher Kevin Duffy talks about the process of publishing her final work, chronicling Naseem’s extraordinary life.

Naseem Khan

Naseem spent her life bringing communities together. Her books included Voices of The Crossing (2000), with Ferdinand Dennis, about the impact that writers from Asia, the Caribbean and Africa have had on Britain, and Asians in Britain (2004), providing the text to accompany photographs by Tim Smith. She also contributed to Being British: The Search for Values That Bind  the Nation (2009),  edited by Gordon Brown and Matthew D’Ancona. In 1999 she was appointed OBE.

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Kevin Duffy founded Independent Publisher Bluemoose Books in 2006 with his wife Hetha. They are based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire and believe in producing  unique, transformative works. Their books have been published in multiple countries including the United States, Australia, India, Columbia, Greenland and Iceland. Kevin can be seen and heard ranting at various universities and library events.

 

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Independent Publishing Day: Comma Press Short Story Showcase

Saturday 10th March   4pm

Venue: The Sanctuary, Lancaster Library, 18 – 20 Market Street, Lancaster LA1 1HY

Tickets: £11/£9 or SPECIAL OFFER INDEPENDENT PRESS DAY COMBO £24/£20 for three events

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways: AVAILABLE NOW!

Online here (Single ticket event) or here (Independent Publishing Day Combo)

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

By phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808


Since its beginnings as an artists’ group in 2003, Comma Press has continued to evolve into a thriving northern publishing house by embracing innovation, collaborations and digital media. Despite its diversification over the years into translation, poetry, novels and film Comma still seeks to put the short story at the heart of its focus. Here, they showcase the latest short story collections from two of their best-loved writers – M. John Harrison and Martyn Bedford. In Letters Home Martyn explores a variety of characters each  at a crossroads in their lives, and in his first collection of short fiction in over 15 years – You Should Come with Me Now: stories of ghosts – M. John Harrison pushes the boundaries of genre to bring us weird stories for weird times….

NOTE: As advertised in the Litfest programme, this event originally included Sean O’Brien. Unfortunately Sean has now withdrawn from the event but Litfest and Comma are delighted to present M. John Harrison in his place.

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M. John Harrison is regarded by many as a figurehead of modern fantasy and science fiction. He is the author of eleven novels (including In Viriconium, The Course of the Heart and Light), as well as four previous short story collections, two graphic novels, and collaborations with Jane Johnson, writing as Gabriel King. He won the Boardman Tasker Award for Climbers (1989), the James Tiptree Jr Award for Light (2002) and the Arthur C Clark Award for Nova Swing (2007). He reviews fiction for the Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement, and lives in Shropshire.

 

Martyn Bedford is the author of five novels for adults: Acts of Revision, which won the Yorkshire Post Best First Work Award, ExitOrange & RedThe Houdini GirlBlack Cat, and The Island of Lost Souls. He is also the author of three novels for young adults: Flip (shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award and winner of four awards including the Sheffield Children’s Book Award and Calderdale Book of the Year), Never Ending, and Twenty Questions for Gloria, winner of the 2017 Coventry Inspiration Book Award. He has been translated into fifteen languages. Martyn has contributed to numerous Comma anthologies and his short story collection Letters Home was published by Comma in 2017.

 

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Independent Publishing Day: Bluemoose presents…Heidi James

Saturday 10th March   5:15pm

Venue: The Sanctuary, Lancaster Library, 18 – 20 Market Street, Lancaster LA1 1HY

Tickets:  £11/£9 or SPECIAL OFFER INDEPENDENTS COMBO £24/£20 for three events

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways: AVAILABLE NOW!

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

Online here (Single ticket event) or here (Independent Publishing Day Combo)

By Phone: 01524  598500/ 01524 582808


heidi-james--so-the-doves--paperbackFounded in 2006 by Kevin and Hetha Duffy Bluemoose Books  are an independent publisher based in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire. Here they present the latest novel from acclaimed writer Heidi James…

When award-winning journalist Marcus Murray’s latest story involves a corrupt alliance between a UK bank, the arms trade and the government, it seems he has triumphed again in his quest for the truth. But he is accused of fabrication and nothing in his life makes sense any more, including the disappearance twenty years ago of his best friend, Melanie. Why did she vanish, and who is the body recently discovered in a Kent orchard? A timeless story of how love and enduring friendship shape who we are, the novel exposes the fault lines in our own reality and who and what we believe to be true, including ourselves…

Heidi So the dovesHeidi James is a writer and academic. She was born in the Medway Towns, Kent; moving to London when she was 17. She has a PhD in English Literature (despite not having A’ Levels nor an undergraduate degree) and lectures in English Literature and Creative Writing. Bluemoose Books published her second novel Wounding in 2014. Heidi was a finalist in the Cinnamon Poetry Collection Prize and her novella The Mesmerist’s Daughter won the Saboteur Award. Her essays, poetry and short stories have appeared in various publications and anthologies including Dazed and Confused, Next Level, Flux, Brand, Mslexia, Another Magazine, Undercurrent, 3:AM London, New York, Paris, Dreams That Money Can Buy, Neon, Pulp.net etc. Her latest novel So The Doves was a Sunday Times Crime Book of The Month.

 

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Independent Publishing Day: The Northern Fiction Alliance

Saturday 10th March   6:15pm

Venue: The Sanctuary, Lancaster Library, 18 – 20 Market Street, Lancaster LA1 1HY

Tickets:  £11/£9 or SPECIAL OFFER INDEPENDENTS COMBO £24/£20 for three events

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways: AVAILABLE NOW!

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

Online here (Single ticket event) or here (Independent Publishing Day Combo)

By Phone: 01524  598500/ 01524 582808


Litfest are delighted to present an exclusive panel of industry  experts with a special northern perspective. Representing four members of the Northern Fiction Alliance Rebecca Parkinson from Comma Press, Kevin Duffy from Bluemoose Books and Nathan Connolly from Dead Ink gather together to give you a unique insight into the rapidly changing  world of independent publishing.  

Unfortunately the representative from Saraband is no longer able to attend due to a bereavement.

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Comma Press are a not-for-profit publishing initiative based in Manchester dedicated to promoting new writing, with an emphasis on the short story. It is committed to a spirit of risk-taking and challenging publishing, free of the commercial pressures on mainstream houses. In April 2012, Comma became one of the Arts Council’s new National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs). http://commapress.co.uk/

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Bluemoose Books are an independent publisher based in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire. They were founded in 2006 by husband and wife team Kevin and Hetha Duffy as a reaction to the rise in ‘celebrity books’ flooding the market. They believe stories are transformative and delight in finding new talent. Through innovative marketing they have continue to bring their prize-winning books to an international audience. https://bluemoosebooks.com/

 

Dead ink

Dead Ink are an independent press based in Liverpool. They believe that there are brilliant authors out there who may not yet be known or commercially viable. They see it as Dead Ink’s job to bring the most challenging and experimental new writing out from the underground and present it to their audience in the most beautiful way possible. Their readers form an integral part of their team. You don’t  simply buy a Dead Ink book, you invest in the authors and the books you love. Their books have three times made the shortlist for The Saboteur Awards, the longlists for both The Guardian’s First Book Award and Not the Booker Prize, and the longlist for the Edge Hill Short Story Award. https://deadinkbooks.com/

Saraband

Saraband are a creative independent publisher based in Salford striving to offer their readers something a little bit different. They love to read books that are imaginative, sometimes offbeat, always original, and are committed to working with the writers and designers who inspire them  and thus, hopefully, their readers. They work in three main areas fiction, non-fiction and digital publishing. https://saraband.net/

 

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Spotlight featuring Alabaster dePlume

Friday 16th March 7pm

Venue:  The MusIc Room, The Storey, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster LA1 1TH

Tickets:  £5/£3

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways: AVAILABLE NOW!

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

Online: VIC Ticketbox

By Phone: 01524  598500/ 01524 582808


In a specially extended edition of this long-running Lancaster staple, Spotlight presents a  highly varied line-up. Alongside saxophonist and spoken word artist Alabaster dePlume   Spotlight will also feature prolific writer Ian Marchant with an extract from his recent book    A Hero For High Times. There will also be poetry from invited guests, music from Mollie Baxter & Chris Hargreaves and an Open Mic.

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Based in underground East London’s Total Refreshment Centre, saxophonist and spoken word artist Alabaster creates a new band each month in his development residency Peach. PRSF has funded his forthcoming 4th LP The Corner of a Sphere, following recent performances for BBC Radio 3, National Theatre and clubs festivals and theatres around UK. His ruthlessly creative approach to experimental pop music delivers eastern-influenced anthems, under spoken elements that attempt to challenge and address divisive rhetoric recently prevalent in society. Ahead of an LP release in early 2018, the show is described in the Guardian as a reminder of how vital and adventurous music can be.

Ian Marchant[18843]

Born a week before Elvis joined the Army, Ian Marchant is originally from Newhaven in East Sussex, and now lives in Radnorshire. Before taking up writing books, he sang in various unimaginably obscure bands, wrote up the results of horse races in bookmakers’ shops and ran a large second-hand bookshop on the Charing Cross Road. He has published seven books, including two acclaimed memoir/travel books for Bloomsbury, ‘Parallel Lines’ and ‘The Longest Crawl’, which were each selected by Nicholas Lezard as his paperback of the week in The Guardian. ‘The Longest Crawl’ was book of the month for September 2007 in both ‘The Sunday Sport’ and ‘The Church of England Newspaper’, a hitherto undreamt of critical double. His most recent book was published by Jonathan Cape in January 2018. ‘A Hero for High Times’, is the story of the hippies for those who weren’t there. It’s for Younger Readers who want to know how to build a bender, make poppy tea, and throw the I-Ching…

 

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Poetry Day: Oversteps Press presents… Alwyn Marriage and Rebecca Bilkau

Saturday 17th March 12:30pm

Venue: The Sanctuary, Lancaster Library, 18 – 20 Market Street, Lancaster LA1 1HY

Tickets: £10/£8 or SPECIAL OFFER POETRY DAY COMBO £35/£30 for five events

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways: AVAILABLE NOW!

Online here (Single event ticket) and here (Poetry Day Combo)

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

By phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808


We are delighted to open our poetry day this year with two poets from Oversteps Press—Alwyn Marriage and Rebecca Bilkau. Both of these poets have a widely varied background in poetry and bring all their experience to bear in their latest collections…

Alwyn

Alwyn Marriage’s ten books include poetry, non-fiction and a novel. She is widely represented in magazines, anthologies and on-line, and givesreadings all over the world. Formerly a university philosophy lecturer, Director of two international NGOs and Rockefeller Scholar, she’s currently Managing Editor of Oversteps Books and research fellow at Surrey University.

www.marriages.me.uk/alwyn

 

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Rebecca Bilkau was born in the northwest of England, educated in London, Oxford and Lancaster. She worked in advertising and the media in the big smoke before turning peacenik going to Northern Ireland. Better late than never she married a German and now lives in Lower Saxony. The work in her first Oversteps collection, Weather Notes is defined by Graham Mort as poetry of ‘great formal beauty and musicality’ Neil Fulwood describes the poetry in her Wayleave pamphlet Sending for New Omens as ’empathetic and sensitive’ takes on old tales and hardscrabble lives in her adopted country. Her new Oversteps collection, Instructions for a quiet life launches here at Litfest, and we leave it to you to decide how to categorise it. Rebecca is also founder and collator of Beautiful Dragons Collaborations, an entirely quixotic anthology outfit. www.beautifuldragons.net

 

Based in South Devon, Oversteps Books publishes work by poets from all over Britain and sometimes from abroad. The rigorous selection process and careful editing and design, result in high quality finished books that are a delight to read; so it is not surprising that so many of our best contemporary poets want to be published by Oversteps Books. www.overstepsbooks.com

 

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Poetry Day: Beautiful Dragons Press presents…Noble Dissent – Fall to Grace

Saturday 17th March  1:15pm

Venue: The Sanctuary, Lancaster Library, 18 – 20 Market Street, Lancaster LA1 1HY

Tickets: £10/£8 or SPECIAL OFFER POETRY DAY COMBO £35/£30 for five events

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways: AVAILABLE NOW!

Online here (Single event ticket) and here (Poetry Day Combo)

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

By phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808


For our second event of Poetry day Litfest are delighted to welcome back Beautiful Dragons Press for the launch of their latest unique collaborative anthology  — Noble Dissent.  Featuring 72 poets from across the world this anthology celebrates  standing your ground and advocating for change. Sadly we cannot have all 72 poets here on the day but come and here some of them pull out the soap boxes and blow their whistles…

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From some perspectives, recent times aren’t so terribly different from the past. From others, there’s little alternative to getting hot and bothered. The collateral ranting and

raging are not new. Such caterwauling has kept the jalopy of state on the straight and narrow. It is called dissent. It is noble.

Because it is precisely the tub-thumpers, treatise writers, freedom fighters and those willing to die for the human rights who show our species at its finest and most creative. What can be more creative than imagining liberty when all hope is gone?

Why not, then, take some of those stalwart souls as a guide, jump on their bandwagons and holler for our own time? It might be one way of safely and usefully defusing some heat.

It was with this idea in mind that Noble Dissent was launched. Poets were invited to pick a Dissenter and make them their own. Espouse old causes. Read new ones through them. Or just contemplate on past impacts. Brilliantly, it transpired that inspiration crossed era, age, race and gender boundaries. Unsurprisingly the least free movers and shakers from the past touched the most modern and free of spirits writing for this anthology. It is these brilliant and unique responses we celebrate today…

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Beautiful Dragons are an entirely collaborative, not-for-profit poetry press where the dragons of invention meet the fires of association and magic occurs — or something very close. Previous publications include: Not A Drop, My Dear Watson: the Very Elements in Poetry, A Bee’s Breakfast and Heavenly Bodies. www.beautifuldragons.net

 

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Poetry Day: Kate Fox and Rhiannon Hooson

Saturday 17th March  2:45pm

Venue: The Sanctuary, Lancaster Library, 18 – 20 Market Street, Lancaster LA1 1HY

Tickets: £10/£8 or SPECIAL OFFER POETRY DAY COMBO £35/£30 for five events

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways: AVAILABLE NOW!

Online here (Single event ticket) and here (Poetry Day Combo)

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

By phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808


For our third Poetry Day event Litfest are delighted to present two rising stars of the poetry world. Both Rhiannon and Kate will reimagine the world from their unique perspectives. Drawing on a strong connection to their homelands of Wales and ‘The North’ the familiar grows strange when mixed with a liberal dose of Greek myth, Lake District floods, Glastonbury festival and the Great North run. Join us for a pair of truly memorable readings!

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Rhiannon Hooson is an award-winning Welsh poet, now based in the Marches after time spent living and working in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. She has performed her work at literature festivals and venues across Europe and the UK, including London, Milan and the Hay festival, and been featured in the Guardian, Magma, and Poetry Wales among others. She has won major accolades for her work, including an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. She studied and later taught at Lancaster University, where she completed a PhD in Poetry.  Her first collection,The Other City, was shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year, and was described by the judges as “Stunning… at a pitch of achievement many of us will not reach across a career.” www.rhiannonhooson.com

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Kate Fox has made a living as a stand-up poet for ten years. Being funny and Northern is sometimes a help and sometimes a hindrance and she’s nearly finished a PhD about why (It’s also about class, gender and Northern humour). Sometimes they let her on Radio 4. Her second Radio 4 comedy series aired last summer. In the shows she talked about why she doesn’t want: children, a big white wedding, to be middle class or have a Hollywood body! She is one of the 17 poets for the BBC/Hull 2017 Contains Strong Language Poetry Festival. Her books include Chronotopia from Burning Eye Books and Fox Populi from Smokestack Books. She has been poet in residence for the Great North Run, Saturday Live on Radio 4 and the Glastonbury Festival. www.katefoxwriter.wordpress.com/

 

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Poetry Day: Philip Gross and Katharine Towers

Saturday 17th March  4pm

Venue: The Sanctuary, Lancaster Library, 18 – 20 Market Street, Lancaster LA1 1HY

Tickets: £10/£8 or SPECIAL OFFER POETRY DAY COMBO £35/£30 for five events

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways: AVAILABLE NOW!

Online here (Single event ticket) and here (Poetry Day Combo)

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

By phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808


For our penultimate Poetry Day event Litfest brings you two poets seeking to explore humanity’s connection to the world. Katharine Towers’ TS Eliot Prize shortlisted second collection The Remedies delves into our complex relationship with nature. Whilst Philip Gross’ latest collection A Bright Acoustic breaches the echoing void between language and the world and gives voice to the numerous voices he finds there.

KATHARINE TOWERS

Katharine Towers has published two poetry collections with Picador. The Floating Man (2010) won the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize and was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award and the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. Her latest collection The Remedies (2016) was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. Katharine studied Modern Languages and went on to complete an MA in Poetry at Newcastle University. She lives in the Peak District with her husband and two daughters. She also teaches poetry, running Poetry Surgeries for the Poetry Society and workshops at festivals. http://www.katharinetowers.com/

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Philip Gross is a poet, librettist and writer for children. He won the T.S.Eliot Prize 2009 with The Water Table, and Wales Book of The Year 2010 with I Spy Pinhole EyeDeep Field dealt with his Estonian refugee father’s final years and loss of language, an exploration into our place in the world broadened steadily through later collections, most recently A Bright Acoustic (2017). Recently liberated from 25 years of academic life, he is an insatiable collaborator across art forms, e.g. with artist Valerie Coffin Price on A Fold In The River, and with composer Benjamin Frank Vaughan on The King in the Car Park, a cantata about the re-discovery of Richard III, performed in Leicester Cathedral.

www.philipgross.co.uk  

 

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Poetry Day: Wayleave Press presents… Pauline Yarwood, Hannah Hodgson and Michael Bartholomew-Biggs

Saturday 17th March  5:15pm

Venue: The Sanctuary, Lancaster Library, 18 – 20 Market Street, Lancaster LA1 1HY

Tickets: £10/£8 or SPECIAL OFFER POETRY DAY COMBO £35/£30 for five events

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways: AVAILABLE NOW!

Online here (Single event ticket) and here (Poetry Day Combo)

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

By phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808


We conclude a bumper day of poetry with the welcome return of Wayleave Press, a small independent publisher of poetry pamphlets based in Lancaster founded by Mike Barlow in 2014. This final reading will showcase three of their poets, two with recent pamphlets and one forthcoming.

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Hannah Hodgson is a young poet who has been published in Poetry Salzburg and Under the Radar magazine, won several young poets competitions and been poet in residence at Lakes Alive and Kendal Poetry festivals. She suffers from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and has a YouTube channel where she talks about her illness and reviews books and poetry collections (www.youtube.com/c/HannahHodgson) Her first poetry pamphlet is due to be published by Wayleave Press in 2018. It draws on her own illness and disability in an explicit and  courageous way, with direct and artful poems that beg questions about the relationship between personal identity, the physical body and our place in the world.

MBB

Michael Bartholomew-Biggs is a semi-retired mathematician but still-functioning poet living in London where he is poetry editor of the on-line magazine London Grip and has for many years been co-organiser, with Nancy Mattson, of the Islington reading series, Poetry in the Crypt. See also http://mikeb-b.blogspot.co.uk/. He has three full collections, the most recent being Fred & Blossom (Shoestring Press), a story of romance and aviation set in the 1930s. His fifth pamphlet collection is The Man Who Wasn’t Ever Here (Wayleave 2017) an imaginative exploration of his Irish roots through a sequence of poems about an Irish grandfather, taking in both personal reflection and the wider sweep of history.

 

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Pauline Yarwood is a poet and ceramic artist living in Cumbria.  Her poems have appeared in The North, The Interpreter’s House and Fire Crane.   In 2013 she was mentored by Judy Brown at the Wordsworth Trust. Co-director of the Kendal Poetry Festival, and a member of Kendal Brewery Poets, her first pamphlet is Image Junkie  (Wayleave 2017), work “It reminds me of what poetry can do when it’s confident enough to know some, but not all, of where it’s going, and not to try too hard.” Alex Josephy

 

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Andrew Michael Hurley: Devil’s Day

Thursday 22nd March 7:30pm

Venue: The Storey Auditorium, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster LA1 1TH

Tickets:  £12/£10

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways: AVAILABLE NOW!

Online: VIC Ticketbox

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

By phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808


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To begin our final week of this year’s festival we are delighted to welcome back Costa Prize winner Andrew Michael Hurley reading from his fantastic second novel—Devil’s Day

In the wink of an eye, as quick as a flea,

The Devil he jumped from me to thee.

And only when the Devil had gone,

Did I know that he and I’d been one . . . 

Every autumn, John Pentecost returns to the farm where he grew up to help gather the sheep down from the moors for the winter. Very little changes in the Endlands, but this year, his grandfather – the Gaffer – has died and John’s new wife, Katherine, is accompanying him for the first time. 

Each year, the Gaffer would redraw the boundary lines of the village, with pen and paper, but also through the remembrance of tales and timeless communal rituals, which keep the sheep safe from the Devil. But as the farmers of the Endlands bury the Gaffer, and prepare to gather the sheep, they begin to wonder whether they’ve let the Devil in after all . . .

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Andrew Michael Hurley’s first novel, The Loney, was originally published in 2014 by Tartarus Press and then John Murray a year later, after which it won the 2015 Costa ‘First Novel’ award and the 2016 British Book Industry awards for ‘Debut Novel’ and ‘Book of the Year.’ His second novel, Devil’s Day, was published in October 2017 and was listed as one of the books of the year in The Times, Financial Times and the Mail on Sunday. His shortfiction has appeared in Granta, The Best British Short Stories,The Spectator and in the English Heritage anthology, Eight Ghosts. The author lives in Lancashire with his family and teaches Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Writing School.

 

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Springfest: Kathleen Jamie

Friday 23rd March     7pm

Venue: Friends Meeting House, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster LA1 1TX

Tickets:  £12/£10 OR SPECIAL OFFER SPRINGFEST COMBOS

                 £20/£16 for two events £36/£32 for four events

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways: AVAILABLE NOW!

Online here (Single event ticket) or here (Springfest Combo tickets)

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

By phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808


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We begin our Springfest weekend with  a double bill with a distinctly Scottish flavour…

First we have award-winning poet and essayist Kathleen  Jamie, possessing  a poet’s eye and a naturalist’s affinity for the wold places of the world . Whether she is following the call of a peregrine in the hills above her home in Fife, sailing into a dark winter solstice on the Orkney islands, or pacing around the carcass of a whale on a rain-swept Hebridean beach, she creates a subtle and modern narrative, peculiarly alive to her connections and surroundings.

KJ

Kathleen Jamie was born in the west of Scotland in 1962. She is a poet and essayist. Her poetry collections to date include The Overhaul, (2012) which won the 2012 Costa Poetry Prize, and The Tree House which won the Forward prize. Her non-fiction includes the highly regarded books Findings and  Sightlines, both regarded as important contributions to the ‘new nature writing’. Her most recent poetry collection The Bonniest Companie appeared in 2015, and won the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award. Kathleen is Chair of Poetry at Stirling University (part-time). She lives in Fife.

www.kathleenjamie.com

 

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Springfest: Jim Crumley

Friday 23rd March     8:15pm

Venue: Friends Meeting House, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster LA1 1TX

Tickets:  £12/£10 OR SPECIAL OFFER SPRINGFEST COMBOS

                 £20/£16 for two events £36/£32 for four events

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways: AVAILABLE NOW!

Online here (Single event ticket) or here (Springfest Combo tickets)

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

By phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808


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In the second half of our Scottish double bill we welcome prolific nature writer Jim Crumley.  The author of the much loved (and recently reprinted!) The Company of Swans has led a long and varied career including journalism, Radio and TV work. But throughout he continues to delight his readers with many new publications. The latest of these is the second in his seasons quartet—The Nature of Winter.

 

 

 

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As a Scottish nature writer, journalist and poet, Jim Crumley is a passionate advocate for wildlife and wild places. He has written more than thirty books and is a newspaper and magazine columnist, and an occasional contributor to BBC radio and television.

He is currently working on two series of books. One is a series of short wildlife monographs entitled Encounters in the Wild, with volumes on Barn Owl, Fox, Hare, Swan, Badger, Skylark, and most recently, Kingfisher and Otter. The other is a quartet of the seasons which began with The Nature of Autumn (2016) and The Nature of Winter (2017).

Jim has also written books on the reintroduction of beavers and sea eagles into Scotland, wolves, Scotland’s native forest, and whales.

 

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Springfest: Paul Evans

Saturday 24th March     7pm

Venue: Waterstones,  2-8 King Street, Lancaster, LA1 1JN

Tickets:  £12/£10 OR SPECIAL OFFER SPRINGFEST COMBOS

                 £20/£16 for two events £36/£32 for four events

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways: AVAILABLE NOW!

Online here (Single event ticket) or here (Springfest Combo tickets)

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

By phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808

Field notes

In Field Notes from the Edge, the acclaimed writer of the Guardian’s ‘Country Diary’, Paul Evans, takes us on a journey through the in-between spaces of Nature – such as strandlines, mudflats, cliff tops and caves – where one wilderness is on the verge of becoming another and all things are possible. Here, Evans searches out wildlife and plants to reveal a Nature that is inspiring yet intimidating; miraculous yet mundane; part sacred space, part wasteland. It is here that we tread the edge between a fear of Nature’s dangers and a love of Nature’s beauty. Combining a naturalist’s eye for observation with a poet’s ear for the lyrical, Field Notes from the Edge confirms Paul Evans’s place among our leading nature writers today.

Dr Paul Evans

Best known as an author of The Guardian’s Country Diary column, Paul Evans is a naturalist, university lecturer, broadcaster of natural-history documentaries and award-winning dramas for Radio 4 and performance poet. He’s already acclaimed as one of Britain’s leading nature writers – the ‘John Clare of his generation’.

 

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Springfest: Jackie Morris – The Lost Words

Saturday 24th March     8:15pm

Venue: Waterstones,  2-8 King Street, Lancaster, LA1 1JN

Tickets: £12/£10 OR SPECIAL OFFER SPRINGFEST COMBOS

                 £20/£16 for two events £36/£32 for four events

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways: AVAILABLE NOW!

Online here (Single event ticket) or here (Springfest Combo tickets)

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

By phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808


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Much-loved and award winning illustrator Jackie Morris will talk about her latest book The Lost Words.  Inspired by the words that were dropped from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.  Jackie’s response was the creation of a large format, illustrated book of spells based around these words.  Jackie will talk about the inspiration behind the idea for The Lost Words, the process of collaborating with author Robert MacFarlane and give a glimpse into the creation of a book that speaks with eloquence and lyricism about our relationship with both landscape and language.  

 

Jackie-Morris

Jackie Morris is an internationally best-selling author and illustrator who lives in a small cottage on the Pembrokeshire coast. Originally from Birmingham, Jackie visited Pembrokeshire over 20 years ago for the weekend and never left. She shares her home with her two children, her beloved cats, and two dogs.

She was inspired to draw from a very early age but was discouraged from attempting to make a living as an illustrator. She went on to work for The Guardian, Greenpeace, Amnesty   International and Radio Times  amongst others. Then fell into children’s books quite by accident.

Jackie’s work is informed by her deep love of nature, exploring the worlds of bears, cats, birds and whales. She combines these explorations with her dreamlike vision in which all of her work is immersed.

Below relive the moment that Jackie conjured an otter for us at Waterstones King St.

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The Invisibility Hat – Dominic Kelly

Sunday 25th March 3pm

Venue: The Storey Auditorium

Tickets: £10 full/£7.50 concession/£5 child (11 and under)

                SPECIAL FAMILY TICKET DEAL £25 (two adults, two children)

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways: AVAILABLE NOW!

Online: VIC Ticketbox

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

By phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808


invisibilityhat_title_a5[16853]The Swedish forests are filled with the strangest things… and most of them are trolls!

When a brother and sister find an extraordinary hat, they are plunged into these creatures’ world and things quickly spin out of control. Could a moment’s kindness save them before it’s too late?

Join Dominic on a storytelling journey into the vast northern forests: through mystery, suspense and a great deal of fun. On the way you’ll gain invaluable knowledge: what to do should you ever come face to face with a troll…

Most suitable for ages 7 and over

Runtime approximately: 1 hour

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Dominic’s dynamic, warm storytelling style has captivated school, festival and theatre audiences in 15 countries on 3 continents. He has lived in Scandinavia for six years, teaching storytelling at Sweden’s Royal College of Music and directing storytelling performances for Norway’s national stage for folk arts. Dominic personally translated from Swedish the legends on which the show is based.

 

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The Devil’s Violin: Stolen

Saturday 11th November 7:30pm

Venue: The Storey

Running time: 1 hour 20 minutes + interval

Tickets: £12/£10

Tickets now available!

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways:

Online: VIC Ticketbox

By Phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

No guards met him at the palace.

He made his way through a great pair of gates.

Through chambers that echoed with his footsteps.

He came to a hall thick with fog – was that a statue?

No, not a statue but the King himself.

The King of this country, as still and grey

as the stone his throne was made from.

 

Daniel Morden transports you to the Land of No Return, his storytelling served by the hypnotic string accompaniment of Sarah Moody and Oliver Wilson-Dickson.

The ensemble will take you on an epic journey, through a dreamlike land where you will encounter a king turned to stone, an old woman living in the claw of a giant cockerel and a glass man filled with wasps.

The essence of all cinema, theatre and literature is a gripping tale well told. By weaving traditional stories into an epic narrative the Devil’s Violin return us to that essence. This is a tale of lost loves, bravery, and above all else, hope.

 

Suitable for ages 10 +

 

“A scintillating combination of music, sound and story”

The Times

 

“You could hear a pin drop¦ like the air was all onstage with them. The music is divine.”

Bristol Old Vic

 

“We hear stories within stories, like Chinese boxes, laced with tears and laughter. The paradox is that these magical tales are really our humdrum lives, wrapped in imagination and mystery”

Avril Silk

 

Visit www.thedevilsviolin.co.uk for more information

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Adverse Camber: Dreaming the Night Field

Saturday 23rd September 7:30pm

Venue: The Storey Auditorium, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster, Lancashire, England, LA1 1TH
Tickets: £12/£10 

Tickets can be purchased in a variety of ways:

Online: VIC Ticketbox

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

By phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808

Following last year’s hugely popular performance of ‘Fire in the North Sky’ , Adverse Camber and Lifest have partnered once again to bring the acclaimed touring storytelling production ‘Dreaming the Night Field’ to Lancaster.

Immerse yourself in glorious living landscapes and the brilliant night sky to discover a world that’s bristling with life, filled with animals, people and constellations caught between creation and destruction.

Gwydion, nephew to the King, a magician and master storyteller, provokes a war between North and South Wales and unleashes a chaos of consequences. Blodeuwedd, an intoxicatingly beautiful woman conjured from flowers, is torn between desire and duty, with fateful results.

Honour, justice, magic and transformation collide in a story as relevant today as it ever was, where people seek to spin, manipulate and control, and nature reveals its deep power.

By turns, thrilling, funny, powerful and poetic, this spellbinding new performance vividly evokes the ancient Celtic legend of the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogion.

Brought to you by Adverse Camber productions and the creative team behind the much loved Hunting the Giant’s Daughter, Dreaming the Night Field features one of Wales’ most engaging storytellers alongside exquisitely haunting live music. English and Welsh are artfully woven together to make these ancient voices and living landscapes come alive in an exhilarating performance.

This performance will include an interval and refreshments will be available from The Printroom

“The highlight of the festival was an incredible epic telling of the fourth branch of the Mabinogion… they received a standing ovation, which was well deserved.”

Wales Arts Review
Michael Harvey
StorytellerLynne Denman
SingerStacey Blythe
Composer/MusicianPaula Crutchlow
DirectorSophia Clist
DesignerNaomi Wilds
Producer

Sandra Bendelow 
Tamar Eluned Williams
Associate Producers, Wales

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Graham Mort: Black Shiver Moss

Black Shiver Moss

Friday 25th August 7:30pm

Venue: Waterstones, King Street, Lancaster, Lancashire, LA1
Tickets: Free – just come along on the day!

Come along for a wonderful evening of poetry celebrating the release of Graham Mort’s tenth poetry collection! The event will be introduced by local poet Mike Barlow, running until about 9pm and will include a reading, Q&A and book signing.

Graham Mort writes beautifully about North Yorkshire, but the poems in his tenth collection, Black Shiver Moss, published by Seren, include pieces about landscapes and peoples as distant as South Africa and as close as Europe. New places are made intimate and familiar by Mort’s vivid descriptions and evocations. Here is a traveller who has taken his destinations to heart, reproducing their weathers and textures with a startling exactitude and intensity. When he writes of his northern home counties, particularly in the long poem, ‘Aphasia’, the tone is full of warmth and a kind of yearning, not just for a personal past but for historical human movement – those who migrated over centuries to farm and mine and work the cotton belt factories, bringing their languages with them. Here is a poet of deep feeling who eschews sentimentality for shrewd observation. His muscular language has a Heaney-esque deftness and heft, yet reaches beyond the physical to register the frailty and brevity of human existence.

A poet who loves nature, particularly in the liminal states of dawn and dusk, Mort move us beyond the visible, towards spiritual and philosophical concerns. His animals are common livestock: cows in muddy, frost-struck fields, spotted woodpeckers, earthworms, swallows, ‘rising on wing-flickers’, and a marvellously otiose pig called ‘Winston’. Mort, like Hardy, is a laureate of all weathers, vividly describing the fells’ ‘cheesecloth mists’, rain ‘that hissed like steak or fish in the skillet’, the ‘haze of dust and heat-wavering roads’ of South Africa.

We are also introduced to the occasional human character, like the pigeon keeper who we meet as he ‘walks through a cloud of blue moths – one for each apostle’. The figure of the walker, migrant or traveller, the human who moves through the landscape and both rejoices and suffers from what he discovers, is central to Mort’s poetic project.

What impresses in Black Shiver Moss is how Graham Mort manages to create and sustain a darkly magnificent tone, reminiscent of Beethoven’s late quartets, of Shakespeare’s tragedies, of classical landscape painting, a tone suffused with seriousness and mortality. It is an audacious risk and the resulting triumph is one that the author has earned through rigorous technique steadily applied to a native gift over many years. Discriminating readers will be delighted.

Mike Barlow has won a number of competitions, including the 2004 Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition and the 2006 National Poetry Competition. He has published three full collections and a number of pamphlets and currently runs Wayleave Press, a small pamphlet publishing venture.

 

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Welcome to the 38th Lancaster Literature Festival 3rd-26th March 2017!

Hello festival-goers and welcome to the Litfest 2017 programme!

This year we bring you a fabulously varied programme of events throughout March as we wave good-bye to the Winter and welcome the Spring. This year Litfest has enjoyed the support of many friends and supporters and we welcome April Poets and Spotlight into this year’s festival offer.

Our first weekend gets us going with a fantastic Doctor Who-flavoured event with Eddie Robson and Paul Magrs at the Shire Hall. The following day we bring you Louise Gornall and Liz Flannagan, nominated for the Lancashire Book of the Year, hosted by Chris Moore, who will also lead a ‘book blogging’ workshop in the afternoon.

Working with our friends at The Dukes, More Music and Lancaster Arts at Lancaster University we are excited to bring you “Beyond the Water’s Edge”, a poetic telling of stories from around the world; the hugely-popular Jackie Kay; an evening with the International Man Booker Prize and the amazing Sarah Howe. We bring more poetic delights in our full-day poetry event, which will include Polly Atkin, Philip Burton, Gill Lambert, Kim Moore, Hannah Lowe and Patience Agbabi.

This year we are also including opportunities for you to come and read at The Gregson Centre. Writers young and old have been invited to read their work in public, in some cases for the very first time!

And finally we welcome back Litfest favourites Jo Baker and Jacqueline Harris. Jo will look at the current popularity of Jane Austen and her influence on new writing, using her own ‘Longbourn’ as an example. Jacqueline will hold us spellbound with a collection of tales with a Nordic flavour, accompanied by the outstanding cellist Maja Bugge and the beautiful artwork of Jackie Morris.

We hope you will enjoy our offering and we look forward to welcoming you to as many events as possible. And if you enjoy the festival, perhaps you would like to volunteer to help us to continue in our mission to bring the very best of well-known and emerging talent to Lancaster audiences. Check out our     website for details or talk to us at the events.

Tickets will be available soon – but why not click the link below and start planning what events you wish to attend!

Litfest 2017 PDF Programme

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Litfest Needs You!

Looking ahead to our next festival, Litfest are seeking new volunteers and board members! If you are interested in any of the roles detailed below please email marketing@litfest.org to find out more!
Our volunteering programme is largely focused around our annual festival in March, but volunteers are also needed to assist with events throughout the year. There are a variety of roles available ranging from leafleting to assisting with stewarding events, running the bookstall or box office and assisting the artists. There are also opportunities in helping with social media promotion, blogging and event photography (if you have your own camera)!

We are also seeking new board members. We are a board-run organisation and as such we handle the majority of tasks ourselves with support from our finance officer. This includes marketing, funding bids, project management, the commissioning of events etc. In this call out we are particularly looking for people with business, legal or marketing expertise but welcome all applications! Previous arts experience is not a requirement but an interest in and appreciation for Literature is essential! If you are not certain that you have the time available to join the board full time but still would like to help please email marketing@litfest.org as we are also eager to develop a database of potential consultants.

Finally we are seeking Digital Advisors, people with IT experience who would be eager to help us embrace the potential applications of digital media to the world of Literature!

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Write for Who You Were – Short Story Competition

Litfest are delighted to announce their latest project in association with Arts Council England, a free to enter short story competition for young people aged 9 – 16!

When you were young, did you ever feel that the stories you would have liked to read just weren’t out there?  Would you like the chance to write the story you wanted to read but couldn’t find? Following from the BBC’s National Short Story Awards, Litfest is celebrating young talent in Lancashire and Cumbria with its own short-story competition!

Litfest invites 9 – 16 year olds to write a story for their ‘younger selves’ – or for an audience of people younger than you.  A small cash prize will be awarded to the best in each of the two categories; 9 – 12 years and 13 – 16 years, judged by Anne Fine, author of the ever-popular “Madame Doubtfire”.

Watch out for free writing workshops near you!

Deadline: Friday 18th November

2,000 words maximum.

Please Click the link here to download a competition-entry-form3476