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Thanks for the memories

Our annual literature festival is over for another year – thank you so much to all the artists, volunteers, board members, the teams at the venues, Lancaster and Morecambe VICs and of course to our wonderful audiences.

We’re looking ahead now to our 40th festival running throughout March next year – we’re hoping to do something very special to celebrate the festival’s long and varied history! Keep your eyes peeled for updates!

In the meantime there’s still more to come from us…

  • more superb storytelling coming up next month on 24/4 – The Gods and Monsters Show’ by Pandvani108
  • the Litfest podcast remains free to download and we’ve also re-uploaded the flax series of poetry walks – why not take advantage of the coming of spring and take a walk through Lancaster’s Literary Life?
  • we’re currently in the process of rearranging Debs Newbold’s storytelling event and the snowed off launch weekend – we hope to have new dates soon and will contact all those who had previously bought tickets.
  • and finally – keep your eyes peeled for some news coming your way about the very special otter from Jackie Morris’ superb live-painting at her event on Saturday 23rd…
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Post festival Cool Down – The Gods and Monsters Show: Pandvani108

Tuesday 24th April     7pm

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


Take a trip to the underworld… 

Walk into the fire…

And don’t look back….

The stage is set for a high voltage mythological mash-up!

Combining performance storytelling, music and song, Pandvani108 turn on the epic jukebox to bring us a wild night of unbowdlerised global myth and epic, in untamed short form style. Gods, monsters, giants, warriors & divas from Greece, Ireland, the Scandinavian North, the Indian heat and far beyond, are all hauled centre stage. 

Far from sedate spoken word, this is a brash & exuberant cinema of the imagination, inspired by a 3,000 year old epic singing tradition and with more deities than you can shake a stick at. Encounter the Short Myth Massive – live and irresistibly direct! 

‘playful, powerful, dynamic…a highlight!’  BEYOND THE BORDER FESTIVAL

‘Stellar!’  SMUGGLERS FESTIVAL

‘Phenomenal’  WONDERFUL BEAST

‘seriously shit hot!’ AUDIENCE – SECRET GARDEN PARTY

Performance storytelling by  BEN HAGGARTY, EMILY HENNESSEY & MIKAEL OBÉRG

Music by  SHEEMA MUKHERJEE & JONAH BRODY

Runtime approximately 1 hr 50 mins + 15 minute interval

 

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Springfest Podcast

As part of our first Litfest Springfest, two days of the very best in nature writing,  we bring you another exclusive—Litfest 2018’s podcast!

Free to download here, come and join us on a literary walk around the streets of Lancaster. Exercise your mind along with your legs! Inés has also kindly drawn a map of the route which can be downloaded here.

Writers featured in the podcast include  Yvonne Battle-Felton, Naomi Krüger, Jess Gofton, Jo Baker, Sarah Hymas, Mike Barlow, Monica Guerrasio, Mandy Banon, Zoe Lambert, Tom Flemons (owner of the Atticus bookshop), Rebecca Bilkau, Carol Coates, Eddie Robson, Claire Dean, Andrew M. Hurley

Edinburgh, London, York, Manchester… many of these cities are known from their vibrant literary scene but, what about Lancaster? This hidden gem of the North West hosted the very first creative writing programme in the country, and this shouldn’t surprise anyone, since witchcraft, the Jacobite revolution, slavery and the mysterious tides of the river Lune have been inspiring writers for centuries. Listen to their stories when you walk around the narrow alleys of Lancaster – and discover the secrets of the city that lies between Morecambe Bay and the ancient mountains of the Lake District.

Ines

Inés G. Labarta (Madrid, 1992) is a writer, illustrator and associate lecturer in Creative Writing. Her publications include a trilogy of novels – Los Pentasónicos (Edebé 2008-2010) – and two novellas – McTavish Manor (Holland House, 2016) and Kabuki (Dairea, 2017). She’s currently doing a Creative Writing PhD at Lancaster University. She loves podcasting, hiking, and all the things weird.

The music included in the podcast is ‘Horizon Liner’ by Blue Dot Sessions

If you enjoyed our 2018 podcast why not take a look at our previous series of guided poetic walks from Flax listen here with additional map and guide below.

map inside guide[22900] guide for walks[22899]

 

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STOP PRESS: LITFEST OPENING WEEKEND POSTPONED: ARTISTS SNOWED IN!

Litfest are very sorry to announce that the artists involved in our Fantastic Beasts Launch Night and Saturday’s YA Day have ALL been snowed in by the Beast from the East! All three artists live in the North of the UK (Cumbria, Northumberland and Scotland) and, whilst the conditions in Lancaster are milder, are unable to forge through the snow to make it this far South!

As a result of this we have been forced to postpone the opening weekend of events. ‘Harry Potter’s Fantastic Beasts: an evening with Olivia Lomenech Gill’ and both events on YA Day are in the process of being rearranged for later in the year and we hope to release a new series of dates soon.

We will be contacting all those who have prebooked in the coming hours to make them aware of the postponement and to offer a refund. Again, we are very sorry to have to do this but we are at the mercy of nature and hope to still see you at the rest of the festival!!

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Dear Festival-goers, welcome to Litfest’s 2018 programme…

To download a PDF Programme click here:

2018 PDF Programme

This year we bring you a month-long programme packed with incredibly varied events!

The 2018 festival launches on a truly ‘Fantastic’ evening at Lancaster Castle’s Shire Hall. Olivia Lomenech Gill—illustrator of JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – will give us a fascinating insight into the Wizarding World. Next it’s YA Day, combining a fascinating cross-genre event with author and playwright Cathy Forde and an illuminating talk on the world of vlogging with Hannah Hodgson.

In week two we celebrate the North’s independent presses. Kevin Duffy from Bluemoose talks about the complicated process of publishing a legacy work, Comma Press brings acclaimed writers Martyn Bedford and Sean O’Brien to Lancaster for a Short Story Showcase, Heidi James reads from her new novel So The Doves and we finish on an exclusive panel of the Independent Publishers themselves, giving you a special insight into their industry.

In our third week we partner once more with Spotlight and More Music to bring you a bumper edition of this Lancaster ‘arts scene’ stalwart. The evening will feature astonishing new talent Alabaster dePlume alongside firm favourite Ian Marchant. The next day we have a truly wonderful day of poetry, featuring three independent presses— Oversteps, Beautiful Dragons and Wayleave—alongside two double bills; Kate Fox and Rhiannon Hooson, then Philip Gross and Katharine Towers.

Our final week begins with the return of Andrew Michael Hurley reading from his much anticipated second novel Devil’s Day. We continue with a new edition to our festival programme  — Litfest Springfest — a two day celebration of nature writing featuring

Jim Crumley, Kathleen Jamie, Paul Evans and Jackie Morris. We also bring you another Litfest first; a podcast literary walk around Lancaster, created by Inés G. Labarta.

Last but certainly not least, our festival finale is a family friendly storytelling event featuring Swedish troll tales in a brand new performance from festival favourite Dominic Kelly.

We look forward to seeing you in March.

Jacqueline Greaves

Chair, Litfest Board of Trustees

 

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Harry Potter’s Fantastic Beasts: An evening with Olivia Lomenech Gill

Friday 2nd March 7pm

Venue:  Shire Hall, Lancaster Castle, Castle Parade, Lancaster

Tickets: £12 Full/ £10 Concession

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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The magical worlds conjured up by J. K. Rowling have enchanted readers for over two decades. Litfest are pleased to be launching this year’s programme with a very special event with Olivia Lomenech Gill,  illustrator of the new coffee table edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  

Set in the historic Shire Hall at Lancaster Castle, this is a not-to-be-missed event for all fans of the books, films and anyone interested in illustration. Olivia will offer a behind-the-scenes insight into the creation of this extraordinary book, her life and work and some truly fantastic beasts. 

 Cosplay is welcome at this event.  

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‘There is a wildwood spirit about Olivia’s work. She seems to be in touch with an inventiveness that everyday life knocks out of most people, as we toil through adulthood. She knows it’s not easy to keep that spirit alive and, Consequently, there is a determined joy in her work, a playfulness with hidden gravity.

Animals and children are Olivia’s touchstones, all living creatures in fact, in their various landscapes. There are some imagined beasts too, but living ones triumph. Olivia calls herself ‘an untaught artist and accidental illustrator’. Perhaps that’s her secret. Her work speaks to everyone, unforced, and full of soul’. Kathleen Jamie, poet.

Olivia lives and works in Northumberland, UK. http://www.oliviagill.com/

 

 

 

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YA Day: Cathy Forde – Story to Stage

Saturday 3rd March 2pm

Venue:  The Gallery, The Dukes, Moor Lane, Lancaster, LA1 1QE

Tickets:  £6 per event or SPECIAL OFFER YA COMBO £10 for both events

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

Online here (single ticket event) or here (YA Combo ticket)

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

By phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808


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Young Adult fiction has seen a real boom in recent years and Litfest are delighted to welcome acclaimed novelist Cathy Forde to speak as part of our programme.  Known for gritty and uncompromising prose that leaves readers thinking long after the final pages of her books are finished, Cathy has also worked with National Theatre Scotland on Theatre for young people.

In this session, she will discuss her bestselling novels Fat Boy Swim and The Drowning Pond exploring the journey of adapting these from novels to the stage.  A fascinating talk that will be of interest to writers and all interested in drama.

Cathy F

Cathy Forde’s breakthrough novel, Fat Boy Swim, was shortlisted for the Booktrust Teenage Prize and Blue Peter’s ‘Book I Couldn’t Put Down.’ It won the inaugural Grampian Book Award in 2004, and in 2014 was voted their ‘Winner of Winners’.

Cathy has adapted Fat Boy Swim for the theatre, commissioned by National Theatre of Scotland. Her novels Skarrs and The Drowning Pond won Scottish Arts Council book awards, and Dead Men Don’t Talk was shortlisted for a Scottish Children’s Book Award .

Cathy is an experienced public speaker and leads many workshops in creative writing and drama. She was the virtual writer-in-residence for the Scottish Booktrust  and is mentor to young writers at Toonspeak in Glasgow. http://cathyforde.co.uk/

 

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YA Day: Hannah Hodgson: The World of vlogging

Saturday 3rd March 3:15pm

Venue: The Gallery, The Dukes, Moor Lane, Lancaster, LA1 1QE

Tickets: £6 per event or SPECIAL OFFER YA COMBO £10 for both events

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

Online here (Single event ticket) or here (YA Combo ticket)

In Person: Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres

By phone: 01524 582394/ 01524 582808


Ever wondered how to take the plunge and start a Bookish YouTube channel? Or maybe you already have, but wonder how to build up a relationship with publishers, viewers or authors themselves? In this talk and Q&A session Hannah Hodgson will be revealing everything she has learned (sometimes the hard way) to get you on your way towards starting a YouTube channel. She will be discussing everything from how to approach publishers for free books, how to manage your time when you have a serious illness or many commitments and how to get yourself out there using Twitter and other social media platforms.

Most importantly, Hannah will be talking about how to enjoy yourself in your new online diary. Her favourite thing about her channel is the fact that her viewers feel like her friends – which means that she has avoided social isolation due to her disability. There will also be a Q and A session, where you can ask Hannah anything, from why she started her channel to what editing software she uses. 

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Hannah Hodgson started her YouTube channel in June 2017. She quickly gained over 1.6k followers.

www.youtube.com/c/HannahHodgson

She reviews books and poetry collections on her channel; and also discusses her ill health to try and raise awareness of seriously unwell young people. Her first poetry pamphlet is due to be published by Wayleave Press in 2018 and she will be appearing in their showcase event ‘Wayleave presents…‘ on Saturday 17th March.

 

 

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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


naseem-khan--everywhere-is-somewhere--paperback

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.

Kevin D - photo for BLF

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/

co Stephen Morris

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.

 

PY

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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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.