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Talking About Birds – Competition Winner!

At Litfest 2021 we were thrilled to be joined by two writers who both have had a lifelong fascination with birds – Sheffield University professor Tim Birkhead and prize-winning poet Paul Farley at the Talking About Birds event, which began with a short RSPB film from local nature reserve Leighton Moss, introduced by visitor experience manager Jon Carter.  As part of this event, we held a competition to identify the nine birds in the film, and we are delighted to announce that the winner is…

Judith Young!

Congratulations, Judith!

If you missed the event, you can catch up on our Youtube channel for thirty days after the event was first broadcast.

We also held another competition alongside this event, which is still running until Thursday 22nd April.  If you’re a young birdwatcher (aged 11-16) then see below for more details!

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Still time to join the Litfest Big Read!

The 2021 festival may be over, but there’s still plenty to keep us occupied here at Litfest HQ!  And there are still lots of ways you can get involved.

One of our most exciting projects is The Litfest Big Read, our flagship project for Litfest 2021.  In our opening weekend we were thrilled to be joined by A.M. Dassu and Matt Haig, whose books Boy, Everywhere and The Midnight Library were the chosen books for the Big Read.  You can watch their Litfest events (and the rest of the 2021 festival) on our Youtube channel — all events will be online for 30 days after their initial broadcast.

As part of the Litfest Big Read, we are encouraging people of all ages to sign up to read one of the two books, so that we can all share the experience of reading as a community whilst physically distanced.  Although the festival has passed, you’re still welcome to sign up, and be in with a chance of winning a free pass to three Litfest events in the next 12 months and your choice of three paperback books.

As part of the Litfest Big Read, we’d also love to see you over at the #LitfestBigBookShare and #LitfestBigPostcardShare tags on social media:

  • Join The Litfest Big Book Share (for 11-15 year-olds) and send us a creative interpretation of your favourite book on any social media platform  #TheLitfestBigBookShare
  • Join The Litfest Big Postcard Share (for 15+ year-olds) and send us a postcard telling us about your favourite book.  You can send your postcard to the Litfest office, or take a photo and post it on social media  #TheLitfestBigPostcardShare

So don’t hang about — sign up, get involved and help us share the Litfest love across Lancashire and beyond!

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A.C. Grayling: Five Key Questions about Democracy

Litfest are delighted to announce some very special bonus material for Litfest 2021!

Democracy has never been more at issue – what it is, how it should function what it should aim to do, why it seems to be struggling…  In a brand new series of five short videos. A. C. Grayling, Principal of the New College of the Humanities at Northeastern University, London, asks key questions about democracy in the world today, its current shortcomings, why it seems to be struggling and suggests a set of possible solutions.

The video series, ‘Five Key Questions about Democracy’, is based on his book The Good State (available from the Litfest Online Bookshop). One video will be uploaded to our YouTube channel each day this week (22nd-26th March 2021)!

View the Videos

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Litfest 2021 — Closing Comments

I would just like to thank everyone who has joined us as we have sailed in and out of different literary worlds over the past 10 days.

At Litfest our ambition is to provide access to and the opportunity to engage with the best in contemporary literature, illustration and ideas. And even though this year has been so very different in the way we have delivered the festival to you, I believe we have achieved just that. However, you the audience will be the judge of that and we would very much welcome your feedback.

We have experienced superb illustrators, authors and poets from all over the world and we have enjoyed welcoming an audience who have travelled digitally to be with us from all over the world. We have celebrated local stories with our film project ‘How We Live Now’ and explored ‘How We Live Next’ with an expert cohort of writers and specialists. Next year, we hopefully will be inviting you physically to our beautiful city of Lancaster.

Throughout the festival we have been delighted that so many people have been able to donate towards our charity. We have been fortunate to have received funding this year from Arts Council England, Lancaster City Council and a range of sponsors including Achates Philanthropy. However, to develop more opportunities for events we do need your support, so please spread the word for us and donate or buy from our bookshop.

We still have more to look forward to over the next month. You can watch events you have may missed or revisit one you really enjoyed on our YouTube channel. We also have new projects,  including the release of A.C. Grayling’s “Five Key Questions about Democracy “ — five 8-10 minute videos based on his book ‘The Good State’.

There is still time to sign up for The Litfest Big Read and enjoy one of our chosen books: ‘Boy Everywhere’ by A.M. Dassu and ‘The Midnight Library’ by Matt Haig.

There is the competition for 11-16 year olds to win the chance of a VIP tour of Leighton Moss.

Our New Writing North West writers have been creating some amazing work and we will be sharing this towards the end of April.

The online International Book Club continues in April with ‘Tram 83’ by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, translated from the French by Roland Glasser.

You can also visit our Poetry Map to see all the fantastic poems chosen and penned by people from all around the North West. The map remains open until 22nd April.

So there are still plenty of activities for you still to enjoy! We are hoping to bring you more events during 2021, so do keep watching our website and social media channels, and of course we will be back next March for our 43rd festival.

Thank you for support.

Julie Bell

The Chair, Lancaster Litfest.

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Litfest Poetry Day Double Bill — Change of Programming

Litfest regret to announce a late change to our line-up for Litfest’s Poetry Day on Saturday 20th March. Unfortunately, Sean O’Brien has had to withdraw from the our ‘Poetry Day Double Bill 1’ event at 2pm with Tara Bergin due to ill health. We wish Sean a speedy recovery and hope to welcome him back to Litfest again soon. In the meantime, you can hear him read extracts from his long poem ‘Hammersmith’ (part of his most recent collection It Says Here (2020) and marvel at Kate Sweeney’s wonderful images:

Hammersmith from K A Sweeney on Vimeo.  A response to extracts from Sean O’ Brien’s same-titled poem, ‘Hammersmith’ is an elegiac, hand-drawn animation produced on a single piece of paper, through a process of mark-making and erasure. The starting point for the visual aesthetic was Sweeney and O’Brien’s shared love of film noir, and the imagery, sweeping through 1950’s London, references the iconic cinematography from Jules Dessin’s 1950 noir film, ‘Night and the City’.

However, Litfest are delighted to announce that Dr Kim Moore has stepped into the breach. Kim is currently leading the poetry strand of our New Writing Northwest workshop series.

Dr Kim Moore is one of the founders of Kendal Poetry Festival. Her first full-length collection, The Art of Falling (2015), won the 2016 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. She was one of the judges for the 2018 National Poetry Competition and the 2020 Forward Prizes for Poetry. She recently completed her doctorate on poetry and everyday sexism at Manchester Metropolitan University and her second collection, All the Men I Never Married, is due in October 2021.

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Litfest 2021 Programme

Alternatively, you can download a PDF of the programme here.

We are very excited to welcome to you to Litfest 2021, our fully digital and free festival! Packed full of exciting new initiatives alongside festival favourites.  Featuring Matt Haig, A.M. Dassu, Jackie Morris, Shaun Tan, Michal Marmot, Fatima Ibrahim, Johny Pitts, James Suzman, A.C. Grayling, Andrey Kurkov, Yvonne Battle-Felton, Karen Lloyd, Kim Moore, Daniel Hahn, Sarah Hall, Tim Birkhead, Paul Farley, James Clarke, Sarah Moss, Tara Bergin, Sean O’Brien, Raymond Antrobus, Colette Bryce, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Emma Rucastle and so much more!

Continue reading Litfest 2021 Programme