The Big Bookend Festival, 7th-8th June 2014

The Big Bookend Festival, 7th-8th June 2014

We were lucky enough to catch up with Fiona Gell from Leeds’ Big Bookend Festival, now going into its third year. She told us all about what to expect from this year’s programme and announced a very exciting Headline Act…..

The Big Bookend Festival, Leeds’ very own Rock Festival for Words is back for a third year of festival fun with three programmes which hopefully will have something for everybody.
Our festival launches with Anthony Clavane’s play, remounted by Red Ladder Theatre, Playing The Joker, about legendary rugby league commentator Eddie Waring.

There are two very special performances at the Queens Hotel (Waring’s unofficial headquarters) on Sunday 11 May. Both of these performances will be followed by Q&A sessions with author Anthony Clavane, actors Paul Fox and Dicken Ashworth and some VIP guests including Leeds United legend Eddie Gray, close friend of Eddie Waring Ronnie Teeman, local rugby league writer Phil Caplan and rugby league writer, Professor Tony Collins, author of two seminal books on rugby league.

In our main programme we have authors, poets, musicians and performers. Jazz, food and drink, art, Alzheimer’s, protests and radical Chapeltown all sit side by side. There are panel events covering crime fiction with Frances Brody, Steve Mosby and Chris Nickson, sport and the media with Anthony Clavane, Nick Quantrill and Roger Domeneghetti, propaganda and war in the Index on Censorship’s Big Debate, and the Great War. Richard Van Emden and Andrea Hetherington look at the families left behind and how the First World War changed their lives. This is followed by a panel debate with British Future looking at the relevance of the Great War to our lives today.

There will be a big focus on our local communities in the Leeds Story Cycle which will express the voice of Leeds, captured at the historic moment of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France. Seven stories will be created by six diverse community groups, each telling the tale of a different character’s journey to see the race begin. Their stories will be revealed on Saturday 7th June.

For children, we have a fun filled and action packed weekend programme featuring authors, poets and performers and a very large yurt for storytelling!
We have two competitions: a pirate and adventure themed writing competition for ages 5-11; and a review writing competition for young people aged 11 to 18.

Our programme for young people launches with a big party at Waterstones on Friday 6th June, 6.30pm with live music from Lucy and Jo, and award winning author Martyn Bedford. Amy Keen and Sufiya Ahmed will be at Waterstones on Saturday evening discussing young women in fiction.
We are very excited about our festival headliner. In keeping with our belief in celebrating Leeds’ rich literary heritage, our headline author for 2014 is the legendary Alan Bennett who will be appearing in An Audience with Alan Bennett at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on Sunday 8th June at 2pm.

For all the latest Big Bookend festival information visit our website www.bigbookend.co.uk and follow us on Twitter @bigbookend and www.facebook.com/BigBookend. We look forward to seeing you at the Big Bookend festival 2014.

Fiona Gell

TSOTA Kate’s pick:
The Big Bookend Launch Party – Waterstones, 6th June, 6.30pm (£3)
The Leeds Story Cycle – Leeds Church Institute, 7th June, 7.30pm (£3)
‘An Audience with Alan Bennett’ – West Yorkshire Playhouse, 8th June, 2pm (£20)

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