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Leeds Lit Fest is back! Returning for its fifth year, the city’s award-winning festival of words and thought will take place across a diverse range of the city’s venues and aims to bring together, and help develop, the city’s literary scene, with writers, poets and performers from the UK and beyond. This year’s festival is supported by Leeds 2023, the citywide celebration of culture which launched on Saturday, and will interweave themes of untold stories, radical acts, playful adventures and future generations.

The Festival is very excited to be hosting poet, playwright, memoirist, performer and broadcaster Lemn Sissay OBE (pictured) as he brings his memoir My Name is Why to Carriageworks Theatre (Fri 3rd March).  In it, Sissay reflects on his childhood, self-expression and Britishness, and in doing so explores the institutional care system, race, family and the meaning of home.

Other highlights include a day of events at the Howard Assembly Room and Carriageworks Theatre exploring the Contemporary Gothic (Sat 25th Feb) – award-winning authors Catriona Ward (pictured), Lucie McKnight Hardy, Dan Coxon, Mark Morris and Alison Littlewood undertake a delicious exploration of all things uncanny, horror and just plain weird.

If you’re into politics, we’ve got acclaimed political broadcaster Iain Dale, twice! In a solo event at the Leeds Library he takes a journey through Britain’s political history, told in 365 fascinating facts (Fri 3rd March). He then brings smash hit political podcast For The Many: Live to Carriageworks Theatre (Sat 4th March) with partner in crime, former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and featuring special guest the Rt Hon David Davis.

There’s a programme of free children’s and family events throughout the week culminating in a full day at Central Library (Sat 4th March). There are hands on workshops, storytelling and book events for all ages. Join us and meet authors such as Vashti Hardy sharing her latest book in the Harley Hitch series, Alex Falase-Koya (pictured) with his latest Marv book and Sharon Rentta introducing her Animal Explorers.

If poetry and spoken word excites you, then Leeds Poetry Festival is at the Hyde Park Book Club with Verse After Dark (Mon 27th Feb); there’s a special edition of Chemistry at The Chemic hosted by Joe Williams with headliners multi-award-winning performance poet Dominic Berry and rising local star Kayleigh Campbell (Fri 3rd March); and for some spoken word brilliance, Nymphs & Thugs presents Livewire with Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan (pictured), Ty’rone Haughton and Jay Mitra (Tues 28th Feb) at the Hyde Park Book Club.


Jack Simpson, Leeds Lit Fest Vice-Chair and owner of the Hyde Park Book Club said, “The fifth Leeds Lit Fest looks set to be the best yet. With the city celebrating a year of culture, the festival partners have brought together a really wide-ranging programme, with highlights from the region and special guests from beyond.

We’re blown away by the support we’ve received, with almost half the tickets gone in the first four weeks of being on sale. We’re really excited to be bringing you once again this citywide celebration of words and thought.”

Alison Millar, Leeds Lit Fest partner and Principal Librarian: Reading and Arts at Leeds Libraries said, “Leeds Libraries is excited to be providing the family fun for the 2023 festival. This year is bigger and better with twilight events happening in community libraries across the city leading up to a day of author events, workshops and talks on Saturday 4th March which take place in our beautiful Central Library. If you love listening to stories or enjoy writing your own there should be something for you to enjoy. ”

There’s all of this and so much more so get involved! Full details of the Leeds Lit Fest programme can be found at https://www.leedslitfest.co.uk.

Images attached: Lemn Sissay, credit – Paul Crowther; Catriona Ward, credit – Robert Hollingworth;


For further information, images and media requests contact Fiona Gell at fionagell1@gmail.com| 07742 861889.

 About Leeds Lit Fest

Leeds Lit Fest 2023 will take place on Saturday 25th Feb to Sunday 5th March.

Leeds Lit Fest is delivered by a partnership of 8 Leeds-based creative arts and literature-based organizations which are committed to celebrating and championing literature and writing in Leeds and to engaging and inspiring its people to get involved in creative activities linked to literature.

Current partner organizations include The Leeds Library, Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds Libraries, The Leeds Big Bookend, Carriageworks Theatre, MILIM, Leeds Church Institute and Strix, supported by Leeds 2023.

Bookseller, independent bookshop Truman Books in Farsley, returns for a second year.

Tickets and further information for the Lit Fest can be found at www.leedslitfest.co.uk or Leeds Inspired as well as through the partner organizations.

In 2022, Leeds Lit Fest won Best Literary Festival at the national Saboteur Awards for a second time. The festival celebrates the vibrant and thriving literature scene that exists in Leeds with local writers and performers showcasing their talents along with national and international artists with an exciting programme of author talks, workshops, panels, performance, digital, poetry and spoken word events.

For full information on the festival, including programme updates and ticket information head to its website or social media pages below:

http://www.leedslitfest.co.uk| Facebook: @LeedsLitFest | Twitter: @LeedsLit | #LLF23