For the love of words

Last weekend, I was at The Leeds Indie Book Fair, a month after our own Big Bookend festival in the centre of Leeds. The first thing that struck me was how brilliant for Leeds that we had two major book events in two months.  I have lived in Yorkshire since the mid 1980s and I can’t remember there being book related events of this scale in central Leeds. Please let me know if I am wrong here. I readily acknowledge the festivals at Headingley and Morley which the Big Bookend can only aspire to in terms of quality, commitment and longevity but what I am talking about are major book events in Leeds city centre.

Whilst at the Fair, I had the privilege of hearing the poet John Siddique read from his latest collection, Full Blood. One of his central themes is love. His performance is mesmerising and his beautiful, lyrical words draw you in and stay with you long after he has finished. He believes that love is at the core of everything.

It then got me thinking about why I am part of the Big Bookend and strange as it may sound, love is at the core of that too because put simply,  I love words. I wish I had the creative talent to be a writer or poet but I really don’t. I get my pleasure from words by listening, talking and reading. I love books. The words, the smell of a book, its physical feel. There’s a place for digital books, of course, but they don’t inspire me in the same way.

So when I had the chance of being part of the team that started The Big Bookend three years ago with the aim of bringing a festival of words to the centre of Leeds, daunting as the challenge was, I leapt at it. I have learnt so much in those three years and I have met so many talented people.  I would love the Big Bookend to continue for years to come and be established as part of Leeds’ cultural calendar. The potential is enormous but all the team can do is take it one year at a time. So support us in whatever way you can and here’s to the next Big Bookend, 7th-8th June, 2014!

Helen from Tell Me Another storytellers captivates her audience.
Photograph by Rebecca Witt.

Fiona Gell

Fiona is a lifelong reading enthusiast and book lover. Her career started as a bookseller and has never really veered away from the written and spoken word. It was a dream for her to be a founder member of The Leeds Big Bookend. Fiona is its Coordinator and Marketing Director of the Northern Short Story Festival.

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