Stories from the Forests of Leeds – Readings and Book Launch with Local Author Daniel Ingram-Brown

Once upon a time, in a place not far from here, there was a forest called Elmet. Fast forward hundreds of years and the city of Leeds stands where the forest once stood. But if you look carefully enough you can still see the forest, and it is this idea that led to the creation of a new book being launched at the first Northern Short Story Festival, Stories from the Forests of Leeds.

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26106014334_effef873cd_k Yorkshire author and theatre producer Daniel Ingram-Brown, “I have always been fascinated with the connection between cities and forests.  Neither have big horizons and because of this you can walk around and never know what you are going to come across.  There are also mythological connections between forests and fairy tales and this is what inspired the book.  Imagining the city of Leeds as a modern day forest.”

Commissioned by Leeds Church Institute, Daniel has been working with local writers to create an alternative Leeds – a forest of weird and wonderful fairytale-like characters, but rooted in the real city, inspired by place names.

“In stories, the forest is a place of transformation. It’s a place people venture into, away from the established order, to confront the problems that face them. Over the past year, we’ve been imagining Leeds as a forest – a complex, diverse place with no wide landscape, where roads thread between buildings, connecting people and communities. Using the image of a forest is a fun way to think about the challenges we face as a city and how solutions to some of those challenges might arise.”

With contributors in the book ranging from an 11 year old, to a Professor of English, the major theme that has emerged is the divide between the haves and have-nots, with the book telling the story of those who live on the fringes of the Forest through the eyes of Clarence the Water Rat.  With illustrations by Simon Smith, it shows his vision of The Forests of Leeds, which is based on the real life of the city.

oHy5VoR-Dr Helen Reid, Director of Leeds Church Institute says, “In Leeds, we have been inspired by Sara Maitland’s book Gossip from the Forest to imagine the city as a forest in a fairy tale. It’s not such a great leap to imagine that because both forests and cities are complex, diverse places with no wide landscape and huge potential for exploration, perhaps getting lost or maybe finding treasure.

In 2015, a group of writers came together to explore the ‘forest of Leeds’ and write stories to share. Along the way, they were joined by an illustrator, and together they have produced a book Stories from the Forests of Leeds. You will recognise the places and perhaps some of the characters, and when you have read the book, you might want to go explore the forest some more.”

The stories are being published together by the Leeds Big Bookend Festival and Leeds Church Institute. The Northern Short Story Festival has been made possible by Northern Accent, a literature initiative funded by Arts Council of England, and created in partnership with the Leeds Big Bookend. The reading and book launch of Stories from the Forests of Leeds is the closing event of the first Northern Short Story Festival

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Stories from the Forests of Leeds with Daniel Ingram-Brown and Local Writers. Readings and Book Launch, Saturday 4th June, 5:45pm – 6:45pm at the Carriageworks Theatre as part of the Northern Short Story Festival.

Tickets: £4. Click here to book or phone 0113 376 0318

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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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