The Leeds Big Bookend Festival 2016. Crossing City Limits. Programme Available Now.

Crossing City Limits


Download your Leeds Big Bookend Festival, May – June 2016, Programme here: prog2016web

Boundaries define us – the geographical boundaries of our city, the ethical or moral boundaries that help us to live alongside one another, the boundaries that shape our communities. Sometimes these act as frames of reference, helping us understand who we are, giving shape to our identity, creating a sense of belonging or home. Other times, however, they can become rigid, limiting our imagination, confining and separating, rather than providing new horizons. We need to push against such limiting boundaries, challenging, questioning and often crossing them. This year’s Leeds Big Bookend Festival invites you to journey to the edges of the city, to reassess and re-think Leeds’ limits!

Join our chair, Daniel Ingram-Brown, as he launches the second of the Firebird Chronicles series, The Nemesis Charm, which sees Apprentice Adventurers, Fletcher and Scoop set out to cross the boundary that separates their fictional world from ours.

We’re delighted to launch a brand new quarterly spoken word zine from spoken word record label Nymphs & Thugs, supported by three of the North’s most vital voices: Clare Sita Fisher, Rowan McCabe and Vicky Foster .

Celebrate with the winners of the Remember Oluwale Writing Prize as we see who crosses the finish line and picks up the prize for this new prestigious award. All 26 longlisted entries and some renowned guest writers will appear in an anthology which will be published by Valley Press in June 2016.

Join Jamie Fletcher, queer activist and director of Dancing Bear (previewed at the West Yorkshire Playhouse earlier this year) at the launch of the Alphabet Club Anthology, published in partnership with the Leeds Big Bookend. This collection of stories, poetry, photography, artwork and songs challenges the boundaries that shape our notions of faith, gender and sexuality.

Cross international boundaries with Notes from a Beijing Coffeeshop by Jonathan Geldart and take part in Belong/ 归属感,Gui Shu Gan – A bilingual creative writing workshop, part of the From Shore to Shore 飘洋过海 project.

Enjoy an evening of entertainment and learning inspired by West African culture at the launch of Inside African Forests, and join Lucy Burnett in an installation adaptation of her groundbreaking new climate change novel, Through the Weather Glass, based on her experience of cycling from Salford to the Greek Island of Ikaria. Perhaps, where climate is concerned, we need to set new boundaries ?

You can punk it up with the Armley Press Authors who are always crossing limits!

Two of the Leeds Big Bookend’s favourite crime writers are breaking the boundary of their genre altogether. Chris Nickson brings us an exclusive preview of his first play, The Empress on the Corner, about the awakening of a Victorian woman from mill girl, to servant, to business woman and suffragette. And Frances Brody takes a detour from her Kate Shackleton mysteries to introduce us to her Leeds-based sagas: Sisters on Bread Street, Sixpence in Her Shoe and Halfpenny Dreams.

You can also cross the barrier that separates an audience from the rehearsal room with a rare opportunity to experience an open rehearsal with Leeds Lads by Red Ladder Theatre Company, explore an alternative map of the margins of the city with another of the Leeds Big Bookend’s partner projects, Stories from the Forests of Leeds and enjoy watching some emerging talent breaking out with Leeds Trinity University’s Creative Writing Showcase at Outlaws Yacht Club.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, the Leeds Big Bookend Festival is excited to break new ground with the first ever Northern Short Story Festival at the Carriageworks Theatre, supported by Northern Accent. There are workshops, discussions, panels and readings from a very talented line-up: Alison Taft, Anna Chilvers, Comma Press, Valley Press, Tartarus Press, Carys Bray, Richard Smyth, Bluemoose Books, Michael Stewart, Avril Joy, Barney Walsh, David Martin, SJ Bradley, Clare Sita Fisher,  Jenna Isherwood, Daniel Ingram-Brown and local writers, Benjamin Judge, and the world-famous ukulele troupe, The Three Amigos!

For two nights only, Pillbox Theatre presents Adam Z Robinson’s play, Conscientious, about the horror of office politics and finding inspiration from First World War Conscientious Objectors.

And finally, for the third year running, the ground breaking Index on Censorship is back with our Big Debate. Does Fiction have a Stronger Impact than Journalism?

We haven’t forgotten the children either. Our main Children’s Festival Day will take place in November, details to be announced but they can join in all the fun of the June Festival weekend with Fantasy Fun from the Rainbow Factory  and Bookends! A ‘Make-Your-Own’ Bookends Workshop with Artist Claire Evans.

So are you feeling brave enough to cross some boundaries with us this year? Let’s face our fears, step out of our comfort zone, and embrace the diversity of this great, multi-faceted city.


Download your Leeds Big Bookend Festival, May – June 2016, Programme here: prog2016web

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 and the Northern Short Story Festival. She continues to be its Director.

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