The Haunting: Ghosts of Every Shade at the Leeds Library

Presented by Alchemy and The Leeds Library , in association with Ilkley Literature Festival and Leeds International Film Festival.  

The Haunting: Ghosts of Every Shade – delves into the perennial appeal of the ghost story in a month-long programme in Leeds and Ilkley this autumn. Internationally acclaimed writers Simon Armitage, Imtiaz Dharker, Rommi Smith and John Siddique explore the thrilling, chilling, reflective, sometimes probing studies of ghosts and hauntings through poetry, performance, visual arts, soundscape, dance, vocals and film. Live and online, The Haunting, includes nine free events, new commissions, performances, masterclasses, workshops and Ghostly Trails in The Leeds Library.


Nima Poovaya-Smith, Director of Alchemy says: “The Leeds Library provides a wonderfully historic setting in the heart of Leeds and an inspirational source of stories, through its diverse collections, for visitors. Experience Steve Manthorp’s exquisitely detailed and unsettling The Haunted Doll’s House, based on M.R. James’s classic ghost story of the same name and explore Adele Howitt’s ceramic series which responds to Edith Wharton’s quietly terrifying story, Pomegranate Seed. Both feature animation by Jack Lockhart. Enjoy Joe Williams’ recorded enactments of four ghost stories with soundscapes by Jonnie Khan. The Haunted Doll’s House and Pomegranate Seed are part of Ghostly Trails which includes a wealth of sketches, paintings and objects – reminders of the inevitability of death. Passers-by to The Library can enjoy a mesmerising array of images in a special window installation curated by Steve Manthorp. Visitors to The Haunting Digital Platform will find readings by Simon Armitage from his new commission, artists’ musing about their work and virtual exhibitions of work by Imtiaz Dharker and Steve Manthorp, providing online access to audiences near and far.”

Other highlights across the month include poetry masterclasses by Simon Armitage and Rommi Smith, enigmatic installations by artist Zareena Bano and a suitably spooky Halloween workshop.

The majority of events take place in The Leeds Library, 18 Commercial Street, Leeds, LS1 6AL, with some events at Ilkley Literature Festival and a special film screening in Mill Hill Chapel, City Square, Leeds, LS1 5EB. For full programme details visit:

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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