Morley Literature Festival proves to be a real page-turner

ITN royal correspondent Tim Ewart is guest speaker at Morley Literary Luncheon. (d609b241)

ITN royal correspondent Tim Ewart is guest speaker at Morley Literary Luncheon. (d609b241)

FROM Mancunian musicians to royal correpondents, the star attractions of Morley Literature Festival have had hundreds of people flocking to the event so far.

The seventh annual festival began in earnest on Saturday morning with a street fair along Queen Street which saw stalls set up from new and existing Morley traders.

The Friends of Morley Literature Festival held their own successful book swap stall and children were kept entertained by rides and games.

There was plenty for younger visitors in Morley Library as well, where Wakefield-based poet and storyteller Conrad Burdekin and author and illustrator Stephen Waterhouse kept budding artists and writers busy with their workshops.

Sci-fi and comic book fans were kept happy with writers David Hine, Adam Christopher, Samit Basu and Justina Robson holding their discussion Science Fiction and Superheroes at Morley Town Hall, while a workshop teaching people how to public their work digitally also proved popular.

But the headline event on Saturday night pulled the biggest crowd with hundreds of music fans turning out to hear legendary former Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook in a lively, down-to-earth and entertaining hour-long discussion with Guardian journalist and music writer Dave Simpson.

Talking about his new book Unknown Pleasures, which tells the story of the origins of Joy Division through to the suicide of singer Ian Curtis in 1980, his often hilarious, often deeply moving but always brutally honest account of life in one of Britain’s most revered bands entranced fans.

Afterwards he thrilled them further by signing copies of the book and happily posing for photographs in the main Alexandra Hall.

The next day saw music fans out again, this time to church.

Former Inspiral Carpets singer Tom Hingley was centre stage at a very special event at St Peter’s Church in Rooms Lane.

As well as talking about his book Carpet Burns, about his time with one of Manchester’s biggest bands of the 1990s, he played two brief sets of acoustic tunes, including two of the Inspiral Carpets’ biggest hits, Saturn 5 and This Is How It Feels.

Monday saw the annual Literary Lunch at the Village Hotel in Tingley with ITN royal correspondent Tim Ewart talking about his career reporting on the Windsors since the wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981.

The festival continues today with a creative writing workshop with Stephen May at Morley Library at 2pm, writer Monique Roffey joins Stephen at the library for a discussion about her work at 7pm and Yorkshire writer Jack Sheffield will be at Tingley Methodist Church at 7.30pm.

On Thursday Chris Nickson and Simon Heyward will be exploring Leeds’s darker side when they host an evening of murder, mayhem, laughter and music at Churwell Community Centre from 7.30pm.

At 7.45pm at Morley Library Ross Raisin, MY Alam and Wes Brown will be holding a discussion on Class, Identity and Environment.

On Friday romantic novellist Leah Fleming will be at Morley Library at 2pm while the headline attraction of the night will be Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee who will be in the main Alexandra Hall of Morley Town Hall at 7.30pm.

Children’s events are back on the programme on Saturday morning, with writer Gillian Rogerson talking princesses and pirates in Morley Library at 10.30am and Stephen Waterhouse back in the library with a hands-on illustration workshop at 11.30am.

Dave Simpson will also be returning to the festival on Saturday afternoon when he talks about his own work on Leeds United’s 1992 league championship success, The Last Champions, at 1.30pm.

The afternoon will get sweeter during the ever popular Afternoon Tea event at 3pm, where people can hear historian Helen Rappaport talk about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert over tea and cake.

The evening’s headliner will be BBC broadcaster Stuart Maconie making a welcome return to the festival.

On Sunday afternoon Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler will be at the City Varieties in Leeds reflecting on his encounters with everyone from Bill Clinton to Lady Gaga at 2.30pm while the final festival guest on Sunday will be crime writer Val McDermid at Morley Town Hall at 7.30pm.

For more information and tickets go to or telephone 0844 8482706.




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