Paralympian heading to Morley Literature Festival

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Morley Literature Festival is to welcome a Paralympic medal winner when it gets underway this October.

The festival, now in its ninth year, will feature swimmer Elizabeth Wright at a debut author event, due to be held at Tingley Methodist Church on Monday October 6 at 7pm.

Elizabeth was born in Sydney, Australia, with Congenital Limb Deficiency, a condition that meant her limbs did not grow properly in the womb.

Now based in Leeds, Elizabeth has just released her autobiography, Ditch the Arm, Keep the Leg.

The festival’s director Alison Brumwell said: “I just felt she was a really interesting woman. She’s very, very articulate.

“She’s very multi-faceted. She’s an academic, an artist, a photographer, and she’s been a very successful athlete.”

The book recounts her journey from childhood to a career which has included swimming for her country in the Paralympic Games in 1996, where she won a bronze medal, and in 2000, where she bagged a silver and a bronze.

Elizabeth now also works as a motivational speaker, and has lectured at schools and universities worldwide.

This is Alison’s first year as director and a number of annual fixtures are back on the roster, such as the Literary Lunch.

“There’s an awful lot of competition out there.

“In my first year I didn’t feel it was the right time to make significant changes,” she said.

“There were fixtures that people were firm about wanting to retain.”

Alison said it was important to keep close ties with local partners and emphasised Morley Chamber of Trade’s important role in this year’s run-up.

“I just hope it is going to be a wonderful experience for the families and people who take part.

“We are very committed to free programming for families and children. We are all about accessibility.”

Twenty-five events will take place between October 4-12 at Morley Town Hall, Morley Library, St Peter’s Church, St Paul’s Church, Gildersome Conservative Club, Churchwell Community Centre and the Village Hotel.

Another speaker is Andy Kershaw, the broadcaster of nearly 30 years known for his eclectic music taste, who is back by popular demand. A new event will be Well-Being with Words, an exploration of how poetry and fiction can increase mental wellbeing.

Tickets for Elizabeth Wright: The Medal Journey are now available at Morley Library on 0113 378 1887. Copies of ‘Ditch the Arm, Keep the Leg’ will be on sale at the event for £11.99. For more information about Elizabeth, visit

Full festival programme in next week’s Observer.