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Events

We Are All Astronauts 

3,2,1 … BLAST OFF! Join bestselling author/illustrator Kate Pankhurst to meet the shining star of We Are All Astronauts – young astronaut in training, Luna Scope.  

Float through the Milky Way with Luna as she discovers exactly what it takes to become a space explorer.  

A session fizzing with space facts, female pioneers of space travel, dressing up and drawing. (No space suits needed, with our feet firmly on Planet Earth we can learn all we can about space – just like astronauts. You could say we are all astronauts!) 

 Kate Pankhurst is the award-winning and bestselling author and illustrator of the trailblazing Fantastically Great Women books. We Are All Astronauts is the first in a new series tackling popular non-fiction topics in fun new ways. Most days, Kate can be found illustrating and writing in her studio in Leeds with her spotty dog, Olive. 

Suitable for families with children aged 5 to 9 years old. All children must be accompanied by an adult (no more than three children to each adult), additional siblings U12 months, free.

Date: Saturday 27 April 

Time: 11am-12pm

Venue: Meltham Library, Carlile Institute, 54 Huddersfield Road, Meltham HD9 4AG 

Tickets: £5 adult + child, £2 further adult or child tickets, additional siblings U12 months, free 

Age guidance: 5-9 (all children must be accompanied by an adult) 

For access information, please contact the library on 01484 414 868 

Please note: When purchasing tickets please download the Eventbrite ‘app’ or ‘create an Eventbrite account’. This will facilitate quicker access to your tickets.

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Book Launch: In the Foothills of the Himalayas

Join Huddersfield author Dr Sarah Hussain for the launch of her new novel, an eco-thriller set against the majestic backdrop of the Himalayas. Sarah will be interviewed by the writer Michael Stewart.

Born in the Raj era under British rule, Vidhya grows up observing her father fight for a free India. She witnesses catastrophic flooding as a result of deforestation by order of a powerful English company, and begins to understand the importance of preserving the forest. When Vidhya uncovers a conspiracy that puts her in great jeopardy, she courageously leads a group of women on a non-violent protest and they embrace the trees. But at what cost? 

Dr Sarah Hussain is a Huddersfield author and educator. Her novella Escape from Syria was a finalist in the People’s Book Prize Award. In 2018 she won the Ms Shakespeare competition in Yorkshire and was commissioned to write a monologue, which was performed at the Huddersfield Literature Festival on International Women’s Day. She was shortlisted in a competition run by the University of Huddersfield and her short story “You will be free one day, my dearest India” is included in the anthology Trouble, published by Grist. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Literature in 2008, a Master of Arts in Creative Writing in 2018, and has recently completed a PhD. 

Michael Stewart is a multi-award-winning writer of novels, including King Crow and Ill Will: The Untold Story of Heathcliff, short stories and non-fiction including the memoir Walking the Invisible. A playwright and poet, who has also written for TV and radio, he is Head of English at the University of Huddersfield, where he is editor-in-chief of Grist Books.

Access and Covid safety measures: if you have specific access needs or queries and/or prefer to be seated away from other audience members as a Covid safety measure, please contact our Admin at: [email protected] with your request. 

 

Date: Saturday 20 April 

Time: 2pm-3pm 

Venue: Heritage Quay, Schwann Building, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield HD1 3DH 

Tickets: Free (donations welcomed, booking recommended) 

Age guidance: 12+ (U16s should be accompanied by an adult) 

Access Guide: https://www.accessable.co.uk/huddersfield-literature-festival/access-guides/heritage-quay  

 

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ONLINE: Ask an Agent 

Your chance to put your questions about the publishing process to literary agents: Clare Coombes from the Liverpool Literary Agency, Davinia Andrew Lynch from Curtis Brown and Marilia Savvides from The Plot Agency.

Clare Coombes set up the first Liverpool-based literary agency in 2020 to help address inequality and underrepresentation in the publishing industry. With more than 15 years’ experience of writing and editing professionally, including the publication of two novels, Definitions (2015) and We Are of Dust (2018 – which has received development funding from the Liverpool Film Office for a TV adaptation), she has developed an in-depth knowledge of what commissioning editors and publishers expect to see from a submitted manuscript. With a background in PR and marketing, alongside teaching on creative writing programmes, Clare also has extensive experience in pitching and promoting writers. She also works as an editor with Jericho Writers. Clare would love to see historical fiction, crime fiction, psychological thrillers and women’s fiction, but as a new agent, she is open to all great writing with a strong hook in any area (excluding non-fiction, children’s and YA). She actively encourages submissions from writers who have been traditionally under-represented. 

Davinia Andrew Lynch joined Curtis Brown in 2023 and represents a growing list of commercial adult fiction as well as children’s/YA writers and illustrators across the genres.  A complete 90s child with a love of film and TV, she has been shaped by the storytelling of the time – big, bold and pacy but with characters you can’t help but love. She is looking for stories that smack you between the eyes, capture your heart, make you laugh (no matter the story or genre) and genuinely reflect the world in which we live. Above all, she wants to give writers and illustrators the space to tell the stories that they want to tell. Prior to joining Curtis Brown, she founded and ran the boutique literary agency Andlyn and was formerly a film/TV agent. She also co-founded, in conjunction with Faber Children’s, the FAB Prize, which aims to discover unpublished children’s writers and illustrators from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds (www.fabprize.org) 

Marilia Savvides is a literary agent and the founder of The Plot Agency, which she set up in 2024, with a commitment to centering and championing authors and great stories. She began her career in publishing at Peters Fraser and Dunlop, where she spent eight years, first as international rights agent where she represented and sold translation rights across the agency’s client list, and later as literary agent, building her own list of authors. In 2019, she joined 42MP, where she worked as a literary agent for four years, helping to launch and set up the Book Division. She has a Law Degree from UCL and is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course in New York. She was selected as a Bookseller Rising Star in 2018, and was also a returning member of the faculty at the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford University, for several years. She is proud to represent an eclectic and talented list of writers and works closely with them on strategy and vision for their books and careers. From editing manuscripts, building pitches, securing the best publishing deals, and exploring book to film opportunities, The Plot Agency is dedicated to building and growing authors’ careers and protecting their rights, always with a global vision.

 

Note: this event will take place online as a Zoom webinar. A link to access the event will be sent to you the day before the webinar takes place. 

ACCESSIBILITY: This event will have live subtitling by Stagetext to improve accessibility.

Date: Tuesday 16 April 

Time: 7pm-8pm 

Online 

Tickets: £5 (booking required) 

Age guidance: 16+ 

 

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Pitch to Publishers 

PLEASE NOTE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSPONED. THE EVENT WILL STILL TAKE PLACE BUT AT A DIFFERENT DATE AND TIME TO THE ONE CURRENTLY ADVERTISED.

A fast-paced pitching session where each writer gets around a minute to pitch their book idea to publishers Kevin Duffy from multi-award-winning Yorkshire-based indie publisher Bluemoose Books and Sarah Castleton, Editorial Director, Hachette Book Group. Also on the panel, award-winning author and creative writing tutor Michael Stewart, who has a body of work that includes novels, short stories, narrative non-fiction, radio and stage plays, and poetry collections.

Please note: this event follows Words, Vision & Sound in the same venue – a free 30-minute immersive event of poetry, visuals and music. We recommend you arrive by 6.30pm to experience this event before Pitch to Publishers, or alternatively that you arrive no earlier than 7pm so that you don’t disturb the audience’s enjoyment of the prior event.

Access and Covid safety measures: if you have specific access needs or queries and/or prefer to be seated away from other audience members as a Covid safety measure, please contact our Admin at: [email protected] with your request.

Kevin Duffy was born in Ely, Cambridgeshire but grew up in Woodley just outside Stockport. He lives in Hebden Bridge with Hetha, co-founder of Bluemoose, his two sons and their dog, Eric. Bluemoose Books is a multi-award-winning independent publisher, which publishes up to 10 titles a year, many of which are shortlisted or win literary awards. Authors include Benjamin Myers, Devika Ponnambalam, Rónán Hession and Kevin Boniface.

Sarah Castleton is Editorial Director at Hachette Book Group. She joined the imprint Corsair in 2011 as Commissioning Editor, to bring a new eye and sensitivity to the list of unique writers, and to nurture new and diverse voices. Sarah grew up in Sheffield and now works from Hachette’s Sheffield office, following over two decades as an editor in London.

Michael Stewart is a multi award-winning writer and Head of Creative Writing at the University of Huddersfield. His debut novel King Crow won the Guardian’s Not the Booker Award, and his latest novel The Last Wolf will be published later this year.

Date: TBC

Time: TBC

Venue: Heritage Quay, Schwann Building, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate HD1 3DH

Tickets: £5

Age guidance: 16+

Please note: When purchasing tickets please download the Eventbrite ‘app’ or ‘create an Eventbrite account’. This will facilitate quicker access to your tickets.

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Workshop – Ted Hughes 

Mayday on Holderness is the decisive poem in Ted Hughes’s oeuvre, important for several reasons: it is his first ecopoem, his first free verse poem and his first poetic wrestle with his early reputation as a “poet of violence”.   

 

However, the true significance of the poem is in the way it lays out, in an almost manifesto-like way, the major theme of his subsequent work: his view of the Universe as an infinite flux of creation and devouring, an Empedoclean interplay of Love (Philotes) and Strife (Neikos), in which humans must find their place and meaning. 

 

Join Steve Ely, poet and Director of the Ted Hughes Network at the University of Huddersfield, for a talk, close reading and discussion of this seminal poem. 

 

Steve Ely  is an award-winning poet and writer based in Yorkshire. He has written 10 books or poetry pamphlets, including The European Eel, Lectio Violant and Englaland. Two further books, Orasaigh (a collaboration with photographer Michael Faint) and Eely are out in 2024. Steve teaches creative writing at the University of Huddersfield, where he is Director of the Ted Hughes Network, a research centre with a particular brief to engage non-academic communities with Hughes’s work. He is the author of Ted Hughes’s South Yorkshire: Made in Mexborough, a biographical work that explores the importance of Hughes’s early Yorkshire years, and several journal papers and book chapters about Hughes’s work. He recently won a major AHRC grant to complete a book entitled Ted Hughes’s Expressionism: Visionary Subjectivity and he organised a symposium of that name at the British Library in 2023, where he gave the keynote address. Steve recently led the Discovering Ted Hughes’s Yorkshire project, creating six literary trail maps that allow walkers to explore Hughes’s formative Yorkshire landscapes. 

 

Access and Covid safety measures: if you have specific access needs or queries and/or prefer to be seated away from other audience members as a Covid safety measure, please contact our Admin at: [email protected] with your request. 

 

Date: Thursday 18 April 

Time: 7pm-9pm 

Venue: Room OA5/11, Oastler Building, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate HD1 3DH 

Tickets: £12 (£5 conc), free for University of Huddersfield staff and students & essential carers. Age Guidance: 16+ 

Access Guide: https://www.accessable.co.uk/huddersfield-literature-festival/access-guides/oastler-building 

Please note: When purchasing tickets please download the Eventbrite ‘app’ or ‘create an Eventbrite account’. This will facilitate quicker access to your tickets.

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Mark Billingham & Abir Mukherjee – HYBRID EVENT 

A chance to hear from two crime writers at the top of their game. Author of 21 Sunday Times bestsellers Mark Billingham introduces his first new series for 20 years with The Last Dance. The award-winning author of the bestselling Sam Wyndham crime novels set in 1920s India, Abir Mukherjee introduces his new and exciting contemporary thriller Hunted. 

The Last Dance: meet Declan Miller: unique, unconventional and criminally underestimated. He’s a detective and a dancer with no respect for authority – and he’s the best hope Blackpool has for keeping criminals off the streets. The Last Dance is Mark Billingham’s first new series for 20 years. 

Hunted: After a bomb goes off in an LA shopping mall, Sajid and Carrie are thrown together in a race against time to find his son and her daughter, prove their innocence and stop a catastrophe. Abir Mukhajee’s blockbuster contemporary thriller is “a masterclass in intelligent suspense fiction” (Mick Herron).  

Mark Billingham started his career, 22 years ago, bringing a fresh, edgy and terrifying twist to the genre, and his lead character, Tom Thorne, was every bit as quirky and different as his creator. Since then, his novels have sold over six million copies and he has had 21 Sunday Times bestsellers. Two TV series have been made of Mark’s books – Thorne by Sky starring David Morrissey, and In the Dark by the BBC. A third is currently in development. Rabbit Hole, his 2020 novel, was named as Crime Book of the Year by The Times. 

Abir Mukherjee is the Times bestselling author of the Sam Wyndham series of crime novels set in Raj era India. His debut, A Rising Man, won the CWA Endeavour Dagger for best historical crime novel of 2017 and was shortlisted for the MWA Edgar for best novel. His second novel, A Necessary Evil, won the Wilbur Smith Award for Adventure Writing and was a Zoe Ball Book Club pick. His third novel, Smoke and Ashes, was chosen by the Sunday Times as one of the 100 Best Crime & Thriller Novels since 1945. Abir grew up in Scotland and now lives in London with his wife and two sons.

HYBRID EVENT – this is a Hybrid event, which can be attended in person at the venue or accessed online. Simply select the Live or Online ticket link for your preferred event viewing. For online access a link will be sent to you the day before the event takes place. 

ACCESSIBILITY – This event will have live subtitling by Stagetext to make it more accessible to those who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing. If you are attending with a carer, please book an additional free ticket for them.  

Date: Sunday 28 April 

Time: 5pm-6pm 

Venue: Cellar, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Queen Street, Huddersfield HD1 2SP 

Tickets: £8 (£5 conc), online tickets £3, free for University of Huddersfield staff and students & essential carers 

Age guidance: 16+ 

Access Guide: https://www.accessable.co.uk/huddersfield-literature-festival/access-guides/syngenta-cellar 

Please note: When purchasing tickets please download the Eventbrite ‘app’ or ‘create an Eventbrite account’. This will facilitate quicker access to your tickets.

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A Tribute to Benjamin Zephaniah – HYBRID EVENT

In this special event, poet Michelle Scally Clarke, Colin Grant and Alex Wheatle explore the poetry, music and legacy of Benjamin Zephaniah (15 April 1958 – 7 December 2023).  

 

Poet, novelist, playwright, musician, actor, TV and radio presenter, and professor of creative writing, Dr Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah was born and raised in Birmingham. His mission was to take poetry everywhere, from his first collection Pen Rhythm (1980) to inspiring a generation of rappers with his Reggae and Dub Poetry recordings. He also wrote children’s and YA books; his novel Refugee Boy was adapted for the stage by our Festival Patron Lemn Sissay. 

https://benjaminzephaniah.com/  

 

About the contributors 

Michelle Scally Clarke is a poet, author, actor and playwright. She has worked alongside poetry greats from Lemm Sissay and Linton Kwesi Johnson to Benjamin Zephaniah himself. She is the author of two memoirs: I Am and She Is. Originally a theatre actor, she has toured her plays, First Cut and Suitcase throughout Yorkshire schools, and was commissioned by the NHS to write, tour and film a play: Jeans, Whose Genes?  

 

Colin Grant is the author of six books. They include: Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey, and a group biography of the Wailers, I & I, The Natural Mystics. His memoir, Bageye at the Wheel, was shortlisted for the Pen/Ackerley Prize, 2013. Grant’s history of epilepsy, A Smell of Burning, was a Sunday Times Book of the Year 2016. Grant’s Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation, was a BBC radio 4 Book of the Week Grant is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Director of WritersMosaic, a division of the Royal Literary Fund. His latest book is a memoir: I’m Black So You Don’t Have to Be. 

 

Alex Wheatle spent most of his youth in the notorious Shirley Oaks children’s home and his youth was portrayed in Oscar Award-winning director Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series. His first novel, Brixton Rock, was published in 1999 to critical acclaim and was followed by further YA and adult novels and memoirs. He has won several awards and in 2008 was awarded MBE for services to literature. His latest book is the memoir: Sufferah: Memoir of a Brixton Reggae Head. 

 

HYBRID EVENT – this is a Hybrid event, which can be attended in person at the venue or accessed online. Simply select the Live or Online ticket link for your preferred event viewing. For online access a link will be sent to you the day before the event takes place. 

Access and Covid safety measures: if you have specific access needs or queries and/or prefer to be seated away from other audience members as a Covid safety measure, please contact our Admin at: [email protected] with your request. 

 

Date: Saturday 27 April  

Time: 4.30pm-5.30pm 

Venue: Small Seeds, Castlegate (New Street junction), Huddersfield HD1 2UD 

Tickets: £5, online tickets: £2 

Age Guidance: 16+ 

Access Guide: https://www.accessable.co.uk/huddersfield-literature-festival/access-guides/small-seeds 

Please note: When purchasing tickets please download the Eventbrite ‘app’ or ‘create an Eventbrite account’. This will facilitate quicker access to your tickets.

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Art and Culture in Huddersfield – Podcasts

Art and Culture in Huddersfield is a special series of six 15-minute podcasts, created by a cohort of young people (18-35).

Following training with Kirklees Local TV, the participants will work together in groups to create a script, interview local people, and present and record a podcast. These will be released weekly from Friday 5 April.

Podcasting has become a powerful platform to connect with audiences, share knowledge, and build communities around our passions. This series, funded by Kirklees Council’s Community Plus fund, will allow participants to learn new practical skills, develop teamwork and communication skills,  and feel part of the community and the local arts scene.

Podcast 1: Rebecca Hill’s Vikings and Valykries – listen here

 

Podcast 2: Naturally Creative with Melodie Golton – listen here

 

Podcast 3: Pink Prose with Harley Watson – listen here

 

Podcast 4: Arabic Calligraphy with Nico Kulmann – listen here

 

Podcast 5: Stations & Squares with Georgie Burgess – listen here

Podcast 6: Community Radio with Hakim Hussain – coming on 10 May

 

James Baldwin – Podcasts

James Baldwin (1924-1987) was a novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic.

In this series of six podcasts, created for the Festival by Kirklees Local TV to commemorate the centenary of Baldwin’s birth, we will explore his life, writing, social activism and legacy, through a range of discussions and interviews.

James Baldwin was born in Harlem on 2 August 1924, the eldest of nine children. He began writing in the final years of racial segregation in the US, as the civil rights movement gained momentum and moved to Paris in 1948. His first novel Go Tell It on the Mountain appeared in 1953 to excellent reviews. This was followed by bestselling essay collections such as Nobody Knows My Name, Notes of a Native Son and The Fire Next Time, which  made him an influential figure in the growing civil rights movement. His plays also engaged with themes of racism, and, as a gay man, Baldwin became more and more outspoken about discrimination against homosexuals, in his life and work. Baldwin spent much of his life in France, where he died in 1987, a year after being made a Commander of the French Legion of Honor.

Conscious Hour Unplugged

Conscious Hour Unplugged – where young people step into the spotlight! 

Conscious Hour Unplugged is an electrifying open mic evening showcasing the voices of young people aged 13-25! Join us for a night of creativity, self-expression, and boundless energy as we celebrate the talents of our youth community. 

The audience will be captivated by budding singers, musicians, spoken word artists and those with unique talents. From soulful melodies to thought-provoking poetry, expect a diverse range of performances that reflect the rich tapestry of local talent. 

The event is organised by Conscious Youth C.I.C an award-winning youth-led social enterprise established in 2016. The organisation runs The Corner Hub youth provision in Huddersfield Town centre and has worked with over 4,000 young people across Kirklees and wider. Their aim is to enrich the lives of young adults through mentorship, creative arts, education, cultural exploration, health and well-being and public service. 

www.consciousyouth.co.uk 

FB: @consciousyouthuk 

Twitter: @cyouthcic 

Instagram: Consciousyouthuk 

 

Date: Friday 19 April 

Time: 7pm-8pm 

Venue: Tipi, Courtyard, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Queen Street HD1 2SP 

Tickets: Free (booking required) 

Age guidance: 12+ (U16s should be accompanied by an adult) 

Access Guide: https://www.accessable.co.uk/huddersfield-literature-festival/access-guides/lawrence-batley-theatre  

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In partnership with:

Huddersfield Live