What's Happening This Year?

What's Happening at Wakefield Lit Fest 2015!

Fri 04

Pre-Festival Event - The Black Horse Poets present: Wakefield Writes!

No description available

4th September 2015  /   19:00 - 21:00  /   Wakefield Cathedral  /  Free. No booking required. More information: www.blackhorsepoets.weebly.com

Pre-festival workshop for members of the public to write a poem about living in Wakefield, inspired by the culture of the Cathedral.

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Mon 14

Pre-Festival Event - Free Spoken Word Taster Sessions For 16-25s

No description available

14th September 2015  /   18:00 - 20:00  /   WE ARE project space, Wood Street  /  Free / Please book

Try your hand at spoken word in a fun and friendly environment

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Thu 17

Pre-Festival Event - Wakefield Civic Society presents Dr Jonathan Foyle. Lincoln Cathedral: The Greatest Building in the Age of Magna Carta

No description available

17th September 2015  /   19:30 - 21:00  /   The Orangery  /  £10 / £8 Concession

Join Dr Jonathan Foyle as we celebrate the anniversary of Magna Carta. 

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Fri 18

Beehive Poets present Voices of Yorkshire

No description available

18th September 2015  /   17:00 - 18:00  /   The Orangery  /  Free / No need to book

Fronted by Kevin Byrne, join Beehive Poets as they read from their latest anthology, and highlights of their own work. 

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Changing Faces by the Merry West Collective, Amy Charles and Rachel Watson

No description available

18th September 2015  /   19:00 - 19:15  /   Westgate Chapel  /  Free / No need to book

Explore Wakefield as an evolving city through this creative collaboration of spoken word, performance and film by local artists Amy Charles and Rachel Watson.

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An Evening with Gillian Clarke

No description available

18th September 2015  /   19:30 - 21:00  /   Westgate Chapel  /  £10 / £7 Concessions

Don't miss an evening of readings with poet Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales since 2008.

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Sat 19

How to Kick that Writer’s block: A Creative Writing Workshop

No description available

19th September 2015  /   10:30 - 16:00  /   The Hepworth Wakefield  /  £15 / 16 + yrs / Booking essential

Fancy writing poetry or lyrics but don't know where to start? Keep finding yourself with the dreaded writer's block? Join Matt Abbott from of A Firm of Poets who will use scenarios, word generation exercises and literary devices, to teach you techniques for writing lyrics and poetry and performing it in a relaxed environment.

Booking essential, call 01924 247 360 or email hello@hepworthwakefield.org

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Featherstone Festival of Words

No description available

19th September 2015  /   10:30 - 21:30  /   Featherstone Library / Purston Park  /  

Presented in partnership with Featherstone Library and programmed by Beam with artist Rebecca Jenkins and a group of local volunteers, this one day festival celebrates heroes, both old and new, real and fictitious. There’s a lot to do for all ages, so book onto a workshop or just pop along and get involved! 

At Featherstone Library between 10.30am-3pm there will be a range of free drop in activities.

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Lions, Tigers and Bears!

19th September 2015  /   11:00 - 11:30  /   Wakefield Library and Museum  /  Free / Booking Essential

Join storyteller Helen M. Sant for some traditional tales of these wild but loveable animals.

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Trinity Heroes

No description available

19th September 2015  /   Trinity Walk Shopping Centre  /  Free / Drop-In

Saturday 19th, 11.00-16.00 and Sunday 20th September, 11.00-15.00

KAPOW! BLAM! BOOM! Calling all superhero wannabes! Be inspired by your favourite comic book villains with graphic artists.

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National Trust Nostell Priory & Parkland: Nostell's Places in Your Words

No description available

19th September 2015  /   11:00 - 15:00  /   Nostell Priory  /  Normal admission charges apply (free to National Trust members) / Booking not required

You'll find countless views, vistas, rooms and spaces at Nostell Priory that inspire a sense of wonder, both inside and out. 

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Laura Barnett: The Version of Us

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19th September 2015  /   14:00 - 15:00  /   Wakefield Library and Museum  /  Free / Booking Essential

Laura Barnett is an author, arts journalist and theatre critic. 'The Versions of Us' is her first novel and was one of the Observer’s New Faces of Fiction 2015.

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Yew Tree Youth Theatre presents ‘Just a Pretty Face’ and ‘Mugged’

19th September 2015  /   19:00 - 21:30  /   Cathedral Academy  /  Tickets £5 / 14 + yrs

A double bill of drama performed by the talented young people of Yew Tree Youth Theatre. Book via info@yew-tree.com

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Poetry reading with Helen Burke

No description available

19th September 2015  /   19:00 - 20:00  /   The Orangery  /  Free / No need to book

Helen Burke has been widely published and has read in both Europe and America. Reading from her collections, come along as she takes you on her travels both old and new.

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On An Eastern Breeze

No description available

19th September 2015  /   19:15 - 20:15  /   Chantry Chapel  /  Free / Booking Essential

An evening of oriental music and poetry performed by Sankakei - a trio of poets featuring Amina Alyal,Oz Hardwick, and musician Michael Graham.

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Throwing Mother in the Skip

No description available

19th September 2015  /   19:30 - 20:30  /   Red Shed  /  Free, no need to book

Join Red Shed Poetry prize winner 2014 William Thirsk-Gaskill for a reading and launch of his debut poetry collection, Throwing Mother In the Skip.

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Literary Quiz with Quizzical Yorkshire

No description available

19th September 2015  /   20:00 - 23:00  /   The Orangery  /  £4 / £3 Concession

Join stand-up comedian Sally Bigwood and a team of local actors from Hands On Arts as they test your literary grey matter in this fun evening celebrating all things relating to books.

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Sun 20

Women’s Writes - Anthology Launch and Reading

No description available

20th September 2015  /   13:00 - 15:00  /   Mocca Moocho  /  Free / Please book

Join this Wakefield based women’s poetry group for the launch of a new anthology with selected readings by featured poets along with an open mic slot.

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Wakefield to Zambia

No description available

20th September 2015  /   14:00 - 15:00  /   The Orangery  /  £5

Be transported to Africa without leaving your seat with singer songwriter Ali Bullivent for a captivating performance of original poetical and lyrical music written in and about Wakefield, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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The Drawings of Barbara Hepworth

No description available

20th September 2015  /   14:30 - 16:00  /   The Hepworth Wakefield  /  Free / Booking Essential

Join Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield as he chairs a discussion about the drawings of Barbara Hepworth to coincide with Hepworth exhibitions at the gallery and a major retrospective at Tate Britain and the publication of Alan Wilkinson’s The Drawings of Barbara Hepworth.

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Woodland Wanderings

No description available

20th September 2015  /   Meet at the car park, Newmillerdam.  /  Free / 16:00-17:30 / No need to book

Take a tranquil guided walk around the historical and picturesque lake and woodlands at Newmillerdam Country Park.

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My Big Phat Writers Group present Short Phat Scripts

No description available

20th September 2015  /   19:00 - 21:00  /   The Orangery  /  Free / Please book

Join Yorkshire-based writers group as they explore the work of writers for a fast and furious script scratch night.

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Mon 21

Free Spoken Word Taster Sessions For 16-25s

No description available

21st September 2015  /   18:00 - 20:00  /   The Art House  /  Free / Please book

Try your hand at spoken word in a fun and friendly environment

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A Year of Cake with Lynn Hill

No description available

21st September 2015  /   18:30 - 20:30  /   The Orangery  /  Pay what you like / Please book

Wakefield Clandestine Cake Club presents a talk with Lynn Hill on the history of the Clandestine Cake Club from it’s early beginnings in Leeds to a global phenomenon

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Wakefield Civic Society presents: A Taste of Honey

No description available

21st September 2015  /   19:30 - 22:00  /   Major Hall, Unity Works  /  £6 / £4 Concession

This black and white film released in 1961, is based on the play of the same name by Shelagh Delaney.

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Tue 22

A Window to the Inner Self: The Letters of Esther Milnes of Wakefield, 1771-1773

No description available

22nd September 2015  /   10:30 - 12:30  /   West Yorkshire Archive Service, The Registry of Deeds  /  Free / Please book

Explore historical letters as a source of inspiration in the age of the email, text and tweet.

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History Wardrobe presents Gothic For Girls

No description available

22nd September 2015  /   14:00 - 15:30  /   Wakefield Library and Museum  /  Free / Booking Essential / Suitable for 16yrs +

The dark drama of black in fashion, and the best of British supernatural stories.

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Tall Tales 2: This Time It's Personal!

No description available

22nd September 2015  /   19:00 - 21:00  /   Mocca Moocho  /  Free / No need to book

Wakefield Word presents a new Tall Tales event. Members and invited guests perform short stories and poems with play scenes for audience participation.

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The Anglo-Saxons and Why They Matter with Michael Wood

No description available

22nd September 2015  /   19:30 - 21:00  /   Westgate Chapel  /  £10 / £7 Concessions

Join leading historian, broadcaster and Lit Fest patron Michael Wood as he looks back before the Norman Conquest to find the real roots of English culture.

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Wed 23

Wacky Wednesday

23rd September 2015  /   10:15 - 11:00  /   National Coal Mining Museum  /  Free / Drop-In

Drop in to the National Coal Mining Museum for storytelling, singing and craft activities at Parkinson's Yard and wacky craft sessions in the Learning Curve. 

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People's History and the National Story with Michael Wood

No description available

23rd September 2015  /   11:00 - 12:30  /   Featherstone Library  /  Free, please book via Featherstone Library

Join historian Michael Wood and delve into the history of England and reveal different perspectives on history and how every place has its part in the national story.

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New Writing North in association with Sage Gateshead presents: The Man on the Moon musical workshop

No description available

23rd September 2015  /   16:00 - 17:00  /   Featherstone Library  /  Free / Please book via Featherstone Library

Please book via Featherstone Library 01977 722 745 / featherstonelibrary@wakefield.gov.uk A chance for mini astronauts to put on their space boots and chart a musical exploration through the galaxy.

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Uncovering Digital Fiction

No description available

23rd September 2015  /   18:00 - 19:15  /   The Orangery  /  Free / No need to book

Digital artists Andy Campbell and Judi Alston invite you to explore behind-the-scenes of their latest digital fiction/narrative game WALLPAPER.

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Word Life - Open mic night with Mark Grist and Leeds Young Authors.

No description available

23rd September 2015  /   19:00 - 21:30  /   Unity Works Cafe Bar  /  Pay what you like / Please book

Co-presented by WE ARE and somewhereto_

Word Life is one of the leading wave of literature nights that have ridden the rising popularity of spoken word in recent years by presenting some of the most entertaining contemporary poets on the live circuit. 

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Thu 24

Animal Story Time with Lion Learners

No description available

24th September 2015  /   09:30 - 10:30  /   Featherstone Library  /  Free, no booking required

Join in a special story time and meet and meet the animal stars – there could be a rabbit, a hedgehog and even a snake! Suitable for children under five.

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Get It off Your Chest!

No description available

24th September 2015  /   13:00 - 15:00  /   Agbrigg and Belle Vue Community Centre  /  Free / Please book

Got something to say but don't know how to express it? Pop along to this open workshop to develop your writing and spoken word skills. 

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National Trust Nostell Priory & Parkland: Open Book Days

No description available

24th September 2015  /   13:00 - 15:30  /   Nostell Priory & Parkland  /  Thursday 24th & Friday 25th September / 13:00-15:30 / Booking not required. Normal admission charges apply (free to National Trust members)

Nostell houses one of Yorkshire’s key historic libraries, with many beautiful books that are too delicate to exhibit every day. 

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Animal Story Time with Lion Learners

No description available

24th September 2015  /   14:15 - 15:15  /   Horbury Library  /  Free, no booking required

Join in a special story time and meet the animal starts - there could be a rabbit, a hedgehog and even a snake! 

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Poetry Reading with Gareth Durasow

No description available

24th September 2015  /   18:00 - 19:30  /   Waterstones Wakefield  /  Free / Booking Essential

Join Gareth Durasow author of 'Endless Running Games' for a night of poetry.

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An Evening of Nordic Noir with Simon Pasternak and Kenneth Degnbol

No description available

24th September 2015  /   19:30 - 21:00  /   The Orangery  /  £6 / £4 Concession

Join former Observer crime critic Peter Guttridge for a discussion with bestselling Danish authors Simon Pasternak and one half of the writing duo behind Sander Jakobsen, Kenneth Degnbol.

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Red Shed Readings presents Cresties

No description available

24th September 2015  /   19:30 - 21:00  /   Eye Wood  /  £4 / £2 Concession / Please book via lippice@mac.com or call 07401 221299

A showcase of Red Shed talent with a continuous, scripted collection of poems and short stories, some set to music, on the theme of identity, exile, relationships, love and loss.

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Fri 25

Well Women’s Centre presents Inspired By Goddesses

No description available

25th September 2015  /   12:00 - 14:00  /   Westgate Studios  /  Free / Women Only Group Workshop / 12:00-13:00 / 13:00pm-14:00

Immerse yourself in a ‘henge’ space formed by Goddess sculptures by artist John Harrison in a workshops led by by Sarah Cobham. Limited availability, please book in advance by emailing sarahcobham@hotmail.com.

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Creating a Character with Debbie Taylor

No description available

25th September 2015  /   14:00 - 16:00  /   Wakefield Library and Museum  /  Free / Booking essential

Led by Debbie Taylor, editor, novelist, journalist, author of Herring Girl and founder of Mslexia, the magazine for women writers this creative writing workshop will focus on creating a character.

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Children's Writing Challenge

25th September 2015  /   17:30 - 18:15  /   Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Queen Elizabeth Grammar School  /  Free / No need to book

Beam has worked in partnership with Wakefield Grammar School Foundation and poet Andy Craven-Griffiths to offer a Children’s Writing Challenge to Year 5 pupils in Primary Schools across the Wakefield District.

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The Art House presents Maeve Rendle

No description available

25th September 2015  /   18:00 - 19:00  /   Art House  /  Free / Please book via the-arthouse.org.uk

The Art House presents artist Maeve Rendle's hour-long performance 'On Summary In Freedom'.  Please book the-arthouse.org.uk

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At the Coalface: The memoir of a pit nurse, Joan Hart and Veronica Clark

25th September 2015  /   18:00 - 19:30  /   The Orangery  /  Free / Please book

Join former pit nurse Joan Hart along with staff and objects from the National Coal Mining Museum, for an evening of reminiscence of her time tending the miners during a career spanning 46 years, many of which were spent as a pit nurse in Doncaster.

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Nick Arnold and his Horrible Sciences

No description available

25th September 2015  /   18:30 - 20:30  /   Queen Elizabeth Hall, Queen Elizabeth Grammar School  /  £5 / £3 Concession / Under 16yrs

If you think science is boring think again and prepare yourself for an explosive family event!

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Women's Voices Ring Out

No description available

25th September 2015  /   19:00 - 21:30  /   Westgate Studios  /  Free / Please book

Join Sarah Cobham, poet, writer and public speaker for an open mic session focusing on women’s voice. Please book via sarahcobham@hotmail.com

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Black Horse Poets present: Wakefield Hears!

No description available

25th September 2015  /   19:30 - 21:00  /   Wakefield Cathedral  /  Free / No need to book

Wakefield Hears! is a night of poetry and music, a sequel to the pre-festival Wakefield Writes!  

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Sat 26

Lit Fest @ Red Shed

No description available

26th September 2015  /   11:00 - 17:15  /   Red Shed  /  Free / Please book via shedwriting@btinternet.com

Free events and workshops happening all day at Red Shed in participation of Wakefield Literature Festival 2015.  Please book shedwriting2015@btinternet.com.

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Big Read

No description available

26th September 2015  /   11:00 - 11:30  /   Multiple Venues  /  Free / 3 - 8yrs

Take part in Lit Fest 2015 as we read the same book 'Dog Loves Drawing' by Louise Yates at at the same time at venues across the district. Get involved and organise your own event!

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How to Write, Produce, Publish and Promote a Book in 2015

No description available

26th September 2015  /   12:00 - 15:30  /   The Orangery  /  Free / Please book

Get the literary low down with Diane Hall, consultant, writing coach and developmental editor at this practical clinic on writing, editing, production and marketing for the indie/self-publishing author and those looking to secure their first publishing deal.

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Trinity Heroes Premiere Event

No description available

26th September 2015  /   Trinity Walk Shopping Centre  /  12:00-13:00 & 14:00-15:00 / Free, drop in / For all the family

A red carpet premiere event for all the family with a special superhero appearance!

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Lyrics Workshop with Andy Craven-Griffiths

26th September 2015  /   13:00 - 15:00  /   Art House  /  £5 / 11-14yrs

Have you got the 'X' factor? 

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How to Make (Awesome) Comics Workshop

No description available

26th September 2015  /   14:00 - 15:30  /   Wakefield Library  /  Free / Booking Essential / 7 - 12 yrs

With Neill Cameron, this is a workshop where Neill shows participants how to generate (awesome) ideas for comics, and then how to turn those ideas into a comic story!

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Artists as Living Books

No description available

26th September 2015  /   14:30 - 17:00  /   The Hepworth Wakefield  /  Free / Drop-In

Wander round the galleries and perhaps you will have a chance encounter with one of our living books.

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Comic Book Workshop

No description available

26th September 2015  /   15:30 - 17:00  /   Wakefield Library and Museum  /  Free / Please book / 8-12 yrs

Be inspired to create your own comic and meet the people behind a reworking of local hero Charles Waterton's life story written by local historian John Whitaker and illustrated by John Welding.

* Please note children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Kate Fox - Spoken Word Workshop (14 yrs +)

No description available

26th September 2015  /   16:00 - 17:30  /   The Orangery  /  £5 / Please book / 14+yrs

Build confidence and have fun trying out ways of writing and performing spoken word and poetry.

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Bedtime Stories with Natalie Bellingham

No description available

26th September 2015  /   16:30 - 17:30  /   Waterstones Wakefield  /  Free / Please book / 2-4yrs

Join storyteller Natalie Bellingham as they read your favorite bedtime story 'Oliver Who Would Not Sleep'. Bring your little ones all bathed, in PJ's and ready for bed and we’ll provide milk, cookies and a good bedtime read.

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Yew Tree Youth Theatre presents Robin Hood

No description available

26th September 2015  /   18:00 - 19:00  /   The Hepworth Wakefield Playground  /  Pay what you decide / Please book via info@yew-tree.com

Centuries after the original Robin Hood is claimed to have walked the streets of Wakefield the poor and oppressed people of the city are still in need of a hero, could new comer Brin be just what they are looking for? 

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Kate Rusby

No description available

26th September 2015  /   19:00 - 22:00  /   Unity Works  /  £22.50 / £15 Concession / Doors Open 7pm

Winner of four Radio 2 awards, accomplished award-winning singer song writer, Kate Rusby performs a fine choice of much-loved classics from her extensive back catalogue stretching over two decades of music making. Witness Kate’s finely tuned songwriting skills and musical vocabulary along with a selection of new songs from her current album ‘Ghost’.

Presented in partnership with Unity Works.

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Kate Fox

No description available

26th September 2015  /   19:30 - 20:30  /   Orangery  /  £8 / £6 Concession

Join one of the North's top stand up poets who has made numerous appearances on Radio 4, Radio 3 and is described by Sarah Millican as "Quirky, funny and a wonderful writer".

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Sun 27

Manasamitra presents Lullaby, The Singing Bowl Workshop

No description available

27th September 2015  /   11:00 - 11:45  /   The Orangery  /  Free / Please book

A creative workshop sharing and exploring lullabies from across the world, led by Supriya Nagarajan and sound artist Duncan Chapman.

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Manasamitra presents Lullaby, The Singing Bowl Performance

No description available

27th September 2015  /   11:45 - 12:30  /   The Orangery  /  £5 / Children Free (up to 5yrs)

A contemporary exploration of night-time sounds interspersed with lullabies from India.

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'Diary of a Wakey Kid' Workshop

27th September 2015  /   13:00 - 15:00  /   Art House  /  Free / Please book / 12+yrs

Discover the joy of writing with diary aficionado with Ben Davis

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Nine Lives by Zodwa Nyoni, West Yorkshire Playhouse & Channel 4 Writer in Residence 2014

No description available

27th September 2015  /   15:00 - 16:00  /   Orangery  /  £5 / £3 Concession

Nine Lives - a play written by Zodwa Nyoni, West Yorkshire Playhouse / Channel 4 Writer in Residence 2014

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Writers from Wakefield: Jane Steele, Debs Robinson & live music from Pete Rosser

Peter Rosser

27th September 2015  /   15:00 - 16:30  /   Odd Things Shop, Walton  /  Free / Donations to Wakefield Hospice

Relax with an afternoon of poetry with Jane Steele - writer and actress from Wakefield via Trinidad and Debs Robinson for whom poetry is a relatively new adventure along with musical performances by Pete Rosser, one half of the acoustic duo Truffleshack who will dust down his squeezebox for this one off gig.

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Bedtime Stories

No description available

27th September 2015  /   16:30 - 17:30  /   Mulberry House Nursery  /  Free / Please book / 2-4yrs

Pop on your PJs and join storytellers Alice Proctor and Berni O’Brien as they read a favorite bedtime story 'Oliver Who Would Not Sleep'. We’ll provide milk & cookies!

Please note children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Ian McMillan - Neither Nowt Nor Summat

No description available

27th September 2015  /   19:30 - 21:00  /   Westgate Chapel  /  £10 / £7 Concessions

This hugely popular and entertaining poetry superstar returns to Wakefield Lit Fest to explore the meaning of Yorkshire.

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Changing Faces by The Merry West Collective, Amy Charles and Rachel Watson

No description available

27th September 2015  /   21:00 - 23:00  /   The Orangery  /  Free / No need to book

Explore Wakefield as an evolving city through this creative collaboration of spoken word, performance and film by local artists Amy Charles and Rachel Watson.

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Wakefield Lit Fest Wrap Party

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27th September 2015  /   21:00 - 23:30  /   The Orangery  /  Free / Drop-In

To mark the end of Wakefield Lit Fest 2015 we want to go out with a bang so join the Lit Fest team and special guests for informal drinks, poetry and performance. Everyone welcome, no need to book.

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Our Supporters



With special thanks to Alison Cassels, John Clarke, Ian Clayton, Dan Conboy, Steve Dearden, Murray Edwards, Dean Freeman, Stephen May, Kevin Trickett, Sara Unwin, Michael Wood, Andy Wright and to all our fantastic festival partners, writers, performers and volunteers for your continued enthusiasm and support.

The Beam Lit Fest Team: Hollie Latham & Natalie Walton, Lit Fest Co-ordinators; with Frances Smith, Robert Powell, Emma Butler, Suzie Cross, Helen Ainsley and Rachel Price.