Wakefield Lit Fest will ‘whet everyone’s literary appetite’

Roger McGough will feature at this year's Wakefield Lit Fest. Picture by Colin Clarke
Roger McGough will feature at this year's Wakefield Lit Fest. Picture by Colin Clarke

It was first held in 2012, with the aim of stimulating and celebrating reading and writing across the city.

And Wakefield Lit Fest has done just that, engaging with more than 14,000 people and attracting headliners including Simon Armitage, John Cooper Clarke and Jackie Kay in its short history.

As the literary festival celebrates its fifth birthday, organisers hope this year’s packed programme of 60 events, will “whet everyone’s literary appetite”.

Frances Smith, principal consultant at Beam, which programmes the festival, said: “We’re really excited about the festival this year.

“Working with our fantastic festival partners our ambition is to bring a fresh and dynamic programme that truly offers something for everyone.

“Since Beam programmed the first festival back in 2012 the festival has gone from strength to strength and we’re looking forward to celebrating our fifth festival with all our supporters, festival friends and audiences - and hopefully welcome a few new faces along the way.”

Authors including MP Alan Johnson, Derek Landy, Annabel Pitcher and Jack Sheffield will feature at the festival. And spoken word events will be held by Roger McGough, Hollie McNish and A Firm of Poets.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Red Shed, the festival also presents an evening of Ranting poetry called Stand Up and Spit. Comedian and activist Mark Thomas will also hold an evening of socialist satire.

This year, the festival, funded by the Arts Council England, will host its first ever business event with go-to business expert for BBC TV and Radio, ITV and Sky News Kate Hardcastle.

And it also has its very own beer courtesy of Wakefield Beer Exchange and Castleford’s Revolutions Brewery.

Other highlights include a ‘Pop-up Prose’ installation, a waterways walk, Wakefield Artwalk and a range of workshops and events across Wakefield libraries and museums.

The festival also plays host to the Pontefract Festival of Stories and two ‘festival in a day’ events at The Brig in Altofts and Lightwaves Leisure Centre.

Wakefield Lit Fest takes place from September 23 until October 2.

To see the full list of events and activities, and to book tickets, visit www.wakefieldlitfest.org.uk