Fun-packed literary festival now underway across the Wakefield district

A fun-packed literary festival featuring more than 250 events is now under way across the Wakefield district.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 11:28 am
Updated Friday, 8th October 2021, 11:34 am
A 50th anniversary celebration of much-loved classic children’s picture book “The Tiger Who Came to Tea” is at Pontefract Library.

WordFest, organised by Wakefield Council, started on Friday, October 1, from where the hugely successful Festival of the Earth blazed a trail.

The ecology-themed carnival of the spoken and written word features events with something for everyone at all 12 libraries across the area plus community partner venues.

WordFest runs alongside the ever popular LitFest, a sister festival created by young people aged 14 to 25.

Both continue until the end of October at venues including WX (the former Market Hall) on Union Street in Wakefield.

The WordFest festival has been planned with support from Arts Council England and organisations including the Backstage Academy creative arts and live events institute based at South Kirby.

Libraries are hosting free in-person and online events for all ages, such as author talks, story times, crafts, music and even film screenings.

There will be a major free exhibition featuring a number of art installations and activities for all ages at WX during the school half-term holidays from October 23 to 30 (10am to 4pm daily).

A 50th anniversary celebration of much-loved classic children’s picture book “The Tiger Who Came to Tea” is at Pontefract Library.

The Certainty of Chance Theatre company will be exploring the 70-mile circular Wakefield Way walking route through creative writing.

And visitors can learn about historical Wakefield author Eliza Gleadall through an interactive craft and poetry workshop at Normanton and Sandal libraries on 18 and 19 October.

There are also all kinds of art installations, readings, open-mic events and craft activities throughout WordFest.

Coun Michael Graham, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “Everybody knows that the Wakefield district is associated with sculpture.

“But it’s also got strong associations with the literary world as well, such as being the place where ‘Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding and ‘Chocolat’ author Joanne Harris went to school.

“We’re also the district that produced authors David Peace and Stan Barstow as well as playwright John Godber, so words are very much in our genes.”

Both festivals are themed around the environment and climate change as the Council aims to be a carbon neutral organisation by 2030.

As with the Festival of the Earth, the aim is get residents to think about the steps they could take in their lives to help the Council achieve its target.

Coun Jack Hemingway, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “Both festivals are great and fun events – but they do have a serious message.

“Everyone has an important role to play in tackling climate change and we’re encouraging residents to take whatever steps they can, no matter how small, to help us achieve our target.

“It will put the district at the forefront in responding to one of the biggest challenges facing our world today through words, but most importantly through actions.”

A full list of events can be found at

WordFest is on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok under the handle @WFLibraries and is also on Facebook @WakefieldLibraries.

LitFest is also on Instagram @WakefieldLitFest, Twitter @WakeyLitfest and Facebook @WakeyLitFest.

Visitors can share their experience on social media using the hashtags #WordFest and #MakeWordsCount.