Plan to revive Wakefield Literature Festival

Louis Kasatkin wants to revive Wakefield literature festival
Louis Kasatkin wants to revive Wakefield literature festival

A poet says he wants to revive Wakefield Lit Fest after this year’s event was scrapped.

Freelance writer Louis Kasatkin wants to take on responsibility for the event after organisers, Beam, relinquished its role.

Writer and broadcaster Ian Clayton, holding a writing workshop at Drury Lane library as part of Wakefield Lit' Fest.'w322a239

Writer and broadcaster Ian Clayton, holding a writing workshop at Drury Lane library as part of Wakefield Lit' Fest.'w322a239

Usually held in September, Mr Kasatkin, says time is running out to organise this year’s but says he has a plan to rescue the festival.

He said: “There doesn’t seem to be any organisation in Wakefield that wants to take on the lit fest, so I’ve sent some preliminary proposals to take on the organising because it has been abandoned.

“If I can get an answer soon then we can get something for 2019, technically, it’s possible.”

First held in 2012 and backed by Arts Council England, Wakefield Lit Fest saw a series of events held across two weekends at venues around the city, and attracted famous poets, writers, musicians and artists including John Hegley, Roger McGough and Ian Clayton.

But Mr Kasatkin, who co-founded the Destiny Poets group in Wakefield, feels the approach over the years has led to its downfall.

He says much of the festival’s budget had been blown on attracting famous faces.

“I want to reboot it to what it should have been in the first place - to encourage local talent who will showcase their own work,” he said.

“There are about 400 literature festivals around Britain and they all follow the same template, they spend most of their budget on attracting big national names to help draw in the crowds. There won’t be any bureaucracy involved or big names picking up a huge pay cheque.

“With clear, sensible proposals it will be micro events at micro venues.”

Wakefield Council spokesman, Tom Stannard, said the council had no formal involvement with the festival, but welcomed the idea.

He added: “We would like to thank Mr Kasatkin for his interest in developing a new literature festival.

“The council is currently developing, alongside our cultural partners, a range of activities to support improving literacy across the district.

“We would be happy to hear more about his plans for a festival.”