Thursday, 26 February 2015

Their imaginations are Something Else

Sheila Chapman writes:
Poet James Nash with teachers Adrienne Amos and Gemma Midwood
The Year 6 children at Ireland Wood Primary School wrote poems full of passion and imagination about their families, feelings, laughter and love.

They wrote with real skill and read their poems clearly and confidently. As one parent said they found the experience uplifting and emotional and another thought the poetry was emotionally deep and creative.

Here are a few snippets -

Memories meander back to me
From poems about mothers beautiful sunshine a diamond in my heart
...feels like a teddy bear you wish you could keep forever
... like a soft cuddly cushion

From poems about the world and life
... life is my pulse ticking like a clock
.. the earth smells like fresh vanilla ice cream
... the smell of factories and maybe the taste of smoke

From poems about families
... my family is an art gallery
... like birds chirping love
... blasting out with laughter in front of the tele
... like a jigsaw puzzle
... endless trust
... my pumping heart, a robin singing the whole time

From poems about love, feelings and laughter
... like warm powerful music
... like an orchestra playing different tunes
... like the sounds of the xylophone
... like the bursting sweet sensation of fruit

Gemma Midwood the English Leader in the school said
Great to hear and see the children share their writing with confidence and pride. They have obviously been inspired by James, consequently writing emotively and with enthusiasm.
Adrienne Amos the form teacher said

Again, an amazing experience for our children. I have seen their poems develop from good poems to fantastic poems. Such a treat!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Thanks, Christina at Leeds List!

Thanks for your preview, Christina at Leeds List! You're welcome to eat with us on 9 March - Dinner with the Decameron. There's a meal with a Florentine touch, and a couple of saucy Boccaccio stories! 

Don't forget to book in advance for this - 0113 275 5017 - CLICK to find out.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

'We're Not Going Back' - Red Ladder

The brochure is now ready! Email here if you want some to distribute for us.

One or two of you might just have a pdf version sent in the last few days which needs a slight amendment. We've now put that right. Red Ladder's show on Saturday 7 March is actually NOT free - it is six pounds to get in. Here is the programme entry:

We're Not Going Back

A musical evening with Red Ladder Theatre Company

This touring play by Red Ladder commemorates the thirtieth anniversary of the 1984/5 miners’ strike from the vantage point of a well-worn settee in a South Yorkshire pit village home. The play’s cast, writer and musicians gather to perform extracts, sing songs and discuss the impact of the strike, the play and its audiences up and down the country.

8pm New Headingley Club, St Michael’s Road £6

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

What a line-up!

Jo Shapcott, Red Ladder, Dommy B, Jasper Fforde, Nicolette Jones, the cream of Yorkshire crime writers, Peter Spafford, Richard Ormrod, Juliet Barker, Trio Literati... but why name-drop when you can easily get a good idea of everything that is going to take place by clicking here. Currently, there are still a few small updates, but most things are in place. You can start pencilling messages for yourself into your diary.

We're working on the brochure at the moment: it will be as beautifully comprehensive as ever. 

Friday, 19 December 2014

Lemn Sissay is coming to Headingley

Lemn Sissay        Photo: James Ross
Lemn Sissay MBE is now definitely booked for the next LitFest!

He'll be appearing at Leeds City Academy on Friday 20 March in the evening (you are all invited!) and will also speak at a masterclass for school students at Lawnswood on the same day.

Here is a selection of facts:

He is the author of several books of poetry alongside articles, records, public art and plays.

He was an official poet for the London Olympics.

His Landmark Poems are installed throughout Manchester and London, in venues such as The Royal Festival Hall and The Olympic Park.

He is associate artist at Southbank Centre, patron of The Letterbox CLub and The Reader Organisation and inaugural trustee of World Book Night.

Write this into your new diary now! Tickets available nearer the date.

More on Lemn in the coming weeks!

Friday, 5 December 2014

'Own Your Words' at Ralph Thoresby School

Sally Bavage writes:
Two dynamic teachers at Ralph Thoresby School, Kate Wolstenholme and Tom Stubbs, have got a great group of young people together in a poetry club they named Own Your Words. This started earlier this year and is growing week by week.  They are working towards a poetry slam on 2 April at the end of the main programme of LitFest 2015: Something Else.

Kate said, “Several of the group took part in the Ilkley Literature Festival this year, performing at Otley Courthouse alongside pupils from Leeds Grammar School, Fulneck and Gateways. The group all started off feeling uncomfortable on stage; it's so brilliant to see those same pupils transformed into seasoned performers who own the stage and their words!”

Kate has now secured support for Own Your Words to go on a week-long residential course for young writers run by the Arvon Foundation. Guests include Tiffany Murray and Marcus Sedgwick, both established authors of children’s fiction.

Thanks to a grant from the Outer North West Activities Fund, negotiated as part of the Headingley LitFest community programme of work with at least eight local schools, next term there will also be poetry performance coaching available on alternative Thursdays from 3.05 to 4.30 pm.  Established local poet performers like Michelle Scally Clarke will work with young people in the area who wish to come along and explore techniques for releasing their inner poet, using Ralph Thoresby as a hub venue.

One of the original members of Own Your Words, Nida Naqvi, is now in year 11 and helps run the class as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Award.  “I am very grateful for the opportunity to write poetry; it stimulates my creative mind and helps you grow as a person,” she said. She is a member of Leeds Young Authors ( and a fantastic role model for other young people who now “have gained so much self-knowledge and self-confidence they even volunteer to speak in assemblies.”   Emma Blane agreed, adding that the poetry sessions  “Are really fun, it gets your imagination going.”