The word’s out: York Literature Festival is back! With a special focus on historical fiction, an exciting array of events will bring the past alive.
The ten-day jamboree brings a wide variety of authors, artists, book readings, talks and events to venues across York.
This year sees the return of the York Literature Festival HUB, a strand of events run by writing groups in the local area, all taking place within York Theatre Royal.
Here’s a rundown of some it’s wildest wordy events and highlights.
York St John University
Mar 15 @ 7.30pm
Doing what York does best, the festival launch celebrates the best and brightest talent the city has to offer through a series of readings to launch The York Centre for Writing.
The highlight will be an interview with York bookshop The Little Apple’s very own Fiona Mozley whose debut novel Elmet was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
After a lengthy stint abroad Mozley has returned to the fountain of her inspiration, citing the wild landscapes of Yorkshire and York’s very own historic Mystery Plays as key influences on her literary fiction.
Lucy Worsley on Jane Austen
York Theatre Royal
Mar 21st @ 7.30pm
Stepping out of our Sunday night television schedules and straight into York’s Theatre Royal is Dr Lucy Worsley.
Historian and chief curator at the Historic Royal Palaces she is perhaps best known for her television documentaries on royals, empire and her wryly titled series A Very British murder.
Visiting Jane Austen’s childhood home, schools and writing haunts Worsley’s best-selling biography Jane Austen at Home promises to take us on an intimate and alternate tour of this famous literary figure.
A Sunday Times best-seller, this is Jane Austen brought to life like never before, a passionate original woman who , much like her heroine Lizzy Bennet can barely be contained by the pages of a book…
Sir Simon Jenkins on rails
St Peter’s School
Mar 17th @ 7.30pm
Best-selling author and journalist Sir Simon Jenkins brings us a British tale of steam innovation and railway history.
Having travelled the length and breadth of the nation’s railways Jenkins’ bestseller is an ode to the buildings that connect us on our journeys.
The meetings, greeting’s and stories contained within the walls of our stations are explored in this talk.
Beautiful and informative this promises to be a special gesture to these often-overlooked features of Britain’s transport history.
Janina Ramirez on mysticism
York St. John, Temple Hall
Mar 16th @7.00pm
As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote, Dr Janina Ramirez brings to us a powerful female writer from pages of medieval history.
Her work on Julian of Norwich, the first woman known to have written in English, explores an alternate world to the medieval period often associated with dark and austere Christian tradition.
Through Norwich, Ramirez shows us how literary geniuses were reframing their world through female gods and life without sin. Delightful and surprising, this talk is well worth setting aside an evening for.
Lindsey Fitzharris on surgery
St. Peter’s School
Mar 24th @7.00pm
Medical historian Dr Lindsay Fitzharris takes us on a tour of the gruesome history of surgery!
Fitzharris recounts how the innovation of science and entrepreneurial spirit of the Victorians met when surgeon Joseph Lister transformed the profession of surgery forever.
From a bloody business of butchery to the medical miracle we know today, this is a talk that promises to fascinate and horrify in equal measure.
Phil Manning on dinosaurs
St. Peter’s School
Mar 24th @ 3pm
Dinosaurs, so distant in our history that they now seem almost mythical… what can we possibly know about these monstrous giants that trod our earth 65 million years ago?
Dr Manning, Professor of Natural History at the University of Manchester believes he has an insight for us.
Through recent discoveries made in Mexico, scientists now believe they have happened upon new and fascinating material which can tell us more about the mass extinction of our ancient ancestors. Dr Manning reveals all.
Poetry for all
Mar 24th @7pm
£10 or £7 concessions
A new exciting addition to the literature festival this year, a poetry event centred around inclusion. Sponsored by Yorsensory the evening will include a BSL interpreter, big screen projections of poems submitted in advance and assistive animals for the hearing and non hearing and carers:
Yorks own Imogen Godwin has made quiet a splash on the York scene featuring last year at York’s Disability Pride 2017. Her challenging and tender poetry explores what it means to be ‘normal’ and celebrates the diversity and complexity of the human mind.
He touches upon themes ranging from his identity as the child of an immigrant to his experience of poetry as a hearing aid user. Poignant and powerful, he uses art to express different ways of being and enables his audience to experience alternative sensory existences.
As a deaf poet, Donna uses British sign language in order to perform her poetry all around the world as well as at renowned events like the Edinburgh fringe. From cats to heartbreak, her poetry is a unique experience which hearing and none hearing audiences alike can enjoy!
YorkMix Poetry Competition
York City Cruises
Mar 25th @5.30pm
The York Literature Festival / YorkMix Poetry Competition 2018 is finally ready to unveil its winners at a floating awards ceremony on the River Ouse!
Launched earlier this year, our judge Andrew McMillan has narrowed 850 entries down to a 30-poem shortlist. McMillan, an esteemed poet and senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan’s Writing School, will also be performing a reading of his work at the event.
Aside from literary fame and honour, the poets are competing for a top prize of £600, with smaller cash prizes for runners up. Ticket for the scenic ceremony can be booked here.
Mar 26th @ 7pm
The murky depths of Noir fiction are usually associated with the dirty underbelly of London or the mean streets of New York.
Increasingly however, writers are beginning to look to the North of England as a backdrop for their Noir thrillers and, thinking of the bleak landscapes of Yorkshire or the spiralling gothic spires of York Minster, it’s easy to see why.
York Lit Fest director Rob O’Connor will be in conversation with authors Robert Scragg and AA Dhand in order to explore further the origins and future of this new Northern Noir genre.
Bradford born Dhaand released his novel Streets of Darkness in 2016 and has since climbed onto the UK’s bestsellers list. Inspired by the cities race riots in 2001, Streets of Darkness is a gritty northern thriller which has drawn comparisons to The Wire.
Robert Scraggs’ What Falls Between the Cracks is due to be released in April 2018, and has already won critical acclaim at the 2016 Theakston Crime Festival.
His detective duo Porter and Styles are born out the North Eastern landscapes Scraggs himself still lives in today.