The Huddersfield Literature Festival (HLF) has announced its March programme, with most events taking place online for the second year in a row, due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
In 2020, the Festival was due to launch on 18 March, but the Festival team took the decision to move to online activities two days earlier, a week before the official lockdown came into force.
This year’s online programme will run from 18-28 March with the theme of ‘Escape’. Events will include talks with high-profile names such as Alexander McCall Smith, author of the No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, crime writer Peter Robinson, who created the popular Yorkshire-set DI Banks crime fiction series, and journalist Saima Mir who will chat about her debut crime novel The Khan with Bradford-based crime writer AA Dhand.
Celebrating wellbeing and lifestyle, Bernadette Russell will give tips on How to Be Hopeful, Georgina Wilson-Powell will solve everyday eco-dilemmas as discussed in her new book Is It Really Green? and celebrated TV chef and cookery author Ching He Huang will demonstrate a vegan recipe from her new book: Asian Green.
In a special University of Huddersfield event, Johny Pitts will talk about his book: Afropean: Notes from Black Europe, while University Professor of Contemporary Poetry, Heather Clark will discuss her new book, Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath with Dave Haslam (author of Sylvia Plath in Paris, 1956).
Participants can escape into creative writing workshops too – on subjects as diverse as Writing Text for Music, Overcoming Writer’s Block and Fiery Flash Fiction.
Meanwhile, Dark Horse Theatre, a local company featuring actors with learning disabilities, has been commissioned by the Festival to produce three short films about lockdown in a series called #OutBreakOut.
To commemorate the anniversary of the first Covid-19 Lockdown on 23 March, the Festival is creating a spectacular Lockdown Lantern Installation in the courtyard of the Lawrence Batley Theatre, with an online Lockdown Poems event the same day with award-winning poet Kei Miller, Chérie Taylor Battiste and Michelle Scally Clarke.
Finally, community groups across Huddersfield are being invited to take part in the HLF/Woven Book Trail project by using repurposed fabrics and other recycled materials to recreate a favourite character or scene from a book, with prizes for each area winner and an overall winner.
All booking details and information are on the Festival website: https://www.huddlitfest.org.uk/
Festival Director Michelle Hodgson says: “We didn’t expect to be running a second Festival in lockdown conditions, but fortunately we have an experienced and agile team, and bookings are already very strong as people look for positive and creative outlets during challenging times.”
She continues: “The Festival now has Safer Event accreditation to ensure that when we do return to live events later in the year, the safety of performers, audiences, staff and volunteers will be the primary priority.”