Warra Lorra Lit Fests

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The Travelling Suitcase Library at Wakefield Lit Fest

Last week I was invited to the Artwalk event at Wakefield Lit Fest. the debut festival celebrating the written word in Wakefield.

I lived in Wakefield from 2003-2004, and have mixed feelings about my time in the town. For the most part, I remember a friendly, if not particularly stylish, community similar to the one I’d left back home. I worked in the Wacky Warehouse of my local pub and made some amazing friends there, as well as being paid to draw on children’s faces, which is always fun.

Now I return to find Wakefield has become, well, a little bit classy.

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Note the fluffy owl earrings…

 The Orangery, where my book swap was based, is a gorgeous building, with a very versatile space set within lovely grounds, including a graveyard. Literally round the corner from the station, it would make a cracking little wedding reception venue, if that were your bag.

The Artwalk takes place on the last Wednesday of every other month, has been running since 2008, and is based on a similar idea happening in Seattle. Various venues around Wakefield open their doors and members of the public can enjoy a variety of grassroots art, music and culture. It is a wonderful idea, and seems to be much appreciated by Wakefield’s budding arty community as an alternative night out. Certainly everyone I spoke to was incredibly enthusiastic about it.

The next Artwalk is on Wednesday 28 September, and most venues open from 6-9, though this varies.

As for the Lit Fest itself, I couldn’t have asked for a more pleasant evening. As well as a book swap (which was greatly improved by the addition of a book shelf donated by the festival), there was a exhibition by an artist  and a project by Festival Writer in Residence and all round God, James Nash, who was using the hashtag #wakestory to explore a ‘people’s’ history of Wakefield. There were talks by zine creator Dean Freeman and all round creative Benedict Phillips, both of which I missed due to being involved in important book/earring chats with some local teens (any book swap where I get to talk about Jacqueline Wilson and Accessories feather earrings in the same convo WINS) and there were cupcakes…

…did I mention the cupcakes?

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The cupcakes. OH MY GOD. Claudines Cakes is run by another massive book lover who selflessly provided a LOT of new books for the swap, one of which, The Group by Mary McCarthy I am currently obsessed with. The cakes are just incredible, she does toppings in all kinds of themes, from Peter Rabbit and Alice in Wonderland to gothic red roses and teeny little books. They are also very reasonably priced and very very tasty. Recommended. Image

I got to talk about why reading for pleasure is so important, self publishing, fairytales and their place in local history, ghost stories, and how amazing Pat Barker (who I am going to see at Ilkey Lit Fest!!!! EEEEEEE!) is. All in all a lovely evening, and a terrific beginning for a lit fest who I hope will just get bigger and bigger.

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Gina and Jo from For Books Sake get stuck into the book swap

 

Next week I’m off to Morley Lit Fest, the week after it’s Ilkley’s turn. This is such a knackering but worth it time of year, and I hope that everyone is taking advantage of it as much as possible!

 

Jess xxx

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