Leicester Writes

Sunday 28th June 2015

Literary finale

The Leicester Writes festival reached its resounding conclusion tonight with a showcase finale held at The Exchange. In the streets of the cultural quarter, the Indian Summer festival was in full swing. Large number of people were enjoying the warmth of a sunny afternoon the music, food and arts activities that were on offer.

As you would expect of the literati, they had put pen to paper and come up a compelling description of this event:

Join us for a spectacular finale as Leicester’s hottest literary talent takes over the floor per perform their latest work

Well that was enough to get me into the cool, shade of the Exchange’s cellar. Opening the show poet Lydia Towsey began with her poem ‘Baby’, a lively and amusing work that drew enthusiastic acclaim from the audience. When she described Nigel Farage as ‘toad of toad hall, the audience chortled and clapped; another absorbing work, this time about politics. The curiously named ‘Night Fishing’ was a reference to the said UKIP leader’s favourite hobby.

Truti Chauhan’s opening work was about experiences with online dating. A beautifully composed piece that was full of surprising witticisms and sharp metaphors.

Jenny Hibbert delivered her work from memory, enabling her to enhance her delivery with a variety of gestures and actions. She gave us a vibrant set complemented with a plentiful supply of imagery.

Tim Grayson is someone I have known for several years; a Leicester artist who had given us some ground-breaking work as a poetry and playwright. As the founder of the ‘Brothellian movement‘ he made a notable impact on our local literary scene.  Tim’s lyrical poems were ripe with verbal fruits. Reciting from memory, he also was able to enhance his performance with gesturing. A remarkable talent who delivered an engaging set.

Our next performing probably needs no introduction.  Carol Leeming was born in Jamaica but raised in Leicester. Her magnus opus  Choreopoem has been widely acclaimed, making her one of Leicester’s most celebrated literary figures. Having opened with her piece storm  Carol went to recite a couple of short works that focused on Leicester.

Comedian Ishi Khan-Jackson  appeared at Dave’s Leicester Comedy festival in 2012. She was dressed in her trade-mark colourful sari and enchanted the audience with her mad cap humour.

The line-up also included a number of open-mic artists some of whom proved to be discoveries.
A very enjoyable afternoon,  made this unusual event a successful and rewarding conclusion to the new literary festival.

Friday 26th June

Top Leicester author at launch event

Leicester Writes Festival got off to a flying start with a presentation by Jamie Mollart.

Author of The Zoo, Jamie Mollart read three extracts from his book and talked to the audience about how he wrote it.

Author Jamie Mollart at the launch event of Leicester Writes
Author Jamie Mollart at the launch event of Leicester Writes

The Leicester author answered questions from the audience.  Jamie talked about the nuts and bolts of writing and gave some insights into the world of literary agents and publishing.

In answer to a question from the audience, Jamie said his novel had been written in the present tense, in order to give a sense of immediacy.

You can find out more about Jamie Mollart on his website

23rd June 2015

Celebrate Writing

A new literary event will celebrate regional and diverse writing.

Leicester Writes will take place across three days on the last weekend of June in Leicester’s cultural Quarter. (26-28 June)

The festival of new writing, organised by small press Dahlia Publishing hopes to give home grown talent a platform to showcase their writing and connect writers living in the region.

The festival launch takes place at Phoenix Square with a Q&A with Amazon rising star, Jamie Mollart. Other highlights across the weekend include An audience event with Bali Rai, Nikesh Shukla’s home truths about being a contemporary novelist and Rod Duncan and Kerry Young sharing their invaluable insights about writing.

Festival organiser, Farhana Shaikh said: ‘The city’s literary scene is awash with talent but not everyone’s plugged in. This festival gives everyone an opportunity to find out more about the great writers we have living and working in Leicestershire.”

Leicester has a long history of producing successful writers, including Joe Orton, Sue Townsend, and Graham Joyce. A new wave of emerging talent is following in their footsteps. Writers Mark Newman and Rebecca Burns will perform at the festival finale while Mahsuda Snaith will share her secrets to writing success in a fun-filled interactive session.

The full programme is now available and tickets can be purchased online via the festival website.

See also:

Top comedian comes to Leicester

Our review of The Car Man at Curve

Find out about the spoken word