"We want to celebrate Bradford’s literary heritage and the many communities that make up this city."
September 26, 2014 sees the Bradford Literature Festival: The Wonderful World of Words open its doors across the city.
It will unite avid book lovers and cultural devotees with a unique insight into some of the greatest literary works from 60 incredible authors, both local and from across the world.
A unique festival in itself, the launch weekend will offer a taster of what to expect when the official festival takes place in May 2015.
The weekend will see special events take place at the University of Bradford, City Hall, Impressions Gallery, National Media Museum and Theatre in the Mill.
The Festival has been created by Syima Aslam and Irna Qureshi in a joint effort to promote literature in the region. Culture Squared is the community interest company that has been founded by the two.
The organisation specifically highlights and showcases cultural events that celebrate the diverse and multicultural communities that exist in and around Yorkshire.
Speaking about the vital importance of the festival, Syima says: “We are delighted to unveil the programme for the launch weekend of Bradford Literature Festival.
“The depth and breadth of the festival programme is a first, not only for Bradford but also the UK.
“This is an exciting time for Bradford and the festival is a key component of both the cultural and economic regeneration of the city.”
Bradford is commonly mistaken for a lack of literary or intellectual clout, but together Syima and Irna attempt to tackle this perception head on and showcase the superb talents that exist there.
Irna Qureshi, Festival Co-Director adds: “The festival has been programmed to encourage cohesiveness and to promote literacy as well as cultural understanding.
“We want to celebrate Bradford’s literary heritage and the diversity of the many communities that make up this wonderful city.”
The launch weekend which is spread across three days will see 25 events in different parts of the cultural city. 60 authors, speakers and artists will showcase their work.
Friday 26th will see a number of children’s events including a visit down memory lane with Enid Blyton’s Famous Five classics as presented by Julian himself!
Saturday 27th will delve into a little of Bradford’s history and heritage with a historical Bradford Tour that will take visitors to the Bradford Police Museum on a journey of crime and punishment dating back to the Victorian era.
Authors Steve Antony, Karen McCombie, will offer master classes and talks of their latest works, The Queen’s Hat and The Girl Who Wasn’t There. Kate Rhodes and Penny Hancock will offer an insightful creative writing session to encourage budding Crime writers.
Another highlight is a panel discussion with popular poet Lemn Sissay, comedian and columnist Shazia Mirza, Damian Le Bas, and Brian Liddy who together will explore ‘The Meaning of Identity in Contemporary Britain’.
London College of Fashion professor Reina Lewis will be joined by the popular ‘Singh Street Style’ founder, Pardeep Singh Bahra, as well as Adviya Khan and Samia Khan, the founders of ‘Hijabilicious’.
Together they will discuss fashion and faith, and the huge eclectic mix of cultural and religious attire and modern styles that exist in the heart of the city.
Also to look forward to is the ‘Lyrical Mehfil’ which will welcome a number of outstanding poets, musicians and spoken word artists including accomplished table player Inder Goldfinger, poet and novelist Joolz Denby, award-winning playwright Atar Hadari, Wordsworth Trust Poet-in-Residence Zaffar Kunial, and British singer Katy Carr.
On Sunday 28th, Bronte fanatic, Christa Ackroyd will offer a unique historical tour of Bradford that will focus on the Brontë sisters and their Yorkshire upbringing.
There will be a series of exciting master classes all exploring the different genres and styles of literature that are popular today. These include a ‘Manga Anime Comic Workshop’, hosted by Sarah Turner. Lynn Schreiber will run a vitally relevant seminar on Digital Safety aimed towards children and youngsters.
Lynn will also hold a separate seminar on blogging as a tool, while writers Henry R Swindell and Mark Catley will offer an excellent master class on ‘Writing for Stage and Screen’.
The weekend will end with a spiritual evening of ‘Sacred Poetry’ at the Bradford Synagogue.
Celebrating the incredible diversity of the city in its truest form, the poetry session will be led by prominent artists including Rudi Leavor, Shivali, Omar Esa, Shabnam Khan, Atar Hadari, Supriya Nagarajan, and Ustad Harbhajan Singh.
In what promises to be a spectacular weekend of celebrating heritage, literature, art, culture and diversity, the Bradford Literary Festival Launch will continue through to September 28, 2014.
The Launch Weekend offers a taster of what visitors can expect for the 10 day festival that will take place between Friday 15th May and Sunday 24th May 2015.
For more details about the Launch Weekend, or the Bradford Literature Festival in general, please visit the Festival website.