Morley Literature Festival 2014 is proud to preview A West Yorkshire Playhouse Production

Beryl Burton of Morley

By Maxine Peake

Wednesday 4 June 2014
7:30 pm
Alexandra Hall, Morley Town Hall

Written by celebrated actress Maxine Peake Beryl celebrates the extraordinary sporting achievements of Morley cyclist Beryl Burton.

To celebrate Yorkshire’s role in this year’s Tour de France, this is a specially commissioned adaptation from Maxine Peake’s acclaimed 2012 Radio 4 play and marks her stage writing debut.

Join us for a unique opportunity to view a live rehearsal and to participate in a question and answer session with the cast and director. What better way to be involved in Le Grand Depart?

Please note: this is not a ticketed event. A minimum £1 donation on the door would be welcome

Job Opportunity – Festival Director

Following the departure of the current director after four successful years, Morley Literature Festival Committee is seeking to commission a new Director to programme and deliver the 2014 Festival.

Expressions of interest are invited from suitably qualified, dynamic and enthusiastic professionals who will provide creative leadership for our ambitious festival and engage with a wide range range of stakeholders and audiences.

The post is offered on a freelance basis for a fee of £10,000 and the provisional festival dates are the 4th-12th October 2014. Please download the full job pack here. The closing date for applications is Tuesday the 31st December 2013.

In Bloom

A special thanks to this year’s artists in residence, poet Becky Cherriman and artist Bryony Pritchard who created the beautiful Word on the Street poetry trail using felted shoddy and poetic extracts from poets Julia Deakin, Ian Duhig, Pat Borthwick, Ian Parks, Matthew Hedley Stoppard, Steve Nash, Peter R White, Linda Marshall, Greg White, Oz Hardwick and Michelle Scally Clarke.

Becky’s commissioned poem for the 2013 festival In Bloom, inspired by Morley and created using a selection of crowd sourced words from local people, is printed in full here. Read Becky’s blog for some fascinating detail on the process behind the creation of the poem and how she approached the commission.

Book Lovers Unite!

And that’s exactly what you did! This year the Festival clocked up 26 events with 2,800 people of all ages attending 10 days packed full of activities and talks. Take a look at some of the Festival photos, as we enjoyed talks by Kate Adie, Andy Kershaw, Ned Boulting and others, made bike-powered smoothies, walked Morley through the eyes of artists, poets and historians, and enjoyed cakes based on original Victorian recipes.

Thank you to everyone who came along, to our sponsors and supporters, to the amazing volunteers and Friends of Morley Literature Festival – we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did, and do get in touch if you have any feedback, or ideas for next year’s Festival.


Festival Food

Some of you will be visiting Morley for the first time during the Festival so we asked people on twitter who know the area well to recommend places they like to stop for a bite to eat, or for a cup of great coffee.

Here are their tips.

Cucina, 106a Queen Street, Morley (pictured – with Word on the Street word art installation)

A cafe, bar and restaurant. Lovely people, good food – which is why we’ve invited the Penny University here on Sunday.

Baan Thai, 51D Commercial Street, Morley.

A family-run restaurant who source ingredients from local butchers and grocers. Their ice-cream is from a dairy farm in the nearby Tong Village.

The Oxford Coffee Club, 28 Queen Street, Morley.

It’s namesake opened in 1655 in Oxford, and drew in some of the best scientific minds of that era, who’s regular coffeeshop meetings to share ideas gave birth to the Royal Society we know today. This Oxford Coffee Club, in Morley, is a really popular, friendly and welcoming place to have a cup of tea, a great cup of coffee, a hot chocolate, or a slice of cake and a sandwich. It’s exactly the sort of convivial environment you might stumble into a brilliant conversation.

Cafe Indalo, 27 High Street, Morley

Recommended on our facebook page by a regular customer, for their cakes and lunches.



Alison Weir: A Dangerous Inheritance

What is it about history that we find so addictive? Is it a yearning for a time gone by, with all its strange traditions? Or perhaps it’s the innocence of an age when life, we assume, was much simpler. Whatever it is then I can say I am well and truly addicted to living in the past; to the Tudor period In particular.

My passion for the era was resurrected completely by chance when I stumbled across The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir in 2009 (originally published in 2007). Here, I realised, I had found a true story teller. For a work of nonfiction, the words formed such a rich tapestry of knowledge that could have been woven by any of the courtiers of the time. Though the outcomes never change, Alison told the story enveloped in sumptuous facts that I absorbed and simply couldn’t put down.

I have read all of Alison’s works of fiction, of which there are four with The Lady Elizabeth being my favourite read. It details Elizabeth’s childhood and young adulthood, up unto the point of becoming queen. All the emotional turmoil Elizabeth faced and inner battles with her conscience are so effortlessly described that you go on the breath-taking journey with her.

Alison Weir will be speaking at the Morley Literature Festival on Sunday, and I can’t wait to meet her. She will be talking about her latest novel, A Dangerous Inheritance – a tale of the Lady Katherine Grey as she attempts to uncover what really happens to her cousins, the two Princes in the Tower.

I wonder if she’ll sign my copy? Watch this space!

Catherine Yaff. Catherine can be found tweeting @catherineyaffe

Alison Weir, A Dangerous Inheritance, Sunday 6 October, 2.00pm-3.00pm, St Peter’s Church.
Tickets £6.00.  There will be a few tickets available on the door.

Kids Book Cover Competition

This year’s Festival includes four free kids events at Morley Library:

Written in the Skies: Poetry-making and sky-gazing workshop with Becky Cherriman & Bryony Pritchard (Sunday 6 October)

Storytelling with Matthew Bellwood on Saturday 12 October

A Robot Lab for mini-makers and inventors with Playful Leeds on Sunday 13 October

and…a superb sleuthing workshop with Leeds-based author/illustrator Kate Pankhurst of the Mariella Mystery Investigates series – on Saturday 12 October.

We asked Kate Pankhurst to design a Book Cover Template for you to download & illustrate, for a chance to win a £50.00 voucher to spend at White Rose Shopping Centre.  So here it is.

Colour it in with your own amazing design and with a book title you dream up. Children of any age can enter the competition by the closing date of 13 October. Get those felt tips out……

Scan it in and email it to or bring it to one of the Festival events and hand it to an usher. Put the name and age of the illustrator on it, and a contact email or phone number for the illustrator’s parent.

Interested in volunteering at the festival?

Friends of Morley Literature Festival, a collective of local people working behind the scenes to keep the annual festival friendly and flourishing, are seeking new recruits.

Volunteering is very rewarding. It’s a great way to make friends and put your skills and time to good use, as well as learning new skills. Many people find it enhances their CV too. The Friends find themselves organising writing competitions, book swaps, social events, fundraising and, of course, keeping festival events running smoothly as door staff, ushers and providing audiences with refreshments. There may also be opportunities for people as festival photographers or looking after social media such as Twitter and Facebook. And the great thing about volunteering is you determine how much time you can spare, whether it’s a couple of hours a week or a month.

The Friends operate a membership system which means for just £5 a year you can access exclusive social events and newsletters, and this small annual fee helps keep Friends-led initiatives such as the annual Short Story Competition going.

If you want to know more get in touch with Maria on telephone 07460 287002 or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

2013 Poetry Commission Details

Thanks to funding from Leeds Inspired we’re pleased to announce details of a new poetry commission for the 2013 Festival.  We’re looking for a Northern-based poet or spoken word artist with a playful and collaborative approach to words, to work on a new project, Word on the Street, and help us develop the role of poetry within the festival. 

The deadline for expressions of interest is 25th June so please help us spread the word!  You can download a pdf copy of the Commission brief.

2013 Festival News

With a range of new commissions, public art and headline talks from Val McDermid, Peter Hook, AL Kennedy, Simon Garfield, Stuart Maconie, Gavin Esler and Polly Toynbee among many others, the 2012 festival was another great success.

Planning is now underway for 2013, so pop 5th-13th October in your diary and make sure you join us for another packed programme.  This year’s festival focus will be on fiction and poetry and we’re planning a range of events with our partners Leeds Libraries, Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and others.  Sign up for our e-bulletins to be the first to hear programme announcements.