Festival-goers warm to wonderful words

Entertaining, thought-provoking, life-changing – words, spoken and written, are an important part of this year’s Hebden Bridge Arts Festival,

On Sunday, July 1, writers Abi Idowu, Julian Jordan and Cath Nichols present Freedom, Slavery and Home at Artsmill in Linden Road. As well as three short solo sets, they have also created a thought-provoking ensemble work Do you take Sugar? that considers how far attitudes may have moved on since the slave traders ruled in 18th Britain.

Abi Idowu, from Nigeria but presently based in Bolton, is a poet, short story writer and playwright. Julian Jordan, who co-founded the Bolton-based poetry organisation Write Out Loud, writes poetry, film scripts and runs a small publishing house.  Cath Nichols appears on the Oxfam Life Lines CD and was commissioned to write Do you take sugar? for BBC Radio by Lancaster Litfest and Lancaster Museums Service.  

Perhaps the saltiest venue in the Festival, AJ’s fish and chip restaurant is where you’ll hear Hebden Bridge’s own Clare Shaw on Monday, July 2. She will read alongside a cast of poets renowned for the power of their words on the page and the stage. There will also be a short talk by artist Lou Crosby, whose prints will be on show at the venue.

Tony Curtis, one of Ireland’s leading poets presents an evening of poetry at Artsmill on Wednesday, July 4, along with Carola Luther, whose work celebrates life in all its exquisite variety.

On Thursday, July 12, local writer Linda Green reads from her first novel I Did a Bad Thing in the Festival Shop on Albert Street. Linda is a freelance journalist and also teaches creative writing classes for the WEA in Hebden Bridge and Todmorden.

Another Sky: Writings from Prison around the World is the title of an evening with Lucy Popescu at Artsmill on July 15.

For more than 70 years, English PEN has supported writers who have been persecuted for expressing their beliefs. Lucy Popescu will read from and talk about a newly published anthology that features contributions  from Aung San Suu Kyi, currently under ‘protective custody’ in Myanmar; Orhan Pamuk, who narrowly avoided prison for comments he made about his country’s past; the late Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya (murdered in 2006). 

Spoken word events at the Festival, which runs from June 30 to July 15 also include an evening with Honor Blackman, a performance from Nicholas Parsons, and a talk by the Legal Director of Reprieve Clive Stafford Smith.

Postal bookings opened on Monday, May 14 and programmes are available at libraries, tourist information centres other public venues, plus countless cafes, shops and pubs. 


Saturday June 30
Sunday 1 July
Monday 2 July
Tuesday 3 July
Wednesday 4 July
Thursday 5 July
Friday 6 July
Saturday 7 July
Sunday 8 July
Monday 9 July
Tuesday 10 July
Wednesday 11 July
Thursday 12 July
Friday 13 July
Saturday 14 July
Sunday 15 July

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