Literary Leicester 2014: Discover the wonders of the written word

Posted by ap507 at Nov 11, 2014 04:00 PM |
Events taking place between 12-15 November
Literary Leicester brings the very best authors to our city. We believe that everyone should be able to see and hear great literature being presented and talked about. We are completely free because we want to see people from every walk of life attending, whether they're old lit fest hands or never even considered coming to something like this in the past. Come along, join us, and enjoy a brilliant, free week of the very best in written culture

- Dr Harry Whitehead, Senior Tutor for Creative Writing, School of English


Leicester’s literary legacy will be celebrated by a host of award-winning writers, novelists and poets at this year’s Literary Leicester festival taking place from 12-15 November.

Literary Leicester - a feast of factual and fictitious prose - will be delivered by a multitude of writing talent over four days and includes author Will Self, Leicester children’s writer Bali Rai and new insights into the life and times of author Evelyn Waugh, revealed through the University's Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh project.

The star-studded collection of wordsmiths will also pay tribute to the late Leicester author and Adrian Mole creator Sue Townsend, who passed away in April of this year.

A complete list of events can be found here.

Events include:


Wednesday 12 November - 10:00am - 11:00am at the Leicester Central Library, Leicester City Centre

One of the largest editions of a British novelist’s work ever made, weighing in at a whopping 42 volumes, will reveal its mysteries during an event on Wednesday 12 November.

The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh project, led by Professor Martin Stannard from the School of English with vital contributions from Research Associate Dr Barbara Cooke and PhD student Rebecca Moore, will shed new light upon author Evelyn Waugh’s life and writings, especially Brideshead Revisited, A Handful of Dust and Vile Bodies.

During the event, entitled ‘Diaries, Decadence and Discovery: A Year on the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh Project’, Professor Stannard, Dr Cooke and Rebecca Moore will look back upon the last 12 months of reading, editing and compiling Waugh’s work.






Friday 14 November - 1:30pm in the Special Collections Reading Room, David Wilson Library on campus

As part of Literary Leicester 2014 and continuing celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Leicester-born writer Joe Orton’s first stage play, Entertaining Mr Sloane, his sister Leonie Orton Barnett will unveil a pot specially commissioned for the David Wilson Library from local ceramicist Rachel Barnett, Orton’s niece.

The pot reflects Entertaining Mr Sloane’s central themes and features quotations from the characters. Its ‘Ortonesque’ style mirrors the author’s trademark combination of humour and horror. For example, the handles consist of a set of false teeth.

A number of videos relating to the 50th edition of Entertaining Mr Sloane can be found on the University's YouTube page. Podcasts, including those where Orton's sister Leonie Orton Barnett shares her memories of her brother are available on the University's Soundcloud page.

The Orton archive, which was purchased from the Orton Estate in 1997, includes manuscripts, letters and other original material written, compiled or collected by the Leicester born John Kingsley (Joe) Orton (1933-1967), plus correspondence and memorabilia received and collected by members of the Orton family.


Saturday 15 November - 7:30pm in the Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, Fielding Johnson Building South Wing on campus

Author Bali Rai will lead a talk dedicated to the Adrian Mole creator and much-loved Leicester author Sue Townsend, who passed away earlier this year. Bali Rai has penned numerous books for young readers, and  regards Sue as an inspiration and a friend.

He will be at the Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, in the Fielding Johnson Building South Wing, on Saturday 15 November, where he will be joined by Sue’s long-time illustrator and friend Caroline Holden. Bali will also be joined by celebrated Leicester-born singer-songwriter, poet and author Carol Leeming, who was Sue’s friend and mentee as well.


Watch actor Kenneth Cranham discussing his experience of playing Sloane in the 1975 version of Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane:

Listen to a podcast of Leonie Orton Barnett, Joe Orton's sister, sharing some of her memories of her brother, their time growing up on Leicester’s Saffron Lane Estate and quoting from his diary.

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