Featured Library – Oakwood

Another in my random series about the libraries that we have all around the city. This time I am concentrating on Oakwood library as the Roundhay & Oakwood Festival starts soon and we are delighted that Oakwood Library is hosting a number of events for the festival, which runs from the 23rd October until the 1st November 2015.

Oakwood%20Library%20Exterior%201_jpgFirst off though, a bit about the library. Oakwood is one of our more unusual buildings as it is housed in a  converted end terrace house on Oakwood Lane. This makes it a little bit challenging with the book shelves, but on the bright side we have a fantastic big bay window to display books in as well as a lovely garden to hold summer events. Some of you may have been to our reading challenge event held outside in the summer holidays.  The library has a regular monthly readers group and a weekly storytime on Monday afternoons from 2.00 – 2.30pm.

For the festival the first ever Oakwood Library Street Food Festival will be on Saturday 24th October, along with a book signing with Lynn Hill, founder of Clandestine Cake Club; following the success of their first recipe collection the Clandestine Cake Club is back with a second delicious helping of 100 gorgeous recipes to whet your appetite in ‘A Year of Cake’.

skin like silverOn Monday 26th October local author Chris Nickson offers a special, exclusive preview of ‘Skin Like Silver’, the third in his Detective Inspector Tom Harper series set in the Leeds of the 1890s.

death in the dalesThen on Wednesday 28th October we will be joined by another local author Frances Brody, who will speak about ‘A Death in the Dales’ the seventh book in her Kate Shackleton Mysteries series, which is set in 1920s Yorkshire.

On the morning of Friday 30th October we will be joined by Stir Krazy Kids who will be showing us how to make delicious Wonka treats from ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’!



And, if all that wasn’t enough already we will also be celebrating the 65th anniversary of ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ on the afternoon of the 30th October with an afternoon of crafty fun – we will be making Narnia snow globes and more!

For further details about these events, and many more please go to the festival website.

Morley Arts Festival: 26th Sep – 31st Oct

Morley_Arts_Logo_MasterLeeds Libraries are delighted to be supporting the Morley Literature Festival again this year. The festival, starting today, is celebrating its 10th anniversary and to celebrate they have a new name and logo. From this year they become the Morley Arts Festival and their logo represents the wealth of literature, music, performance and more that feature as part of the programme this year.

We are hosting several of the events at Morley Library and we would love you to come along. The Edith Cavell Story (Wednesday 7th Oct) is a one woman performance by Julie Ann Cooper to tell the story of the nurse who came to be a matron working in Belgium and finally to her arrest during the First World War.

Morley based poet Susan Darlington will be leading a Poetry Workshop at the library on Saturday 31st October. The workshop will use everyday objects to stimulate a creative response and is suitable for beginners and experienced writers alike.

For further details about these events, and many more please go to the website; www.morleyartsfestival.co.uk or to book tickets, follow this link.

20 books that rocked the English-language universe

Captain Corelli's mandolinA panel of literary experts has compiled a list of what they think are the top novels released over the last 20 years. It’s being done to  mark the 20th anniversary of the Independent Bath Literature Festival.

The books had to have been deemed to have ‘transformed the literary landscape’ to make the list. Every novel shortlisted for a prize in the past 20 years was included, as well as some the panel believed had been overlooked. Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall, recently adapted for TV by BBC Two, was picked out as the overall winner.

Commentator John Walsh, who sat on the panel, said: ‘We think the final top 20 represents the books that most conspicuously rocked the English-language universe in the last 20 years.’

Here they are in date order:

  1. 1995 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (Louis de Bernieres)
  2. 1996 Alias Grace (Margaret Atwood)
  3. 1997 American Pastoral (Philip Roth)
  4. 1998 England, England (Julian Barnes) (reordering this)
  5. 1999 Disgrace (JM Coetzee)
  6. 2000 White Teeth (Zadie Smith)
  7. 2001 Atonement (Ian McEwan)
  8. 2002 Any Human Heart (William Boyd)
  9. 2003 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Mark Haddon)
  10. 2004 Small Island (Andrea Levy)
  11. 2005 We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lionel Shriver)
  12. 2006 The Road (Cormac McCarthy)
  13. 2007 Half of a Yellow Sun (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
  14. 2008 The Outcast (Sadie Jones)
  15. 2009 The Little Stranger (Sarah Waters)
  16. 2010 Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel)
  17. 2011 A Visit From the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan)
  18. 2012 State of Wonder (Ann Patchett)
  19. 2013 Life After Life (Kate Atkinson)
  20. 2014 The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt)

Jewish Book Week Feb 21 – March 1

The dovekeepersTo celebrate Jewish Book Week, here’s four novels you might enjoy from 70AD to current times. This literary festival takes place in London, and is a nine day festival to celebrate Jewish literature, ideas and culture. For more information  www.jewishbookweek.com

The dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman –Rated 5* by three readers. The lives of four sensuous, bold and remarkable women intersect in the year 70AD, in the desperate days of the siege of Masada, when supplies are dwindling and the Romans are drawing near. All are dovekeepers, and all are keepers of secrets – about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love

A replacement lifeThe Boston girl by Anita Diamant –Told against the backdrop of World War I, and written with the same immense emotional impact that has made Diamant’s previous novels bestsellers, ‘The Boston Girl’ is a moving portrait of one woman’s complicated life in the early 20th century, and a window into the lives of all women seeking to understand the world around them

The emperor of lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg –From one of Scandinavia’s most critically acclaimed and bestselling authors, ‘The Emperor of Lies’ chronicles the tale of Rumkowski’s monarchical rule over a quarter of a million Jews. 5*

A replacement life by Boris Fishman –A failing young Russian American journalist’s life is unexpectedly transformed when he forges Holocaust restitution claims for his rogue grandfather and his friends.

Harrogate History Festival

Harrogate History FestivalIf you are a history lover then Harrogate History Festival’s have just the thing for you. They are the organisers of the hugely successful Theakston’s Crime Writing Festival and they are branching out again this year after last years inaugural festival with a weekend devoted to historical books and their writers. The second Harrogate History Festival takes part this weekend from Thu 23rd Oct – Sun 26th. As with the Crime Writing Festival all the events take place in the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate making it easy to either go along to several events or just book the ones that interest you. You could really immerse yourself and go along for the whole weekend.

Highlights of the festival will include events with Bernard Cornwell (the creator of Sharpe – remember Sean Bean?), Alison Weir and Elizabeth Chadwick on Friday night. If that isn’t good enough there are countless other events to whet your appetite with Sandi Toksvig, Peter Snow, Sarah Dunant and many more.

Historical fiction is a great way to find out more about a particular period as well as immersing yourself in a great story. Want to go back and be a part of the Roman Empire? Then Conn Iggulden’s Emperor series is a good place to start. What about travelling back to fifteenth century Italy and the Borgias? Sarah Dunant covers this period in her novel Blood and Beauty.


There really should be something for everyone at the festival so if you are looking for a good way to get out of the Autumn weather then have a look at the programme.


Love Reading! Morley Town Hall, 5 October

The 2014 Morley Literaure Festival ProgrammeDon’t miss Morley Literature Festival’s first-ever Love Reading!

The event is the chance to enjoy an afternoon listening to a range of talented writers in an informal setting.

Sunday, 5th Oct , 13:30 – 16:30 at Where Morley Town Hall Price £6.00 / £7.00 on the door. Price includes refreshments and a free raffle ticket, booking details here.

Our programme features:

Cara Brennan – poet and author of ‘Damaged Dresses’. Cara was featured by Read Regional earlier this year (www.readregional.co.uk) and is a graduate of the Writing Squad. “Brennan is clearly a young writer who is capable of creating a world which is distinctly her own”, Sabotage Reviews

Susanna Meese, acclaimed traditional storyteller, short listed for the BASE (British Award for Storytelling Excellence) Award 2013. “Made me very excited to go and get storytelling” Yorkshire and the Humber Youth Libraries Group day school, May 2014

Crime writer Bea Davenport, who will be discussing her latest novel ‘This Little Piggy’. “In Too Deep’ is a thrilling crime novel, so suspenseful that…it’ll have you poring over its contents until 3am…” – Laura Steven, Living North Magazine

Deborah Swift, author of historical fiction, including ‘A Divided Inheritance’ who gets tons of 5* ratings from Leeds readers. ‘Another superbly researched and detailed novel by Swift. Filled with suspense, accuracy, real-to-life settings and characters, A Divided Inheritance will satisfy even the most discerning of history buffs.’ The Examiner

Morley Literature FestivalThe event also includes a book swap (bring an old favourite and exchange it for something completely different) a raffle and a literary quiz. Waterstones Leeds will be on hand with books for sale and signing by our guest authors.

The Pure Gold Baby by Margaret Drabble

The pure gold babyMargaret Drabble has been talking about her latest book The Pure Gold Baby  at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and about why she changed her mind about writing fiction (she said she’d finished with it.)

The 75-year-old writer, one of Britain’s most distinguished literary figures, spent five years working on it, saying her 18th novel was a difficult book to write because it was based on a family she knew.

The book explores mental health issues, a subject Drabble has an interest in, adding: “I think we all do, we all know people on various parts of the spectrum.”

The novel begins in the 1960s when Jess, an anthropologist living in north London gives birth to her daughter, Anna who is a child of ‘special, unknowable qualities’. She is happy, always willing to smile at the world around her, but she also presents profound challenges. For her mother Jess, still in her early 20s, her arrival will prove life-transforming.

Over the course of decades, in ways large and small, Anna will affect the lives and loves of those around her. While Anna herself will remain largely unaltered by the passing years, she will live through a period of dramatic change, her journey illuminating our shifting attitudes towards motherhood, responsibility and the way we care for one another