Literature Festival

Leicester Writes is the first and only festival dedicated to showcasing regional and diverse literary talent.

We’re thrilled to announce our annual festival returns for its six year. Join us online for Home by 10 Fest throughout September and October for a jam-packed programme of workshops, readings and author talks all designed to help you develop your writing talent and leave you ready to kick start the engine…

In its inaugural year, the festival took place in venues across Leicester’s cultural quarter in 2015 and featured keynote speakers Kerry Young, Rod Duncan, Bali Rai and Kerry Young. Other sessions included Writing your first novel and getting published with Alison Moore, Writing for Radio and TV with screenwriters Michelle Lipton and others, Writing Crime with Mark Wright as well as featuring local writers Bali Rai. The festival concluded with a Spoken word night featuring verses from Lydia Towsey, Shruti Chauhan, Jenny Hibword, Carol Leeming and Tim Grayson.

In 2016, the festival continued to celebrate the work of regional writers with the launch of Lost and Found, a collection of 22 short stories on the theme of home by Leicestershire writers. Other events included a Meet the Publishers networking night, a Spoken word night which showcased the work of Jayne Stanton, winner of the first Bru Poetry Prize and The Art of Writing Fiction with US based author Kirstin Ruth Bratt and members of the Whole Kahani.

In 2017, the festival was delighted to welcome local writer, Mahsuda Snaith to read from her debut novel, The Things We Thought We Knew. Other sessions included hosting a Writers Spa as part of the first National Writing Day celebrations, a short story workshop with CG Menon, and our inaugural short story prize anthology launch. We also welcomed the Institute of Physics’ who hosted a wonderful discussion on the role of science in creating dystopian and utopian fictions.

In 2018 we launched a new bi-annual prize ‘Leicester Book of the Year’ and began the festival by recognising the exceptional writing of published writers. We were delighted to crown Rod Duncan’s The Queen of All Crows as our Leicester Book of the Year. We were joined by writers Siobhan Logan and Rod Duncan from the Writers’ Shed who discussed the benefits and challenges of ‘The Hybrid Author’ and how writers can get ahead by exploiting the various routes to publication from self-publishing through to traditional publishing. We also celebrated all things short and flash in our short story day. A jam-packed day with writing workshops and readings. The festival concluded with Leicester Writes Short Story Prize anthology launch.

In 2019 we joined forces with Curve Theatre Leicester to host ‘Crossroads’ – a one day festival supporting new and emerging writers by offering advice and inspiration through a series of talks and workshops. We were joined by writers Kerry Young and Meena Kandasamy who inspired us with their keynotes. Writers Alison Moore and Irfan Master joined Penny Jones to discuss writing rules and when to break them. Our lunch time bookclub, supported by Everybody’s Reading saw children coming along to our festival to meet their favourite author Onjali Rauf. In the afternoon, writers attended workshops on mastering short stories with Rebecca Burns and Debz Hobbs-Wyatt and learnt the art of managing finance and funding. The festival concluded once again with wonderful readings from all longlisted writers, as part of the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize ceremony.

We are grateful for the continued support from our festival friends, regional and national partners, past and present: Rhetoric Literary Society, Leicester Writers Club, Writing East Midlands, Centre for New Writing at University of Leicester, De Montfort University, An Indian Summer, Inspirate, The Literary Consultancy, Arvon, ALCS, The Writing Magazine, Comma Press, Mslexia, Spread the Word, as well as venues Bru Coffee and Gelato, Curve Leicester, The Exchange, LCB Depot, and Phoenix Square.