The Walter Swan Short Story Prize Launches

The Walter Swan Short Story Prize 2017-18 will be launched at the Northern Short Story Festival on Saturday 3 June at the Carriageworks Theatre. Entries will be accepted from then until the closing date of 16th October 2017.

Walt Swan was passionate about writing and encouraging others to be creative, which he did throughout his life and particularly through his teaching and directing. He wrote poetry, plays, screenplays, short stories and regular articles as a freelance journalist. He also began work on two novels and has three published non-fiction books.

Walter died suddenly and unexpectedly on the 21 April 2014. The Walter Swan Trust was set up in his memory by his family and friends.

The Prize is run by the Northern Short Story Festival and the Leeds Big Bookend Festival in partnership with the Walter Swan Trust.

  • Stories should be a maximum of 2000 words
  • There is no theme and entries can be on any subject
  • All stories must be previously unpublished
  • Entry is open to everyone aged 18+
  • Fee £3
  • Submission is via Submittable portal. The link will go live on Saturday 3 June: https://thebigbookend.submittable.com/submit

There will be a cash prize of £200, £100 and £50 for the three winners and the top 20 stories will be published in an anthology by Valley Press in March 2018.

The judges are Anna Chilvers, author of Tainted Love, and Angela Readman, winner of the Costa Short Story Prize 2013.

For more information about The Walter Swan Short Story Prize 2017-18: http://www.bigbookend.co.uk/launching-the-walter-swan-short-story-prize-2017-18/

For more information about The Walter Swan Trust: http://www.walterswantrust.org.uk/walter-swan-trust.php

 

 

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The Playhouse and Curve Theatre Present ‘The Graduate’

‘The Graduate’, adapted by Terry Johnson and based on the novel by Charles Webb, is currently at West Yorkshire Playhouse and running until Saturday 27th May, and I urge you to go and see it.

Directed by Lucy Bailey, it is a co-production by West Yorkshire Playhouse and Leicester’s Curve Theatre and captures 1960’s comfortable, suburban California so well. Benjamin has just graduated. He finds himself disillusioned by the world of his parents and is easily, if awkwardly and guiltily, seduced by their neighbour, Mrs Robinson, played to perfection by Catherine McCormack. She is a bored alcoholic, trapped in a loveless marriage and she delightedly plunges him into a world of sensual hedonistic pleasure which sets them both on a thrillingly destructive course.  Of course, Mrs Robinson has a lovely daughter and when Benjamin actually falls for her the gloves are off!

“The Graduate is a satire on the values and lifestyle of middle class suburban America”, said Lucy Bailey. “The world seen through Benjamin’s eyes is a heightened surreal version of reality, at times grotesques and absurd. It’s a coming of age play – painfully funny and deeply human.”

Catherine McCormack, best known for her roles in the ‘Braveheart’ with Mel Gibson, and ‘Spy Game’ with Brad Pitt, plays Mrs Robinson and is a joy to watch. In fact the entire cast is brilliant, though one criticism I heard was that perhaps Benjamin, played by Jack Monaghan, was a little overplayed, but I didn’t find that. Yes, he made you feel a little uncomfortable but he was meant to as he wrestled with his conscience, tried to avoid his parents questions, took Elaine (the daughter) on an excruciatingly awful date to a strip club (cue twirling nipple tassels!), found himself falling in love and having to explain that to Mrs Robinson….her husband….his parents….Elaine!

Very funny, sad and quite insightful. Don’t miss it!

 

Photos: Manuel Harlan

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Japanese Fabric Stencils with Stories to Tell

A exhibition featuring beautiful, delicate paper stencils from Japan recently opened at University of Leeds textiles museum and runs until 7th December.

‘Katagami – the Craft of the Japanese Stencil’ is at ULITA – an Archive of International Textiles, and celebrates one of the archive’s major collections featuring Japanese textile dyeing stencils.

“Through drilling, punching and cutting, a variety of astonishingly detailed and intricate designs were cut into mulberry paper”, said Jill Winder, ULITA’s Curator. “These stencils were used for dyeing designs onto clothing ranging from everyday workers’ clothing to the finest silk kimonos.”

Guest curator Dr Alice Humphrey, who wrote and curated the new show with Jill Winder, added: “This exhibition introduces the techniques of making and using the katagami and explores its imagery. It is drawn from two of the largest public collections of katagami in Britain.”

Although produced simply as tools, the katagami themselves have come to be appreciated as beautiful objects in their own right.  The designs amount to more that decoration. Whether evoking a season, carrying wishes for longevity and good fortune, or containing an entire folk story, every katagami has a story to tell about the fashion and culture of Japan at the time.

Katagami – the Craft of the Japanese Stencil features 40 katagami, including stencils lent by the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (MoDA), and stencil-dyed clothing lent by Leeds Museums and Galleries.

ULITA – an Archive of International Textiles, St Wilfred’s Chapel, Maurice Keyworth Building, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT (next to Leeds University Business School). Open Tues – Thurs 9.30am – 4.30pm & Fridays by appointment.

For further information, visit ulita.leeds.ac.uk, or contact 0113 343 3919, ulita@leeds.ac.uk

 

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Watching Out for Nidderdale Wildlife

The Rivers Nidd, Skell and Washburn tumble through some of the most charismatic landscapes in the Yorkshire Dales and provide a home for an array of wonderful wildlife. This area is the focus of The Wild Watch – a new Yorkshire Wildlife Trust project.

Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty recently received a grant of £295,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for The Wild Watch. This visionary new project will involve people running a health check on the wildlife of this important area. It aims to check the ‘health’ of 50 different plants and animals that call Nidderdale home.

Much of Britain’s wildlife has been either lost, or is under threat, for various reasons, including land use and changing climate. The decline of some species is well documented and concerned organisations are taking action to try and reverse the trend. But sometimes, plants and animals start to decline and we only notice when it is too late.

“Many people love Nidderdale for its inspiring landscape and wonderful wildlife”, said Alice Crosby, Wild Watch Project Officer. “But all is not well and we want to take action to help some of the declining species recover. To know where to target our efforts we need help from naturalists, local enthusiasts and residents, so we can build up a picture of what wildlife we have and where it is, a kind of nature audit.”

Alice is planning a series of workshops and events throughout the year to inspire people about Nidderdale’s wildlife and to train people to help with the surveys. “We have had a lot of supportive comments from local naturalists which is a great start”, she said. “I feel that The Wild Watch offers a fantastic opportunity for other people, who have perhaps not done anything like this before but love the area, to get involved too.”

 

 

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RHS Appeal to Transform Grey Front Gardens

 

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is appealing to householders to pull up a paving slab and transform grey front gardens and driveways into usable green spaces.

Millions of people have paved over their front gardens to provide parking space. The down side of this is that it causes localised flooding, misses the opportunity to combat air pollution, and provides a poor environment for birds, bees and other wildlife.

RHS Garden Harlow Carr (Crag Lane, Beckwithshaw, Harrogate HG3 1QB) has created a demonstration ‘front garden’, complete with mock house front, to provide people with inspiration and ideas for transforming their front gardens. The garden forms part of the Society’s ‘Greening Grey Britain’ campaign which aims to encourage people to turn, grey areas into living, planted spaces that can accommodate both cars and plants.

“The statistics on front gardens paint an alarming picture”, said Paul Cook, Harlow Carr’s Curator. “One in three across Britain are completely paved over – that’s five million spaces nationwide that leave no room for plants or wildlife. We’re asking people to re-think their ‘front of house’ and do their bit to reverse this worrying trend.”

For further information, visit www.rhs.org.uk/ggb

 

 

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First Women & Girls Forum a Great Success

 

Chair Kate Bratt-Farrar and Deputy Chair Marvina Newton

Women from across Leeds and all walks of life, came together recently and worked to identify the priorities to make Leeds the best city for women and girls.

The Forum, organised by Women’s Lives Leeds, is part of Leeds City Council’s Equalities Assembly, and is the city’s platform for all women and girls to discuss issues they face. Attendees were asked to pick their top three priorities from a list of over 30 and what emerged were concerns in the areas of employment, violence against women, and safety. These issues will now be tackled by the Forum.

The group also elected Kate Bratt-Farrar, Chief Executive of Sue Ryder Wheatfields, as Chair, and Marvina Newton, CEO of Angel of Youths, as her Deputy, who will take on these duties for the next year.

For further information about Women’s Lives Leeds, or to attend the next Forum in June, please contact 0113 380 4796, Camille@leedswomensaid.org.uk, or visit www.womenslivesleeds.org.uk

 

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Gig-ready in a Day with Dennis Rollins

Dennis Rollins with his student band from Leeds + Harrogate schools

Jazz trombonist Dennis Rollins put the big into big band when 50 young musicians recently took to the stage with him after just one day of making music together.

The one-off ensemble from five local schools spent the day with Dennis at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL), rehearsing a programme of music ranging from jazz to Motown, Latin, blues and even Adele. The students, aged 11-18, came from GSAL, Allerton Grange School, Abbey Grange C of E Academy, Harrogate Grammar School and Garforth Academy. Despite the limited time they had to get to know each another, the band soon gelled and they gave an assured and energetic performance in the evening.

Dennis Rollins is an acclaimed performer, composer and educator, who developed his own musical talents with the Doncaster Youth Jazz Association. He encouraged the student band as an ensemble, working with them on the musical arrangements, improvised solos and sight-reading skills.

“There’s something special about standing in front of a group of young musicians and seeing the massive potential for them to express themselves”, said Dennis. “It’s such a big moment when you see that spark and they realise they can do it and give to the audience. It’s been fabulous to witness it and see the joy in their faces. They’ve done the work, I’ve just encouraged them.”

Saxophonist Madi Jones is a Year 12 student at Harrogate Grammar School. “Before we went on, Dennis told us we needed to work together and have fun, show you love the music”, said Madi. “He put us at ease, treated us as proper musicians and it felt really professional.”

Rachel Gillespie, teacher of music at Allerton Grange, said: “It’s given our students a good experience of musicianship and a sense of belonging to something big. A couple of hours in, they were already asking if we could start a jazz band at school!”

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Students Team Up with Fuel for School to Bring Healthy Food into the Classroom

Fuel For School Landscape

Education students at Leeds Beckett are helping primary schools across West Yorkshire to teach children about healthy diets and avoiding food waste as part of an initiative by the Real Junk Food Project.

As part of the Fuel for School initiative, the team helped to create an education pack containing a range of interactive classroom activities for primary school children aged between six and 11. It is designed to be used by teachers of any subject to support both the National Curriculum requirements for cooking and nutrition and the goals of Fuel for School.

Fuel for School began as a partnership between the Real Junk Food Project and Richmond Hill Primary School in Hunslet. The aim was to remove hunger as a barrier to learning, highlight the importance of nutrition and wellbeing in learning, and raise awareness of the vast amounts of wasted food.

Richmond Hill joined forces with the Real Junk Food Project to provide free breakfasts to all 600 pupils at the school and found that this had a positive effect on their behaviour, concentration and attainment. This was followed by a community pay-as-you-feel café and daily market stall in the school grounds.

Fuel for School is now working with more than 35 primary schools in the Leeds area, delivering surplus food once a week, which is used for breakfast clubs, ingredients in cooking classes, or through school market stalls.

To cope with the increasing demand for information, the Leeds Beckett students were tasked with developing educational resources and activities which both support Fuel for School’s core values and provide an opportunity for pupils to use some of the surplus food provided in the classroom.

Fuel For School Portrait

The new educational pack was launched recently at Leeds Beckett University’s Headingley Campus, where Adam Smith, Founder of The Real Junk Food Project, Nathan Atkinson, Head Teacher Richmond Hill, and Kevin Mackay, Co-ordinator of Fuel for School, presented and demonstrated the work to a range of schools from across West Yorkshire.

“It has been a privilege to work on this project”, said Dr Anne Temple Clothier, Senior Lecturer in the Carnegie School of Education. “It has been a delight to be engaged in a multi-disciplinary team and to co-create social innovation. This innovative project has greatly enhanced the professional development of the students and their employability. Working in a range of problem solving sub-groups, they experienced situations mirroring real-life professional practice.”

The Real Junk Food Project was founded four years ago by Adam Smith, who was appalled to find out that around one third of all food produced across the world ends up in landfill. Adam started with a pay-as-you-feel café in Armley where food that would have been wasted is cooked and served by volunteers. Food can be paid for by either money or time and labour. This has led to an international network of 110 cafes which has, so far, saved more than 107,000 tons of food from being wasted.

Adam has now opened England’s first pay-as-you-feel surplus supermarket in Pudsey.

 

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Kay Mellor’s ‘A Passionate Woman’ Comes to The Playhouse

Everyman Theatre production of Kay Mellor's The Passionate Woman starring Liza Goddard, Anthony Eden and Russell Dixon - 16.2.17 **Free single use in conjunction with Everyman Theatre press release**The byline www.thousandwordmedia.com must by used with all images used** Picture by Antony Thompson - Thousand Word Media, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION. Contact for more information mob: 07775556610 web: www.thousandwordmedia.com email: antony@thousandwordmedia.com The photographic copyright (© 2017) is exclusively retained by the works creator at all times and sales, syndication or offering the work for future publication to a third party without the photographer's knowledge or agreement is in breach of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Part 1, Section 4, 2b). Please contact the photographer should you have any questions with regard to the use of the attached work and any rights involved.

Everyman Theatre production of Kay Mellor’s The Passionate Woman starring Liza Goddard, Anthony Eden and Russell Dixon – 16.2.17 **Free single use in conjunction with Everyman Theatre press release**The byline www.thousandwordmedia.com must by used with all images used**
Picture by Antony Thompson – Thousand Word Media, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION. Contact for more information mob: 07775556610 web: www.thousandwordmedia.com email: antony@thousandwordmedia.com
The photographic copyright (© 2017) is exclusively retained by the works creator at all times and sales, syndication or offering the work for future publication to a third party without the photographer’s knowledge or agreement is in breach of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Part 1, Section 4, 2b). Please contact the photographer should you have any questions with regard to the use of the attached work and any rights involved.

Kay Mellor’s romantic comedy, ‘A Passionate Woman’ comes to West Yorkshire Playhouse from Tuesday 4th – Saturday 8th April. An Everyman Theatre Production, it stars Liza Goddard as Betty, a passionate, doting Mum who finds it hard to accept that her son is leaving home to get married.

“A Passionate Woman is a real feel-good play”, said Paul Milton, Everyman’s Creative Director. “It has a Shirley Valentine flavour to it. Set in the present, but with flashbacks to the 1960s, it has lots of romance, comedy and charm.”

The play is starts on the morning of the wedding. Betty retreats to her attic where she relives her long-lost youth and the love affair she had in the 1960s. Surrounded by her memories and ghosts from her past, she finds herself torn between a husband she never loved, a son about to leave, and the man she shared a passionate affair with.

Everyman Theatre production of Kay Mellor's The Passionate Woman starring Liza Goddard, Anthony Eden and Russell Dixon - 16.2.17 **Free single use in conjunction with Everyman Theatre press release**The byline www.thousandwordmedia.com must by used with all images used** Picture by Antony Thompson - Thousand Word Media, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION. Contact for more information mob: 07775556610 web: www.thousandwordmedia.com email: antony@thousandwordmedia.com The photographic copyright (© 2017) is exclusively retained by the works creator at all times and sales, syndication or offering the work for future publication to a third party without the photographer's knowledge or agreement is in breach of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Part 1, Section 4, 2b). Please contact the photographer should you have any questions with regard to the use of the attached work and any rights involved.

Everyman Theatre production of Kay Mellor’s The Passionate Woman starring Liza Goddard, Anthony Eden and Russell Dixon – 16.2.17 **Free single use in conjunction with Everyman Theatre press release**The byline www.thousandwordmedia.com must by used with all images used**
Picture by Antony Thompson – Thousand Word Media, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION. Contact for more information mob: 07775556610 web: www.thousandwordmedia.com email: antony@thousandwordmedia.com
The photographic copyright (© 2017) is exclusively retained by the works creator at all times and sales, syndication or offering the work for future publication to a third party without the photographer’s knowledge or agreement is in breach of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Part 1, Section 4, 2b). Please contact the photographer should you have any questions with regard to the use of the attached work and any rights involved.

We caught up recently with Liza Goddard, who has been really enjoying touring with this play. “This is a fantastic part for an older woman”, she told us. “It is both physically and mentally demanding but so rewarding too. The first part is comedy and the second is farce. We set up the gags in the first part.”

Liza, who has had a wonderful career, starting with ‘Skippy the Kangaroo’ over 50 years ago, particularly enjoys comedy. “You are on a knife edge”, she said. “It has the intensity of tragedy but with added timing. This is the first time I have done a Kay Mellor play and the writing is superb. She knew how women felt. Many people will find it so relevant to their lives. The characterisation and relationships are fantastic.”

Everyman Theatre production of Kay Mellor's The Passionate Woman starring Liza Goddard, Anthony Eden and Russell Dixon - 16.2.17 **Free single use in conjunction with Everyman Theatre press release**The byline www.thousandwordmedia.com must by used with all images used** Picture by Antony Thompson - Thousand Word Media, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION. Contact for more information mob: 07775556610 web: www.thousandwordmedia.com email: antony@thousandwordmedia.com The photographic copyright (© 2017) is exclusively retained by the works creator at all times and sales, syndication or offering the work for future publication to a third party without the photographer's knowledge or agreement is in breach of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Part 1, Section 4, 2b). Please contact the photographer should you have any questions with regard to the use of the attached work and any rights involved.

Tickets are available at 0113 213 7700 or online at www.wyp.org.uk

Photography: Antony Thompson

 

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Statement on Westminster Terror Attack

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Qari Asim, MBE, Imam of Leeds Makkah Mosque

“Today, London has witnessed horrific and depraved acts of murder.

The terrorist attack was designed to maximize casualties and create terror and chaos at the very heart of the capital and at the home of British democracy.

We must be clear that those who take innocent lives are not following the teachings of any religion and have no regard for any religion or humanity. These depraved terrorists are not following a path to paradise, as in Islam the taking of a single innocent life is considered as being akin to the killing of the whole of humanity.

This vile attack is an attack on all of us, regardless of race or religion. We must stand united against such extreme, evil and distorted ideologies and work together to defeat terrorism in all its forms.

The aim of terrorist attacks such as these is to divide communities and incite hatred amongst people of different beliefs and backgrounds. We have already seen vile opportunists using the victims of the Westminster terrorist attack to spread anti-Muslim hatred. I urge communities to remain united and even more determined to eradicate all forms of terrorism.

I am deeply saddened by the loss of lives at Westminster and express full solidarity with the victims of the attack. I convey my sincere condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives.”

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