Poets and author’s wordy of a visit at Wakefield’s annual Lit Fest

Roger McGough, credit RM Colin Clarke ARPS
Roger McGough, credit RM Colin Clarke ARPS

More than 50 literary events and workshops will take place in the city over the coming weeks as part of the third annual Lit Fest.

Acclaimed poets and authors including Stuart Maconie, Will Self , Ian Macmillan and Jackie Kay will share their work during the festival.

Local authors will also be able to pitch their books at The Orangery’s writers’ fair.

A number of Seed Fund events, organised by local groups and individuals will run as part of the festival, including Hallam Writers, the Wakefield Wireless Mysteries and readings of Dylan Thomas’ work by St Austin’s Players to celebrate his centenary year.

For the first time this year’s 13-day event, programmed by arts charity, Beam, will also feature Ossett’s Festival in a Day, headlined by the ‘patron saint of poetry’, Roger McGough.

The Liverpool born poet, who received a CBE in 2004, will perform a selection of his work on Saturday, September 20, including poems from his most recent book ‘As Far As I Know’.

Mr McGough, now in his 70s, first began writing while studying a degree in French and Geography at the University of Hull.

And he was given his saint-hood by the current poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy.

He said: “Growing up, I was made to recite poetry in choral verse. I liked that theatrical side of poetry but I didn’t particularly enjoy studying poems.

“I started writing around the age of 18, at university, perhaps as a means of expressing myself. Poetry called me up and it all spanned from there.

“People do want to try out all sorts of different things, whether that be music, poetry, theatre. That’s the best thing to do, just try it and if it’s for you, you will keep at it.

“Inspiration is often taken from what is going on in the world and the different things that interest us.

“But the starting point is usually just a word or phrase, which can take you on a journey. And that’s exciting, you don’t know where the poem is going to go when you start out.”

Mr McGough has headlined literary festivals across the country but this will be his Wakefield debut.

He said: “I am looking forward to being here. My agent said ‘you should do this one, they know what they are doing’.

“When I first started off there were very few of these festivals and I think they are a wonderful thing for a city to have.

“They are a good way for writers to meet other writers as well as an opportunity for the public to be exposed to literature and give it a chance.

“Literature is for everybody and these events enable the public to experience it and be inspired by it.”

Mr McGough will perform at Trinity Church from 7.30pm until 9.30pm.

Ossett’s Festival in a Day will also feature pigeon poetry - words carried to town on the wing, the creation of a book in a day with writer and broadcaster Ian Clayton and a poetry journey on Wakefield buses.

Other events and attractions includes a storywalk, storytelling for children with artist Fabric Lenny, a print project, book swap shop and a pop-up museum and cafe.

For more details of the events at this year’s Lit Fest, visit www.wakefieldlitfest.org.uk