A short story written by a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity University will be read by British actor Christopher Eccleston, at an online literary event.


Withen, a story by Senior Lecturer and internationally renowned novelist Martyn Bedford, has been selected by Emmy award-winning actor and ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston to be read at a live event promoting Protest: Stories of Resistance, an anthology of protest fiction and essays. 

Protest: Stories of Resistance explores and commemorates key moments of British defiance and resistance movements. Martyn’s story features alongside the works of writers such as Kit de Waal, David Constantine, Courttia Newland, Jacob Ross, Sara Maitland and Alexei Sayle. The anthology also includes essays written by historians, sociologists and eyewitnesses. 

Withen focuses on the Battle of Orgreave during the 1984-85 miners’ strike. It was written in consultation with Professor David Waddington, of Sheffield Hallam University, who attended the Orgreave mass-picket as an academic observer and is a leading authority on the policing of political unrest. 

As well as appearing in Protest: Stories of Resistance, for which it was commissioned, Withen has also been published in Martyn’s solo collection of short stories, Letters Home. It tells the tale of Orgreave through the eyes of a young man whose father is injured during the violence and whose family is bitterly divided by the strike. 

The event, which is being hosted by Comma Press and independent bookshop Housmans, will feature live readings and a discussion between Martyn and Professor Waddington on the events at Orgreave. They will also cover its inspiration for their collaboration on this story and an accompanying essay. 

Martyn said: “I was absolutely delighted and flattered to hear that Christopher Eccleston had chosen my story for this event. It will be wonderful to hear him read my work to a live online audience and to discuss it with him afterwards.” 

Becca Parkinson, Engagement Manager at Comma Press, said: “We're excited to be hosting this very special event, to support the brilliant independent radical bookshop Housmans, at a time when bookshops across the UK have been forced to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is an honour to have British actor Christopher Eccleston join us alongside Martyn and crowd scientist Professor David Waddington. As the event will be taking place online, happily we can welcome readers and fans of these three men's great work, from across the UK and beyond.” 

Protest: Stories of Resistance with Christopher Eccleston, Martyn Bedford and Professor David Waddington takes place via Zoom on Tuesday 9 February at 7.00pm. Tickets are available to pre-book online. For more information and to register, visit the Housmans website.

Categories: English and Creative Writing

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