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Leeds Trinity University to host free Creative Writing workshops as part of national festival

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Being Human is the UK’s only national festival of the humanities, with events led by Leeds Trinity academics running from Saturday 12 – Thursday 17 November.

A badge with the words I am human.

This year, as part of the annual Being Human Festival, a prestigious international research centre based at Leeds Trinity University, the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies (LCVS), will be collaborating on a series of free events taking place between Saturday 12 and Thursday 17 November

Sessions will be delivered through discussions, spoken word, a book launch and creative writing workshops, giving members of the public practical ways to create and share their own stories

The UK’s only national festival of the humanities, the Being Human Festival, invites researchers from universities and other research organisations to collaborate with local community and cultural partners to create exciting and engaging events for all to enjoy. The festival celebrates ways in which the humanities inspire and enrich everyday lives, and it’s a national festival by virtue of being local, with events taking place everywhere from Dundee to Devon, with Leeds at the heart of the action.

The Leeds Trinity programme includes 'Gentleman Jack and her Sisters', about the Brontë sisters and English diarist Anne Lister, famous for her revelations for which she was dubbed ‘the first modern lesbian’. 'Writing the Margins' workshops are aimed at telling stories of the forgotten people we are connected to, and 'A Curious History of Sex' offers discussions with Basis Yorkshire, a charity that works to end stigma around sex work and exploitation. The sessions with be led by academics at Leeds Trinity including Revd Professor Jane de Gay, Dr Kate Lister, Dr Suzanne Owen, Dr Amina Alyal and recent Leeds Trinity PhDs graduates Dr Hannah-Freya Blake and Dr Edwin Stockdale.

Dr Blake and Dr Stockdale have edited a collection of new poetry responding to the Brontë centenaries. Their book launch will consist of readings, followed by a creative writing workshop drawing on the hit TV series Gentleman Jack, and the Brontës, with a focus on writing about participants’ own identities in terms of gender or sexuality. ‘Gentleman Jack and her Sisters' takes place at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth on Thursday 17 November at 3.15pm.

Dr Amina Alyal and Dr Suzanne Owen from Leeds Trinity will lead a workshop on marginalised people, encouraging participants to write about forgotten people close to them. There will be an opportunity for a Wordspace open mic session, where participants are invited to perform their own poems and stories. The 'Writing the Margins' workshops will be held at the Brownlee Arms in Horsforth on Wednesday 16 November from 5.30pm.

‘A Curious History of Sex’ will be led by author and podcaster, Dr Kate Lister, and the charity Basis Yorkshire. Here, the public can join facilitated discussions on the history of sexuality, which will be followed by a private writing workshop by invitation for Basis Yorkshire service users. ‘A Curious History of Sex' sessions will be held at the Headingley Enterprise & Arts Centre, Leeds on Saturday 12 November from 2.00pm.

Dr Amina Alyal, Senior Lecturer at Leeds Trinity, who is a published poet and short story writer, and has published research on Shakespeare and Victorian Gothic Literature, said: “The festival’s theme this year is ‘breakthrough’. Our events sit under the umbrella title ‘Still I Rise’, taken from the powerful Maya Angelou poem written to address discrimination and restore self-respect and confidence.

“I’d like to acknowledge the work of the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies, which has also kindly sponsored these events, helping to take researchers and creative writers out of the University and into the local community for anyone to join in and share their own stories. This is what the Humanities are all about and is at the heart of Leeds Trinity’s Values of inclusivity and social justice.”

For more information about the workshops visit the Being Human Festival website. For information about English and Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity, visit the University website.