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The Leeds Big Bookend

Why has there never been a Leeds book festival? Was the question asked by Leeds author Anthony Clavane at one of his events in 2011, and echoed by many others.

Several of the now Big Bookend team were at that event and were inspired to take up the challenge and try to bring such a festival to Leeds. In 2012 we did just that. Over 400 people came to see 15 authors talk about their lives, experiences and passion for the written and spoken word.

In June 2013, our Rock Festival for Words was bigger and better. We had writers, poets, authors, story tellers and performers taking part in the festival in different venues across Leeds, with over 600 people attending our events.

Our aim has always been to celebrate Leeds’ rich literary heritage and to inspire the next generation.  2013 saw the UK’s greatest poet Tony Harrison headlining the Big Bookend ably supported by the very talented Leeds Young Authors.

Our LS13 writing competition unearthed 20 of the best writers in Leeds under the age of 40 and produced an anthology of writing that is a snapshot of the city’s writing talent.

2014 has been our most ambitious year yet. For the first time ever we received Arts Council funding which enabled us to provide not only a main programme but more events for children and a programme aimed specifically at young people. We had over 60 writers, authors, poets, performers and artists taking part and we attracted nearly 1500 people to the festival. Our head line author was the legendary Alan Bennett.

In 2015 our June festival mapped Leeds. You can read all about it here. In November we had our Children's Festival Day, Earth, Fire and Ink at the Royal Armouries, Leeds. We did much more besides, check out our Review of 2015.

Here we go again in 2016!


The Big Bookend team are all volunteers. The Big Bookend is a non profit making company limited by guarantee with charitable objectives. Any extra money generated from the Big Bookend is put straight back into the fund and used for the next Big Bookend festival.

If you think you can help us in any way, please get in contact. We’d love to hear from you.