The monthly @leedsbookclub: Summer is here.

Summer is here. I find that I keep repeating that to myself mantra like – I’m not sure if it’s I’m in shock or if I’m reminding myself to enjoy every moment of sunshine while it lasts! Which reminds me – Wear Sunscreen.


Wakefield born Margaret Harrison (72) has been announced the winner of the Northern Art Prize. Margaret is the first Yorkshire born recipient of the award and will no doubt continue to serve as inspiration for local artists in our region! You just about have time to pop down to the Leeds Art Gallery and check our her two entries, including ‘Reflect’ – a mixture of painting, drawing and a reproduction of the Greenham Common fence.


Naturally, as I’ll be out of town for a few days, ALL of the awesome is happening in Leeds. I’m particularly narked off with the creative set – it’s been a tremendously strong year across the city and instead of taking a break when I do – they go and bring out even more exciting looking shows. Rude.

Take the Leeds Grand for example – they’ll barely manage to pack away the suspenders from the Rocky Horror Picture Show before they start setting up for Ghost: The Musical which will run till the end of the month. And it’s barely out the door before Priscilla introduces itself.

Not to be left out, the West Yorkshire Playhouse are playing host to Kneehigh, who are returning to bring their beloved version of the medieval French legend of Tristan & Yseult to life. It’ll be showing at the WYP from the 14th of June until the 22nd before touring nationally.

On the 28th of June, SAA – UK will be at the Northern Ballet, celebrating and showcasing two forms of classical Indian Dance. Kathak on the one hand is driven by spins, stories and fast and fancy footwork, while Bharatanatyam ‘combines expression and rhythm with sculpturesque movement’. It looks colourful and beautiful and at only £5, I’m gutted I won’t be about for it.


Those in the know assure me that Little People have been released en masse from their various priso…schools and are looking for entertainment. For the educationally inclined, why not visit Leeds City Museum? There’s so much to see and do but especially try to visit the Natural Beauty exhibition (and perhaps contribute in the associated Wildlife Photography competition) because it’s awe inspiring!

For the fashionably dressed history buff, the Dressed for Battle exhibition currently open on the upper floor of the Lotherton Hall seems the perfect blend of style and substance. The Royal Armouries offers surprisingly cheerful events for children (given their subject matter) and for the young and the active; I can’t imagine anything better than the jousting, falconry and horse riding!


On the 16th June, the Hyde Park Picture House will be celebrating the life and music of singer-songwriter Nick Drake. The short documentary ‘A Skin Too Few: The days of Nick Drake’ will be screened followed by a talk by Tina Richardson – a film studies academic and psychogeographer (one who approaches geography emphasizing playfulness and “drifting” around urban environments – I had to make sure it was a ‘real’ word). There’ll be a Q and A afterwards and it looks like a great event.


Ooh, not strictly a Leeds thing, but the Otley Walking Festival will be returning for the 13th year, running from the 22nd of June till the 30th. With over 50 walks and events; even a couch potato like me is bound to get up and go (I read better on a sofa you see). Grab your boots, wave goodbye to the city for a day or two and stretch your legs!


As for the book club, #LBCOutlaws – our book club for Crime, Thrillers and books that make you go oooooo – will meet for the second time, discussing The Glass Key on the 27th June at 6pm at Outlaws Yacht Club.

As part of our participation in Arts Minds Leeds #SharingStories – raising awareness about mental health issues and learning difficulties – we recently met up for a related book club. We’d such a good time, we’ll be organising another get together in October to discuss Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale.


LBC and members were saddened to hear that author Iain (M) Banks passed away on June 9th. Originally introduced to his brilliant – albeit dark and creepy – mainstream fiction; it was in his SF that I took most delight. Indeed, for my first World Book Night, I handed out copies of The Player of Games – one of his Culture novels with a glee that bordered on the obscene. A few of us within the book club had mentioned doing a re-read of his books when Banks first announced his illness in April but hadn’t organised anything – we thought we’d have a bit more time – and it’s likely that’ll go ahead at some point but in the meantime, we’ve chosen Consider Phlebas as one of our upcoming #WSwanLBC reads, our little way of acknowledging the impact his writing has had on so many and honouring the man behind the tales. If you’d like to join us, drop me a line in the comments, on twitter or via t’blog and I’ll keep you posted.


As I don’t want to end on such a somber note – head down this link to Leeds Playlist – where Wendy has a selection of amazing songs to lift your spirits! And dance!



Not sure if I’ll be allowed sneak this in – since it’s absolutely not Leeds related, but I figure it’s worth a shot. It’s culturally relevant and of interest to anyone in the region – as we will all be lessened should the National Media Museum in Bradford be closed.

Please sign this petition to save the MM – 38 Degrees and this one – to argue against the closure of the three national science museums currently at risk of closure – coincidentally, all three are located outside of London. And the South.

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