Literary Leicester

Literary Leicester 2022 events

100% free and open to all, we look forward to welcoming you to our wide-ranging line-up for Literary Leicester 2022! In this, the university's centenary year, we're delighted to welcome back Leicester alumna and bestselling author Adele Parks MBE. Booker-Prize winning novelist Howard Jacobson also joins us, as does 2021's Costa Prize-winning novelist Monique Roffey. Children's author Pippa Goodhart helps us celebrate 15 years of the Letterbox Club, while Colin Thubron and Tharik Hussain discuss the future of travel writing after the pandemic. And we have spoken word from Hannah Lowe, Roy McFarlane and a whole lot more.

Generously supported by the Jean and Arthur Humphreys Fund.


Missed an event? You can listen to a growing number of podcasts from our 2022 festival through 'Arts Podcasts at Leicester' on SoundCloud.

Wednesday 23 March

The Waste Land (1922): A ‘Mad’ Poem in a ‘Fallen’ World

  • Wednesday 23 March, 1.00pm
  • Ken Edwards Seminar Room 527

Dr Scott Freer’s centennial talk looks at the literary legacies of T. S. Eliot’s modernist poem, focusing on novels by three Catholic authors – Evelyn Waugh, Flannery O’Connor, and Muriel Spark – that respond, in similar and different ways, to Eliot’s apocalypticism.

Creative Writing Student Showcase

  • Wednesday 23 March, 4.30pm
  • Attenborough Arts Studio One

A showcase event for University of Leicester BA, MA and PhD Creative Writing students to read and perform their poetry, stories and scripts.

Parks’ Life: Adele Parks in Conversation

  • Wednesday 23 March, 6.30pm
  • Peter Williams Lecture Theatre

Multi-million bestselling author and University of Leicester alumna Adele Parks is back to talk about her life as a writer. Adele is the author of twenty-one bestselling novels including most recently the Sunday Times and eBook Number One bestseller Both of You.

*This event will be livestreamed

Howard Jacobson: Mother’s Boy – A Writer’s Beginnings

  • Wednesday 23 March, 8.00pm
  • Peter Williams Lecture Theatre

Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson talks about his latest book Mother’s Boy, the story of a writer’s beginnings – as well as the twists and turns that life takes – and of learning to understand who you are before you can become the writer you were meant to be.

*This event will be livestreamed

Thursday 24 March

A Medieval Woman Talks to God

  • Thursday 24 March, 12.00pm
  • Online event

Dr Ben Parsons introduces the Holkham Prayers and Meditations (c.1400), a neglected example of medieval female authorship which gives a rich and vivid insight into the complex religious culture of its period.

Making Our World Better – Anthology Launch

  • Thursday 24 March, 2.30pm
  • Attenborough Arts Centre, Main Hall

Come and help us celebrate the launch of this Arts Council supported anthology writing project, published by local publishing house Dahlia Books. Performed by the authors, we’ll hear flash fiction and poetry about living positive lives while sustaining our environment.

100 Years of Fascism(s)

  • Thursday 24 March, 4.30pm
  • Bennett Lecture Theatre 8

One hundred years after Mussolini’s rise to power in October 1922, Prof. John Foot (University of Bristol), Dr Ali Jones (Coventry University), Dr Alexander Korb and Dr Simona Storchi (University of Leicester) discuss the legacies of a century of Fascism and their impact in today’s world. 

Monique Roffey: Writing the Caribbean

  • Thursday 24 March, 6.30pm
  • Peter Williams Lecture Theatre

Monique Roffey is an award-winning, Trinidadian-born writer of novels, essays, literary journalism and memoir. For one night only, she comes to Leicester to talk about her Costa Book of the Year winning The Mermaid of Black Conch, and her experiences ‘Writing the Caribbean’.

*This event will be livestreamed

Family of Words: Kayo Chingonyi and Nisha Ramayya

  • Thursday 24 March, 8.00pm
  • Ogden Lewis Seminar Rooms 2 and 3

Join Kayo Chingonyi, poet, emcee, Bloomsbury poetry editor, presenter of the acclaimed Spotify music and culture podcast ‘Decode’, and poet and lecturer Nisha Ramayya, as they talk poetry, friendship, words and ecology.

The Life and Times of Mary Attenborough – Book Launch

  • Friday 25 March, 1.00pm
  • David Wilson Library, Digital Reading Room

Celebrating the life of a remarkable woman, this biography covers topics such as social history, women’s history and education to reveal a passionate advocate of equal opportunities for women and an uncompromising opponent of fascist regimes in Europe.

First Story: Young Writers’ Showcase

  • Friday 25 March, 1.30pm
  • Attenborough Arts Centre, Main Hall

Following a special preparatory workshop, join us for a showcase of First Story’s young writers performing their work, alongside leading local performance poets Andy Craven-Griffiths and John Berkavitch.

10 Books That Changed the World

  • Friday 25 March, 4.00pm
  • Attenborough Arts Centre, Main Hall

The Leicester Institute for Advanced Studies invites you to an afternoon of intellectual discovery: ten of its academics will give short, 5-minute presentations on a book of their choice, explaining its lasting impact on the world. And you –the audience– will have the ultimate say in which book will be crowned as the most influential.

Grace Nichols: Passport From Here to There - cancelled

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this event has been cancelled.

Leicester Liming

  • Friday 25 March, 8.00pm
  • The Y Theatre

Liming offers exciting possibilities for spoken word and wordplay. It refashions Trinidad and carnival’s ‘liming’ culture, showcasing acclaimed poets, wordsmiths and performers who elevate words and ideas and encourage us to respond. Featuring Hannah Lowe, Roy McFarlane, Michael Brome, Tobago Crusoe and Psykhomantus.

Saturday 26 March

A Hundred Years of Stories: A Letterbox Club Celebration

  • Saturday 26 March, 11.00am
  • Peter Williams Lecture Theatre

Come to our magical session of stories, poems, pictures, music and puppets, celebrating the University's centenary and our wonderful partnership with BookTrust. There will be surprise guests and plenty of chances to clap, sing, talk, guess, draw or just be quiet and enjoy!

Leicester's Multilingual Golden Mile

  • Saturday 26 March, 1.00pm
  • Central Library, Leicester

Dr Michelle Harrison investigates written Gujarati in the linguistic landscape of Leicester’s fabulous Golden Mile. Drawing on interviews and a survey of signs, she discusses the meaning behind different displays of written information and their impact on the local community.

Spring into Languages

  • Saturday 26 March, 4.00pm
  • David Wilson Seminar Room

Poet Kaozara Oyalowo and novelist Mahsuda Snaith reflect on the way cultural and linguistic difference has inspired their writing. We also launch an exhibition co-curated by the School of Arts and local school students celebrating their heritage and highlighting the enormous benefits of the cultural and multilingual hybridity that has shaped Leicester’s and Britain’s identity and creativity.

Unknown Destinations: Where Can Travel Writing Go Next?

  • Saturday 26 March, 6.00pm
  • University Film Theatre, Attenborough Building

Acclaimed travel writers Colin Thubron (The Amur River) and Tharik Hussain (Minarets in the Mountains) join Tim Hannigan, author of The Travel Writing Tribe, to explore this venerable but sometimes controversial genre, and to ask what the future of travel writing might look like in a postcolonial – and post-covid – world.

Mi Duck: Writers Changing Leicester

  • Saturday 26 March, 7.45pm
  • Peter Williams Lecture Theatre

Love poems, spirited and tender speech, and musical tributes to the writers who continue to shape and transform Leicester, with a special focus on Jean 'Binta' Breeze, Sue Townsend and Graham Joyce. The evening includes a special tribute to Breeze, Honorary Doctorate of the University of Leicester and a former Creative Writing Fellow, who passed away in July 2021.

*This event will be livestreamed

Thursday 12 May

Val McDermid, 'Killing People for Fun and Profit' - this event has been postponed due to illness

  • Thursday 12 May, 6.15pm
  • Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 1

Bestselling author Val McDermid comes to Leicester to discuss her writing, her inspirations and the fatal attractions of crime fiction.

Thursday 19 May

Larkin at Leicester

  • Thursday 19 May, 7.00pm
  • Ken Edwards Lecture Theatre 2

Born 100 years ago this coming August, Philip Larkin moved to Leicester in 1946, aged 24, the author of a distinctly unpromising volume of verse. By the time he left four years later, he’d started writing poems which would help make his name. What happened in Leicester to bring about this change? Come and find out.

COVID-19 guidance

As of Friday 1 April, Government messaging does not distinguish COVID-19 from other respiratory infections. If you feel unwell, or have the symptoms of a respiratory tract infection, which now include headache, runny nose, sneezing, or sore throat please do not come to campus.

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