By Ninder Kaur



The Bradford Literature Festival took place from the 15th to the 24th of May and took the national festival scene by storm with its distinct, diverse and dynamic brand of programming.

At the heart of this unique festival is cultural literacy – an exploration of race, faith and culture through a celebration of literature, history and the arts.

Over 150 events took place, which featured more than 250 writers, thinkers, artists and experts from countries ranging from Nigeria to Syria, from Poland to Pakistan and from Ireland to Iran.

The festival explored everything from ISIS to Islamophobia, from Bollywood to the Brontes, from comedy to crime, from football to feminism and from poetry to politics, plus so much more. The festival had something for everyone.

Bestselling author Sophie Hannah talked about her first Hercule Poirot mystery, Boyd Tonkin, former literary editor of The Independent discussed the Freedom of Speech, poets Brian Patten and Lemn Sissay were just a few of the big name that appeared over the festival celebrations.


Also, favourite children’s author Lauren Child came along to celebrate the ten year anniversary of her iconic book and television series, Charlie and Lola.

This year’s festival was a complete success amongst a number of literature enthusiasts, as thousands of people flocked to West Yorkshire for the ten day celebration.

The festival was organised by author and oral historian Irna Qureshi and blogger Syima Aslam. The pair are now hoping to make the event an annual thing.

Irna Qureshi, Co-Director of the Bradford Literature Festival added, “Our unique brand of programming was a first for this country. It has been a real joy to curate a festival that brings together such a distinguished and diverse range of participants to discuss issues that, while having global and UK-wide significance, are also very pertinent to Bradford. We’ve had a fantastic response from all the people who’ve participated in the festival and the feedback has been tremendous.”

It was the first year that Bradford has hosted the event and for those of you that missed out, next year’s Bradford Literature Festival will run from May 20 to 29.