A comprehensive list of all 'Head in a Book' poetry readings

Head in a Book Readings

Wednesday 18th April 2018

James Reckitt Reading Room, Central Library, Albion Street, Hull, HU1 3TF


Free Entry

Barney Farmer reading and in conversation with Dave Lee

Barney Farmer is a writer and artist who writes about things for Viz, mostly about drunken bakers, and sometimes for Private Eye, but not about drunken bakers. Farmer also wrote a short film called Who is to Blame. He uses biros. Tonight he will in conversation with Dave Lee.
At Wrecking Ball Press we wait in great anticipation for stuff like Drunken Baker by Barney Farmer to drop through the letter box. It’s what we do… A fisherman waits for a fish to bite. A hypochondriac waits for death. Vladimir and Estragon wait for Godot. Bob waited in vain. We wait for the barman to catch our eye. We count the minutes before it’s time to go. The prisoner waits for sentence. I’m waiting on a call. We’re all waiting to be seen. We all watch the news, hold our breath and wait for sense. We play the waiting game.
All publishers wait for the next great book.
We’ve been waiting years and it’s finally arrived.
Characters born into the celebrated Viz comic strip, ‘Drunken Bakers’, are here for the first time immortalised in a book. A day in the life: the decline of the independent bakery, and the steeper decline of the independent bakers within it (cake and bargain booze included).
A harsh reality displayed without apology, elbowing its way into our comfort zone bringing laughter and the smell of stale beer.


“‘Drunken Bakers’ is like Samuel fucking Beckett or something. It’s horrible and really funny.” - Alan Moore

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Wednesday 12th April 2017

James Reckitt Reading Room, Central Library, Albion Street, Hull, HU1 3TF


Free Entry

Sue Wilsea reading and in Conversation with Louise Beech

Sue Wilsea has captured the essentials of short stories: plots to which a reader can relate, believable characters in identifiable situations, a pace of writing that moves the reader along. There’s variety; from subtle eroticism, well-crafted metaphor, social commentary to struggling writers, discarded lovers and a guilty jailer….Each story has an essential truth at its core, one that readers may not fully grasp until the last word.

You think you are reading about one theme only to discover it is giving you a completely different perspective and challenging your pre-conceptions and prejudices (some you never even realised you had). I love the way the writer uses language and imagery without ever over-playing it and feel that with Raw Material Sue Wilsea has really found her voice.

Sue’s work is with words, whether that’s writing, performing or teaching. Her fiction and poetry has been widely published and broadcast with her first collection of short stories, Staying Afloat, being published by Valley Press in 2012. In 2014 she gained an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University. As a freelance Arts practitioner Sue currently delivers Creative Writing classes and undertakes a wide range of writing / literature based projects. She has four grown-up children, lives with her husband in North Lincolnshire and buys too many books and earrings.


Wednesday 15th March 2017

James Reckitt Reading Room, Central Library, Albion Street, Hull, HU1 3TF


Free Entry

Michael Waters & Mihaela Moscaliuc

American poet Michael Waters has published numerous books, including Celestial Joyride (2017) and Selected Poems (2011) from Shoestring Press and, in the U.S., Gospel Night (2011), Darling Vulgarity (2006—finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize) and Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems (2001—finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize) from BOA Editions. He has co-edited Contemporary American Poetry (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) and Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing from Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois UP, 2003). Recipient of five Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Fulbright Foundation and New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Waters teaches at Monmouth University and in the Drew University MFA Program in Poetry & Poetry in Translation.

Mihaela Moscaliuc was born and raised in Romania, where most of her family still resides. She is the author of the poetry collections Immigrant Model (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015) and Father Dirt (Alice James Books, 2010), translator of Carmelia Leonte’s The Hiss of the Viper (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015), and editor of Insane Devotion: On the Writing of Gerald Stern (Trinity University Press, 2016). The recipient of two Glenna Luschei Awards (in poetry and prose, respectively) from Prairie Schooner, a residency fellowship from Le Chateau de Lavigny (Switzerland), an Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and a Fulbright fellowship to Romania, Moscaliuc is assistant professor of English at Monmouth University and faculty in the Drew University MFA Program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation.


Saturday 11th February 2017

James Reckitt Reading Room, Central Library, Albion Street, Hull, HU1 3TF


Free Entry

Tony Fletcher

Tony will be reading from In The Midnight Hour: The Life & Soul of Wilson Pickett and joining local author Russ Litten in a discussion about Pickett and more. Entry for this event is free, books should be available for purchase.  

"Journalists who write about sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll often find it easier to focus on the sensational aspects of the industry than on the music itself, but Mr. Fletcher... gets it right."--Wall Street Journal

The reaction to In The Midnight Hour: The Life & Soul of Wilson Pickett has been overwhelmingly positive in the States, with front page reviews/features on the Wall Street Journal and Memphis Commercial Appeal, readings in New York, Stax Memphis and Los Angeles, and radio interviews on various NPR affiliates as well as multiple commercial stations.

Tony Fletcher now lives in the Catskill Mountains so this is a rare opportunity to hear this rich and knowledgeable fund of extraordinary stories. His latest publication looks at the hard yards and glory years in the fascinating life of Wilson Pickett... and we'll touch on some of his earlier books about The Smiths, The Clash, R.E.M. and The Who (the stupendous Dear Boy: The Life of Keith Moon is still one of the best rock chronicles ever written).”

Tony recently put together a Wilson Pickett Top 20 Performances playlist on YouTube, which should verify why a book on this legendary soul singer was long overdue. 

Tony Fletcher will be in conversation with Russ Litten.


Wednesday 28th September 2016

James Reckitt Reading Room, Central Library, Albion Street, Hull, HU1 3TF


Free Entry

Louise Beech

Louise Beech has always been haunted by the sea, and regularly writes travel pieces for the Hull Daily Mail, where she was a columnist for ten years. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012. She is also part of the Mums’ Army on Lizzie and Carl’s BBC Radio Humberside Breakfast Show. How To Be Brave is Louise’s first book. This event at Head in a Book will be the launch of The Mountain in My Shoe. Louise will be reading from the novel and will also be in discussion with Russ Litten. 


Wednesday 20th July 2016

James Reckitt Reading Room, Central Library, Albion Street, Hull, HU1 3TF


Free Entry

Louise Wallwein

Louise Wallwein is a Poet, Performer, Playwright and Filmmaker who has a reputation as an explosive artist. Work includes an award winning legendary one-woman show on the wing of a WW11 Shackleton aircraft in Manchester. Since then she has had worked produced by Contact, The Royal Exchange, Sydney Opera House, Red Ladder, Sheffield Crucible and BBC Radio 3 and 4, She has worked locally and internationally, deploying her skills as a poet to connect people to their voices. 
International residencies include being Poet in Residence of Queensland and Writer in Residence at the University of Manitoba Winnipeg, Canada.



Tuesday 28th June 2016

James Reckitt Reading Room, Central Library, Albion Street, Hull, HU1 3TF


Free Entry

Andy Dawson

After two decades as a freelance writer for a variety of newspapers and magazines, Andy Dawson’s greatest achievement has arguably been a rage-filled Twitter account in which he swearily highlights some of the worst cultural and societal atrocities of the modern era. 

Get In The Sea has amassed over 300,000 social media followers in under a year and spawned a critically-acclaimed book of the same name. More recently, Andy has teamed up with Bob Mortimer to launch Athletico Mince, a weekly football podcast which boasts of a minimum of 8% football content, leaving plenty of time for the pair to discuss more important matters such as drinking jars of pasta sauce in cinemas, servant etiquette, lifting up celebrities and domestic appliance purchase advice.


James Reckitt Reading Room, Central Library, Albion Street, Hull, HU1 3TF


Free Entry

Nicholas Lezard

Nicholas Lezard has a weekly column, “Nicholas Lezard’s Choice”, reviewing paperback books for the Guardian. He also writes for the Independent, as well as the “Down and Out in London” column for the New Statesman. His book “The Nolympics: One Man's Struggle Against Sporting Hysteria” was described as “the perfect antidote to Olympics Fever”. Lezard also wrote the memoir, “Bitter Experience Has Taught Me”, following an enforced expulsion from his family home and onto the couch of a golden-hearted psychopath named Razors. “Bitter Experience …” is a cautionary tale of alcohol, love and nocturnal revelry on a budget, a timely warning to all feckless male dolts everywhere

Saturday 23rd April 2016

James Reckitt Reading Room, Central Library, Albion Street, Hull, HU1 3TF



 World Book Night 

 Free Entry

 Niall Griffiths

 Free books will be given to the audience on a World Book Night Giveaway.

Niall Griffiths was born in Liverpool in 1966, studied English, and now lives and works in Aberystwyth.

His novels include: Grits (2000), a tale of addicts and drifters in rural Wales; Sheepshagger (2001) telling the story of Ianto, a feral mountain boy; Kelly & Victor (2002); Stump (2003), which won two Book of the Year awards; Wreckage (2005); Runt (2007); Ten Pound Pom (2009); and A Great Big Shining Star (2013). Grits, Kelly & Victor and Stump were made into films for television.

Niall Griffiths has also written travel pieces, restaurant and book reviews, and radio plays. 

In 2010, his book, In The Dreams of Max and Ronnie was published, one of Seren's 'New Stories from the Mabinogion' series. Griffiths first collection of poetry Red Roar: 20 Years of Words was published by Wrecking Ball Press in 2015. 




Wednesday 9th March 2016

James Reckitt Reading Room, Central Library, Albion Street, Hull, HU1 3TF


Free Entry

A Peepal Tree Press Reading

Peepal Tree aims to bring you the very best of international writing from the Caribbean, its diasporas and the UK.

Desiree Reynolds lives in Sheffield. She was brought up in Clapham, London
and started her writing career as a freelance journalist for the Jamaica
Gleaner and the Village Voice. She is a broadcaster, creative writing
workshop facilitator, DJ and mentor. Her first novel, Seduce was published
in 2013 and her short story, 'Works' was published in the Closure anthology
last year. She is currently working on a collection of short stories and a

Sai Murray is a writer, poet and graphic designer of Bajan/Afrikan/English
heritage. In a former life he worked in advertising - he has been clean for
over 13 years and now works with selected grassroots community organisations
through his artist/activist promotions agency, Liquorice Fish. His first
collection of  poetry, Ad-liberation was published in 2013. His short story
'Piss Pals' appears in the Closure anthology.

Khadijah Ibrahiim was born in Leeds of Jamaican parentage. She  is a
literary activist, researcher, educator and Artistic director of Leeds Young
Authors. Her debut collection of poems, Another Crossing was hailed by Ian
McMillan as 'a marvellous collection of poems that speaks to Leeds and the
world; ... a powerful voice steeped in the Black Yorkshire experience that
truly mines the universal in the local."

Wednesday 10th February 2016

James Reckitt Reading Room, Central Library, Albion Street, Hull, HU1 3TF


Free Entry

Andy Fletcher

Wrecking Ball Press Launch of How To Be A Bomb

Andy will be reading from the collection and in conversation with Russ Litten

Andy Fletcher has worked as a farm labourer, machine operator, bus driver and social work assistant. His poems have appeared widely in magazines including Bete Noire, Tears in the Fence, Poetry Salzburg Review, Butcher’s Dog and Iota. The poems in How To Be A Bomb range from simple stark haiku-like lines to rambling dream-prose, both delightfully surreal and as clear as a raindrop caught by sunlight.



Wednesday 16th December 2015

James Reckitt Reading Room, Central Library, Albion Street, Hull, HU1 3TF


Free Entry

Cathi Unsworth reading and in conversation with Nick Quantrill

Cathi Unsworth began her career on the legendary music weekly Sounds at the age of 19 and has worked as a writer and editor for many other music, film and arts magazines since, including Bizarre, Melody Maker, Mojo, Uncut, Volume and Deadline.

Her first novel THE NOT KNOWING was published in 2005, followed the next year with the award-winning short story compendium LONDON NOIR, which she edited, and in 2007 with THE SINGER, about the rise and fall of a punk band from Hull. Her third novel, BAD PENNY BLUES, inspired by the unsolved 'Jack the Stripper' murders of 1959-65 was published in 2010 to great critical acclaim. Her 2012 book WEIRDO, a tale of teenage trauma and female transgression set on the Norfolk coast was shortlisted in many 'best of the year' lists including the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and named Book of the Year 2012 by Loud and Quiet Magazine and

Her latest work Without The Moon, is based on two true crimes that occurred during the dark days of February 1942. It was made Book of the Month by The Times and described as "a classic noir novel in every way" by no less an authority than The Lady.

For more information, please go to



Wednesday 30th September 2015

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room,


Mike Thomas

Reading and in conversation with Russ Litten

Free Entry

Mike Thomas – Mike Thomas was born in 1971 in the Welsh town of Caerphilly, famed for being the birthplace of comedian Tommy Cooper, its ‘deliciously’ salty cheese, and its castle with a tower which allegedly leans at a sharper angle than the more celebrated one in Pisa.

            His teenage years were spent breakdancing, spraying graffiti around the town’s walls and office blocks and just about staying on the right side of the law, until his early twenties when, inexplicably, he joined the local constabulary and began locking people up for spraying graffiti around the town’s walls and office blocks.

While working as a plod in Wales’ capital city of Cardiff, Thomas continued with his childhood passion: writing. As a freelance he produced articles for local newspapers, various websites and national travel magazines, while in 2007 he was one of the winners in the annual Rhys Davies Short Story Competition organised by Literature Wales. After completing a Master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of Wales between 2007 and 2009, Thomas published his debut novel, Pocket Notebook, in 2010 with William Heinemann/Penguin Random House. The author was on the prestigious list of Waterstones’ ‘New Voices’ for that year, while Pocket Notebook was longlisted for the Wales Book of the Year and optioned for television by Carnival Films, the producers of Downton Abbey. His second novel, Ugly Bus, was released by Heinemann in 2014 and is currently in development as a six part television series with the BBC. Both novels deal with the uglier side of policing.

Thomas left the police in the spring of 2015 and grew his hair and a pathetic attempt at a beard. He currently lives in the wilds of Portugal with his wife, children and a senile dog which enjoys eating the family furniture. Alongside chopping wood, cementing crumbling house walls and trying to find somewhere that sells his beloved Marmite, he continues to write articles and web pieces for a variety of sites and publications, and is contracted to London’s Bonnier Publishing for three new novels, the first of which is due for release in early 2016. He is still breakdancing, arguing that the dog enjoys him ‘busting some moves’.


Wednesday 29th July 2015

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room,


Brian Case

Reading and in conversation with Dave Windass

Please click on link below to confirm your attendance

Free Entry

Brian Case – a jazzer and no fan of rock’n’roll – has been, and done, a lot of things in his life, but I doubt you recognize the name.
He’s been a writer for NME and every other ‘head’ mag worth its salt, he’s been a critically-acclaimed author (his 1968 novel The Users – a kind of violent existential English bebop farce– is so good he never wrote another one) and for anyone who’s ever known him he’s been the ultimate source of hipster nods for everything from books (great on crime) to films to records (jazz only, of course).

Along the way, he’s taken live ammo to an Al Pacino interview (it’s a long story…, but his Dad was a copper), abruptly ended a Burt Lancaster press conference by referring to him as Mr. Reynolds, wrestled Will Self to the floor at a book launch (he likes a drink), been hospitalized in the States after taking horse tranquilizers with Ian Dury, been on the road with the Sex Pistols on their first ill-fated UK tour (“Idiots!”) and interviewed Miles Davis in a completely blacked-out room (“I didn’t interview Miles, I interviewed his voice”).

So for over four decades, he’s been consistently in the know about everything worth being in the know about, and he’s always been willing to pass that information on. Yet when they read out the divine roll call of feted music journos – the entrenched canon of Kent, Bangs, Morley, Burchill, Parsons – he never gets a look in. Too jazz, probably. Too contrary, definitely. Which is all a bit of a pain really, because he’s got more talent than all of them.
At this point, I should declare a personal interest. I first met Brian when I was 16. He was a friend of my future wife’s parents and he’d been told that I was into music. By that he assumed jazz (what else is there?). Despite my protestations to the contrary, he followed me round the house simulating the hiss of Max Roach’s hi-hat. Tsk, tsk, tsk! He kept putting on record after record, determined to make me see that this was one of the greatest noises ever. Bearing in mind that at the time I thought I was in the Jesus And Mary Chain, he was up against it. He didn’t care though. He knew he was right. Tsk, tsk, tsk!

I’d never met anyone like Brian. Still haven’t. His love and knowledge for music was all-consuming, as all-consuming as his love for red wine and roll-ups. When he’d finished with music, he’d zigzag over to books or films. He turned me on to some of the great loves of my life – Jim Thompson, James Ellroy, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Gil Evans, Max Roach (!), the lot.

I haven’t seen him for a couple of years now. It’s a shame because whenever I do, I always come away enriched. Someone, Jeff probably (actually definitely), once said to me that the only meaning of cool was that if you knew something was good, you had to tell someone else about it. That definition makes Brian Case one of the coolest people around. If you see his byline on the bottom of anything, make sure you read it. It’ll be about jazz or pulp fiction or something interesting. Whatever, it’ll be worth it.
James Oldham


Wednesday 1st July 2015

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room,


Ruth Dugdall

Reading and in conversation with Nick Quantrill

Please click on link below to confirm your attendance

Wednesday 1st July 2015

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room,


Free Entry  

A blur in the sky, a brick no, a trainer, red falls to the water... There seems to be a scuffle... a hand grabbing at the dangling child. Then, with the awfulness of inevitability, the hanging child drops, gravity takes him.

A child is killed after falling from the Humber Bridge. Despite fleeing the scene, two young brothers are found guilty and sent to prison. Upon their release they are granted one privilege only, their anonymity.

Probation officer Cate Austin is responsible for Humber Boy B`s reintegration into society. But the general public's anger is steadily growing, and those around her are wondering if the secret of his identity is one he actually deserves to keep. Cate's loyalty is challenged when she begins to discover the truth of the crime. She must ask herself if a child is capable of premeditated murder. Or is there a greater evil at play?

Ruth Dugdall studied English at university and then took an MA is Social Work. Following this she worked in the Criminal Justice System as a social worker then as a probation officer. Part of this time was spent seconded to a prison for children guilty of the most serious crimes including murder. 

Ruth's award-winning crime novels are informed by her experience, and have been described as "authentic and credible". 

She was born in Hull, and first went over the Humber Bridge when it was newly opened in 1981. She was ten years old.  


Wednesday 24th June 2015

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room,


Free Entry   

Matt Haig  / Sold Out

Reading and in conversation with Russ Litten.

Matt will be reading from his book " Reasons to Stay Alive" and other works. He will also be talking about his career in literature. After the reading there will be a chance for the audience to ask questions.


 Aged 24, Matt Haig's world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.

 A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

 'I wrote this book because the oldest clichés remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we haven't been able to see it . . . Words, just sometimes, really can set you free.'

Matt Haig was born in Sheffield and now lives in York. As a journalist, he collaborated with The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Face.

His novels, the first of which was published in 2005, are often dark and quirky takes on family life. The Last Family in England tells the story of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 with the protagonists as dogs. It was a best-seller in the UK and the film rights have been sold to Brad Pitt's Plan B production company with Taika Waititi directing. His second novel Dead Fathers Club is based on Hamlet, telling the story of an introspective 11-year-old dealing with the recent death of his father and the subsequent appearance of his father's ghost. His third adult novel, The Possession of Mr Cave, deals with an obsessive father desperately trying to keep his teenage daughter safe. His children's novel, Shadow Forest, is a fantasy that begins with the horrific death of the protagonists' parents. It won the Nestlé Children's Book Prize in 2007. He followed it with the sequel, Runaway Troll, in 2008.

Haig's vampire novel The Radleys, was published in 2011.[2] A film adaptation of The Radleys has been announced, with Alfonso Cuarón attached to produce.[3] Published in 2013, The Humans is the story of an alien who takes the identity of a university lecturer whose work in mathematics threatens the stability of the planet who must also cope with the home life which accompanies his task. The novel is in part an examination of mental illness and how those who suffer can become isolated.


Wednesday 8th April 2015

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room,


Free Entry   

David F. Ross 

Reading and in conversation with Dave Windass.

David will be reading from his book " The Last Days of Disco "

Early in the decade that taste forgot, Fat Franny Duncan is on top of the world. He is the undoubted King of the Ayrshire Mobile Disco scene, controlling and ruling the competition with an iron fist. From birthdays to barn dances, Franny is the man to call. He has even played 'My Boy Lollipop' at a funeral and got away with it. But the future is uncertain. A new partnership is coming and is threatening to destroy the big man’s Empire ... Bobby Cassidy and Joey Miller have been best mates since primary school. Joey is an idealist; Bobby just wants to get laid and avoid following his brother Gary to the Falklands. A partnership in their new mobile disco venture seems like the best way for Bobby to do both at the same time. With compensation from an accident at work, Bobby’s dad Harry invests in the fledgling business. His marriage to Ethel is coming apart at the seams and the disco has given him something to focus on. Tragic news from the other side of the world brings all three strands together in a way that no one could have predicted.

The Last Days of Disco is a eulogy to the beauty and power of the 45rpm vinyl record and the small but significant part it played in a small town Ayrshire community in 1982. Witty, energetic and entirely authentic, it’s also heartbreakingly honest, weaving tragedy together with comedy with uncanny and unsettling elegance. A simply stunning debut.

If you grew up in the Eighties, you’re going to love this

'Full of comedy, pathos and great tunes' Hardeep Singh Kohli

'Warm, funny and evocative’ Chris Brookmyre

‘Dark,hilarious and heart-breaking’ Muriel Gray


Friday 6th March 2015

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room,


Free Entry   

Paul Knott 

Reading and in conversation with Dave Windass.

Paul will be reading from his book " The Accidental Diplomat "

Part political intrigue, part comedic travelogue, The Accidental Diplomat is an incident-packed memoir that bridges the chasm between John le Carré and Johnny English.

Its author, Paul Knott, is an ordinary Northern lad who began his working life in a hut on Hull’s King George Dock before an improbable career switch to Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service. Tied up in a series of significant world events during two decades spent globetrotting on official duties, his story offers an illuminating insight into the most discreet of the UK’s great offices of state, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It blends the political with the personal to paint a vivid picture of the exciting and often absurd life of a Crown emissary.

Knott’s first posting to post-revolutionary Romania is a punishment for insubordination, but he finds the rampant eccentricity of a country striving to emerge from the Ceauşescu dictatorship inspiring and uproarious. A superficially more attractive but ultimately soulless sojourn in Dubai is enlivened when he is abducted at gunpoint by hospitality terrorists, before a happier time in the police-state of Uzbekistan, where he takes a hands-on approach to pursuing human rights and, with greater success, a gorgeous Kenyan lawyer.

His year in Kiev offers a close-up view of events underlying the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, several James Bond moments and an encounter with a wounded gangster. He is then unexpectedly beguiled by the offbeat charms of Belgium and the EU before his remarkable ride ends in Russia. The great land of contradictions proves both appealing and appalling, not least when a former Russian spy is murdered in London by radiation poisoning.

"Achieves the rare combination of being instructive and funny..." - Rt. Hon. Alan Johnson MP


Wednesday 11th February 2015

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room,


Free Entry   

Kerry Drewery

Both Kerry’s novels are set in societies and cultures very different to ours, and she enjoys not just the challenge this presents but the chance it gives to explore and understand different ideologies.

A Brighter Fear, set in Iraq when war breaks out in 2003, explores what living in a war-torn country is like for a teen who just wants a future, while looking at the regime who kidnapped our character’s mother. 

A Dream of Lights follows a teen girl living in North Korea as she discovers the truth of her country. As she is taken to a prison camp we see the depths which humankind can fall to, as well as the strength of the human spirit to survive.


Thursday 11th December 2014

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room,


Free Entry   

William Letford

William Letford has received a New Writer's Award from the Scottish Book Trust, and an Edwin Morgan Travel Bursary. His first collection Bevel (Caracanet) was published in 2012. A chapbook of his poems, translated into Slovakian, was published by Vertigo in October 2014.


Friday 24th October 2014

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room,


Free Entry   

Stav Sherez

Stav Sherez is the author of The Devil's Playground (shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger 2004), The Black Monastery, and the Carrigan & Miller series – A Dark Redemption (shortlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2013) and Eleven Days (shortlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2014).

He is interested in how idealism turns into fanaticism and each of his novels has dealt with this issue in different ways.

He is also the co-author of Great Lost Albums along with Mark Billingham, Martyn Waites and David Quantick."

Wednesday 15th October 2014

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room,


Free Entry   

Ivana Milankov & Wioletta Greg

A chance to hear two fascinating and distinct poets read in Hull.  

Ivana Milankov is the author of seven books of poetry and one book of poetical prose . She translates English and American poetry, including the work of Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, W. B. Yeats, William Blake and Allen Ginsberg. Ivana has taken part in creative workshops with Allen Ginsberg and Ann Waldman. She belongs to the first generation of poets from central and Eastern Europe who were influenced by anti-establishment poetries such as the Beats and the New York poets.

Wioletta Greg

One hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War, Wioletta Greg traces the seams of a family history through a hundred years of life, death, love and tragedy with passion and humour. From the lives of her grandparents in early twentieth-century Poland, through two world wars, life under Communism and the subsequent liberation, to her own experiences as a migrant living on a small island off the coast of Britain, this collection serves as both a fitting personal testament to a family that survived, and as a compelling document of a century of European history.

Wioletta Greg has published several volumes of poetry, a collection of short prose poems and, most recently, a debut novel, Guguły (Wydawnictwo Czarne, 2014), which has already been hailed as the ‘discovery of the year’ by critics and readers alike. Marek Kazmierski’s attentive and nuanced translation of this, her first book-length publication in the UK, gives readers of English a chance to experience this powerful work for the first time.



Tuesday 16th September 2014

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room,


Free Entry   

Eva Dolan

Eva Dolan is an Essex-based copywriter and intermittently successful poker player. Shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Dagger for unpublished authors when she was just a teenager, her début novel “Long Way Home” (Harvill Secker) is the start of a major new crime series starring two detectives from the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit. The second book in the series, “Tell No Tales”, will be published January 2015.

“Modern-day Peterborough is less melting pot than powder keg…perceptive and intelligent, with the ring of authenticity.” The Guardian

“This tale of murder among Peterborough's immigrant community is politically serious without being worthy, and immensely thrilling.” The Telegraph



Thursday 31st July 2014

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room,


Free Entry   

Kerry Hudson

Kerry Hudson was born in Aberdeen. Growing up in a succession of council estates, B&Bs and caravan parks provided her with a keen eye for idiosyncratic behaviour, material for life, and a love of travel.

Her first novel, TONY HOGAN BOUGHT ME AN ICE-CREAM FLOAT BEFORE HE STOLE MY MA, was published by Chatto & Windus in Summer 2012. It has since been shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, Southbank Sky Arts Award, Green Carnation Prize, Polari Prize, Author's Club First Book Award and Saltire First Book Award. It was the winner of the Scottish Book Awards: Best First Novel.

Kerry’s second novel, THIRST, was developed with support from the National Lottery through an Arts Council England grant and will be published July 2014. She now lives, writes and works in East London.


Head in a Book would like to thank the Library Service, The James Reckitt Library Trust and the City Arts Unit for their support



Wednesday 18th June 2014

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room,


 Free Entry   

Emma Jane Unsworth & Jenn Ashworth

Emma Jane Unsworth's first novel Hungry, the Stars and Everything won a Betty Trask award and was shortlisted for the Portico Prize 2012. Her short story 'I Arrive First' was included in The Best British Short Stories 2012 (Salt). Her second novel Animals is published by Canongate. She's working on a third.

Jenn Ashworth is an English writer. She was born in 1982 in Preston, Lancashire.[1] She has graduated from Cambridge University and the Manchester Centre for New Writing. She previously worked as a librarian in a men's prison.

She founded the Preston Writers Network, later renamed as the Central Lancs Writing Hub, and worked as its coordinator until it closed in January 2010. She has also taught creative writing at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester and at the University of Central Lancashire.

She currently runs a literature consultancy called The Writing Smithy with the poet Sarah Hymas and works as an editor and mentor there.She is also a lecturer in Creative Writing at the Department of English and Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster.

In March 2011 she was featured as one of the BBC Culture Show's Best 12 New Novelists.

She has written short stories, and her first novel, A Kind of Intimacy, was published in February 2009.It is the story of a lonely woman failing to come to grips with reality, unable to relate to others, and full of self-deception.It contains strong elements of both comedy and tragedy, and eventually violence. This novel won a Betty Trask Award in 2010.
Two earlier novels are both unpublished. One of them was lost as a result of a computer theft in 2004. However, an extract from this lost novel was the winner of the 2003 Quiller-Couch Prize for Creative Writing at Cambridge University.

Ashworth's 2011 novel, Cold Light aims, according to her own account, to be "dark and funny and odd". This novel tells the story of three teenage girls, one of whom dies with her boyfriend in suspicious circumstances. The novel is set on the tenth anniversary of the death, when a memorial summerhouse is built and another body is found. A third novel The Friday Gospels, published in January 2013, imagines a Lancastrian family, welcoming their son home from a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Jenn Ashworth was herself brought up as member of the LDS Church, but left the church in her teens.



Friday 23rd May 2014

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room,


Free Entry   

Richard Milward

Richard Milward was born on 26 October 1984 in Middlesbrough, England. In April 2007, his debut novel Apples (Faber) was published when Richard was the tender age of twenty-two, to great critical acclaim. Northern Stage/Company of Angels produced Apples for the stage in 2010, touring it extensively in the UK, including an award-winning spell at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Richard's second novel, Ten Storey Love Song (Faber), was released in the UK in February 2009, receiving accolades from such folk as Irvine Welsh ('a major talent') and Lauren Laverne ('astounding').

His third novel, Kimberly's Capital Punishment, was published in August 2012, preceded by a limited edition of 300 (featuring special packaging, and original hand-drawn artwork by the author) in July. The novel is a sextuple-ended black comedy, following a girl's fated attempts at 'unadulterated altruism' in a nightmarish vision of our nation's Capital.

To date, Richard's books have been translated into nine different languages (Dutch, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Romanian, Portuguese, Hebrew, Turkish).

Richard's writing (both fiction and non fiction) has appeared in The Face, Dazed & Confused, The Guardian, The Independent, Arena, .Cent, Vice, The Quietus, Loops, Le Gun, Bare Bones, It's Nice That, Middlesbrough FC fanzine Fly Me To The Moon and others. He has also written catalogue essays for various artists: Damien Hirst, legendary music photographer Kevin Cummins, artist Johannes Albers, illustrator Neal Fox, as well as the liner notes for the Azusa Plane retrospective, Where the Sands Turn to Gold. His occasional excursions in journalism include interviews with Pete 'Sonic Boom' Kember of Spectrum/Spacemen 3, TOY and Olympic boxing gold medallist, Luke Campbell.

In 2010, Richard guest-edited the Autumn/Winter edition of .Cent magazine: 'The Intoxication Issue', with contributions from DBC Pierre, Animal Collective, Faust, etc.
In June 2008, Richard graduated from Byam Shaw at Central St Martins College of Art and Design with a 2:1 degree in Fine Art. He has exhibited his psychedelic, slapdash artwork at Waterstone's bookshops across the UK; Galerie Quartair in The Hague, Netherlands; The Social and The Amuti Gallery in London; as well as mima and The Tunnel Gallery, Middlesbrough. He also decorated the moveable sets for the Apples stage production.

Richard currently lives in Middlesbrough but often strays from the Infant Hercules to read his novels up and down the UK, frequently performing with something colourful attached to his cranium. In 2013 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters from Teesside University.

'A major talent' - Irvine Welsh


Wednesday 30th April 2014

Kardomah at 94 (formerly The Other Space), 94 Alfred Gelder Street, Hull, HU1 2AN.


£5  tickets available from   

Phil Redmond, Liz Kershaw & Robert Crampton.

What is Northern ?

Three outspoken and highly prominent northern souls are heading to Hull to debate the question What is Northern ?

Brookside and Hollyoaks creator Phil Redmond, broadcaster Liz Kershaw and Times journalist Robert Crampton will gather in front of a live audience to get to the heart of what makes the north such a unique place. This is a genuine attempt to discard the cliches, tropes, stereotypes and generalisations associated with northernness in order to constructively discuss northern culture.

The panel will be asked to ponder whether there a north/south divide at all and if there is such a thing as a shared northern identity. If there is a shared northern experience how does that manifest itself ? What characteristics are typically northern ? Or is regional identity more influential ? How do culture and the arts reflect regional identity ? The conversation will be chaired by Hull writer Dave Windass.

This debate is a pertinent one for Hull as the city and its people, who have reflected extensively on the spirit of Hullness in recent years, now consider how Hull’s identity will be perceived regionally, nationally and internationally as we move towards 2017, when the spotlight will focus on this UK City of Culture.

Phil Redmond CBE sat on the judging panel that awarded Hull its 2017 UK City of Culture status. He has created a host of popular television series, including Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks and founded Mersey Television.

Liz Kershaw began her media career as a music columnist for the Yorkshire Post. She celebrated 25 years on national BBC radio in 2012. She has presented on Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3 and Radio 4 and can currently be heard on BBC 6 Music.

Robert Crampton joined The Times in 1991 and works principally as an interviewer, columnist and feature writer for the Saturday Magazine. He writes regular weekly column Beta Male and many of the newspaper's leader columns. He grew up in the Hull area.

Head in a Book would like to thank the Library Service and the James Reckitt Library Trust for their support


Friday 28th February

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room

7.30pm Free Entry


Niall Grifiths

Reading and in conversation with Russ Litten

Niall Griffiths first exploded into public consciousness with his 2000 debut GRITS. SInce then he has published seven savagely brilliant novels and numerous other works, including the travelogue/memoir TEN POUND POM and THE DREAMS OF MAX AND RONNIE, a re-imagining of stories from the Welsh Mabinogion. His latest book A GREAT BIG SHINING STAR is a passionate howl at the hollow absurdity of celebrity culture and the film adaptation of KELLY + VICTOR has been nominated in this year's BAFTA awards. Griffiths work is lyrical, ferocious, tender and poetic and his readings are electrifying. This is a rare opportunity to hear the UK's most vital and visionary writer.


Thursday 19th December

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room 

7.30pm   Free Entry  


Alan Williams 

The internationally acclaimed actor and writer Alan Williams will be performing from his one man play The Girl With Two Voices.

Alan Williams came to Hull in 1972 to work with Hull Truck. Between then and 1981 he appeared in such forgotten Hull Truck gems as "Wimbo the Wonder Dog" and "The Gormless Ghoul of Castle Doom" (both for young, unsuspecting audiences), the popular cabaret shows "Melody Bandbox Rhythm Roadshow" and "Bunny Scuff's Teen Tempo Disc Date", and the main, devised plays, "The Weekend After Next", "Bridget's House" and "Bed of Roses". Later, he wrote a couple of plays for the Truck, "Mean Streaks" and "In Dreams", and wrote and performed the three full length monologues that comprised "The Cockroad Trilogy".
In 1981 he took "The Cockroach Trilogy" to the Toronto International Theatre Festival and subsequently toured the show across Canada. He also wrote for Prairie Theatre Exchange and Tarragon Theatre and worked as artistic director with Winnipeg’s Rude Players.
He won a Jessie award for his performance in the first production of "Vigill" by Morris Panych at the Belfry Theatre, in Victoria, and the Vancouver Arts Club Theatre.
He wrote the screenplay for the movie "The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati" and received a nomination for a Genie award for best actor in a leading role for his acting in it.
Since returning to Britain he has performed in a number of crictically acclaimed plays including including the first production of "Crave" by Sarah Kane and the original production of "Under The Whaleback".He performed in the original production of Warhorse at the National Theatre and in the West End, and the Fiftieth Anniversary production of The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter.
Apart from his principal role in the Sky TV series "Starlings", he has also appeared in a wide variety of television series, including "Spooks", "Rome" "Wire in The Blood", "Vera", "Touching Evil", "Sirens", "Endeavour", as well as feature films like "Among Giants", "The Life And Death of Peter Sellers", "London Boulevard", "Grow Your Own", and "Warhorse".

Currently, he is developing and occasionally touring his new set of one man plays, collectively titled The Girl With Two Voices, and working on a new play loosely based on the folk club at the Blue Bell pub in Hull in the sixties.

Thursday 21st November

Hull Central Library, James Reckitt Reading Room 

 7.30pm   Free Entry  

Russ Litten 

Russ will be reading from his forthcoming novel. There will then be a Q & A session with Dave Windass before its opened up to the audience.

Russ Litten was born at the end of the 60's, grew up in the 70's and left school in the 80's. He spent the subsequent decades in a bewildering variety of jobs before becoming a freelance writer at the turn of the century. After writing drama for television, radio and film, his first novel, SCREAM IF YOU WANT TO GO FASTER was published by William Heinemann in 2011. Tindal Street Press published his second novel, “SWEAR DOWN”, in April 2013. He lives with his family in Kingston Upon Hull and currently works as a Writer In Residence at a local prison. 




Wednesday 16th October - Hull Central Library

James Reckitt Reading Room

7.30pm   Free Entry

Violet Grigorian & Hasmik Simonian

Violet Grigorian and Hasmik Simonian belong to the new and younger generation of Armenian poets. As Armenia and its writers opened up to Western Modernism the revered folklore tradition sparked with innovations the Soviet censorship had suppressed to create fiery confident poetry. Savour this with Armenian coffee and pastries.

Violet Grigorian, poet and essayist, was born in 1962 in Tehran before her family moved to Armenia in 1976. One of the founders of the literary journal Inqnagir, she currently serves as its editor. The author of five books of poems, Grigorian has won the Writers’ Union of Armenia Poetry Award for True, I’m Telling the Truth (1991), and the Golden Cane Prize in literature for The City (1998). Her poems have been anthologized in France, and in the English-language collections Anthology of the Armenian PEN Centre (Yerevan, 1999); From Ararat to Angeltown by Emily Artinian, (London, 2005); The Other Voice: Armenian Women’s Poetry Through the Ages (2006); and Deviation: an Anthology of Contemporary Armenian Literature (2008). Her poems have also been translated into Slovak, Macedonia, Georgian and Ukrainian.

Hasmik Simonian was born in 1987 in Yerevan. She completed her studies at Yerevan State University of Pedagogy in 2008, specializing in Philology. In 2009 she completed a course in journalism at the Caucasus Institute of Journalism in Yerevan.

She has published two collections of poetry, Lunatic Words (2005) and Untidy Rooms (2010). She has received many literary awards including the 2004 Time award, the Slavik Chiloyan award for her first collection and the ‘Little Prince’ award, both in 2005, and the President’s Youth award in Literature and the Special Prize at the ‘The Future is Ours’ Festival, both in 2006. She also received the Gretert journal award for rhetoric and essay writing in 2008, and for poetry in 2010.


Thursday 19th September - Hull Central Library, 

James Reckitt Reading Room, 

7.30pm   Free Entry  

D.D. Johnston & Martin Goodman

D.D. Johnston was born in Scotland and studied Sociology at Edinburgh University. He is the author of Peace, Love, & Petrol Bombs (AK Press, 2011), chosen by Helen Fitzgerald as her Book of the Year in the Sunday Herald: “Peace Love & Petrol Bombs, the debut novel by DD Johnston is a non-preachy coming-of-age story set amid the complex and chaotic backdrop of anti-capitalist politics. It’s also funny as all hell. And it’s got morally ambiguous people in it. Exactly my cup of organic free-trade tea.” Popmatters described it as “a humorous and poignant novel about anarchism – possibly a first” and added that “this genial, engaging, yet serious search for meaning in a commodified global culture deserves wide acclaim” (John L. Murphy). While The Morning Star wrote that “Rarely has a recent work of fiction so naturally and unpretentiously articulated Marx’s analysis of worker alienation explicitly and implicitly in its plotlines and dialogue. (…) Peace, Love and Petrol Bombs has a very urgent relevance now and for the immediate future” (Paul Simon).The Deconstruction of Professor Thrub (Barbican Press, 2013) was developed from his doctoral thesis, which earned him a PhD from the University of Gloucestershire in 2012. His short story 'The Invitation' was shortlisted for the 2012 Bridport Prize. He lives in Cheltenham and works at the University of Gloucestershire, where he is a University Teaching Fellow and a lecturer in Creative Writing.
Martin Goodman’s first novel was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize, and his recent biography of J.S Haldane, Suffer & Survive, won 1st Prize, Basis of Science in the BMA Book Awards 2008. Other nonfiction writings explore the extremes of the spiritual life: shamanism, sacred mountains, hallucinogens, and self-proclaimed goddesses. Other fiction focuses on the aftermath of wars. A BBC New Generation Thinker for 2012-13, his documentary series The New North aired on Radio 4 in June 2013. It examined the regeneration of the North of England through culture and iconic architecture. He is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Hull, and Director of the Philip Larkin Centre for Poetry and Creative Writing.


Wednesday 28th August - Hull Central Library, 

Children's Library, 

4.00pm   Free Entry  

Dave Shelton

Reading from his award winning children's book a Boy and a Bear in a Boat

A boy and a bear go to sea, equipped with a suitcase, a comic book and a ukulele. They are only travelling a short distance and it really shouldn't take long. But their journey doesn't quite go to plan . . .
Faced with turbulent storms, a terrifying sea monster and the rank remains of a very dangerous sandwich, the odds are against our unlikely heroes. Will the Harriet, their trusted vessel, withstand the violent lashings of the salty waves? And will anyone ever answer their message in a bottle?
Brilliantly funny and tender, this beautiful book maps the growth of a truly memorable friendship and explores how, when all else is lost, the most unexpected joys can be found.

A Boy and a Bear in a Boat is the story of a boy and a bear who go to sea together. The writing has a simple yet elegant cadence and the story is full of warmth and humour. The bear eats extravagant sandwiches (anchovy, banana and custard, with the telling detail that the crusts are cut off) and plays a ukulele for "complimentary on-board entertainment". Their journey doesn't quite go to plan and the book becomes an almost philosophical reflection on how to live life for the moment as they battle on at sea without knowing how things will turn out. "They keep life interesting, don't they, emergencies?' says the bear.
Dave Shelton has recently won the 2013 Branford Boase Award for his witty and imaginative debut novel A Boy and a Bear in a Boat.

Born and raised in Leicester, Dave now lives in Cambridge with Pam, Mila, a bonkers dog and a badly named cat. He likes comics, cricket, crosswords and talking to cartoonists about pens. His comic strip Good Dog, Bad Dog appeared in The DFC and Phoenix comics and the Guardian, and is collected in book form by David Fickling Books. His debut children’s novel A Boy and a Bear in a Boat was shortlisted for the Costa prize and Carnegie medal, and won the Branford Boase award. He is also the author of Good Dog, Bad Dog, and Shelton’s new book also made the shortlist for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the Costa Children’s Book Award.

Thursday 18th July - Hull Central Library, 

James Reckitt Reading Room,

7.30pm   ( £4 on the door )

Tony Fletcher

Bestselling author Tony Fletcher's account of a life in love with music, taking the reader back to the glory days of the 70s.

Tony will be reading from his new book Boy About Town 

'I was no longer fitting in at school. I was unsure of my friends, and they were increasingly unsure of me. I wanted to be a rock star – a punk rock star, if need be. But while all around, voices were starting to break, acne beginning to appear, facial hair sprouting, I remained all flabby flesh and innate scruff, with a high-pitched whine and not a muscle to my name. I could come top of the year, I could converse with the older teens on the football terraces and with adults in record stores. Yet I was the runt of the class and rarely allowed to forget it. I had no father at home to help me out, and could hardly talk to my mum. So I took solace in The Jam.'

As a boy, Tony Fletcher frequently felt out of place. Yet somehow he secured a ringside seat at one of the most creative periods in British cultural history. 

Boy About Town tells the story of the bestselling author’s formative years in the pre- and post-punk music scenes of London, counting down, from fifty to number one, attendance at seminal gigs and encounters with musical heroes; schoolboy projects that became national success stories; the style culture of punks, mods and skinheads, and the tribal violence that enveloped them; life as a latchkey kid in a single-parent household; weekends on the football terraces in a quest for street credibility; and the teenage-boy’s unending obsession with losing his virginity.

Featuring a vibrant cast of supporting characters (from school friends to rock stars), and built up from notebooks, diaries, interviews, letters and issues of his now legendary fanzine Jamming!, Boy About Town is an evocative, bittersweet, amusing and wholly original account of growing up and coming of age in the glory days of the 1970s.

Tony Fletcher is the author of seven non-fiction books and one novel. His biography of drummer Keith Moon, Dear Boy, has been named in many a Best Music Book list, and his biography of R.E.M., updated in 2013 as Perfect Circle, has been published in over half a dozen countries. His latest biography, A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of The Smiths, was published by William Heinemann in September 2012.

Fletcher gained his entry into music journalism by founding a fanzine at his London school in 1977; by the time Jamming! ceased publication in 1986, it was selling 30,000 copies a month. Along the way he interviewed the likes of Pete Townshend, Paul McCartney, Paul Weller and U2, as well as dozens of up-and-coming, predominantly independent post-punk acts.

A contributor over the years to a multitude of magazines, newspapers, radio and television shows, primarily in the UK and USA, Fletcher now lives with his wife and two sons on a mountaintop near the village of Woodstock in New York State. There he runs, skis, maintains his web site, serves on his local school board, and plays Hammond B-3 and Rickenbacker in the Catskill 45s, a group that only performs songs from 45 calendar years ago.


Wednesday June 12th, Pave, 16-20 Princes Ave, 7.30pm

Tickets £8  ( from Pave )

Tracey Thorn

Tracey will be reading from her new book Bedsit Disco Queen, following the reading she will be in conversation with Stephen May

It’s August 1979, and I have just bought my first electric guitar. It’s a black Les Paul copy which I bought for sixty quid via a small ad in the back of Melody Maker. I’m amazed at myself – where have I found the audacity to buy this, well, very masculine icon? And here’s the thing: I don’t have an amp, or even a lead, and if I’m going to be really honest, I’m not certain I even realised you needed one . . . I still have a lot to learn.

At that moment, aged 16, Tracey Thorn found herself embarking on a music career that would last over three decades and take in the defining genres of recent decades: post-punk, indie, pop, trip hop and dance. In the defiant, energetic atmosphere of late 1970s suburban post-punk, Tracey co-founded the Marine Girls, whose two albums became cult classics; and then, at university, she met Ben Watt and formed Everything But The Girl. From consciously indie beginnings in the early 1980s, the duo was drawn into the world of international pop; had hits and flops, toured venues large and small, sold nine million records worldwide; befriended Morrissey and Jeff Buckley, and collaborated with artists and producers as varied as Paul Weller, Tommy LiPuma, Todd Terry and Massive Attack. Along the way, they confronted the pressures of figuring out how to present their music and their relationship, overcame life-threatening illness, and started a family.

From her first forays into buying records, gig-going and experiments with mild stimulants, all noted in her teenage diary – to the highs and lows of making records and performing with what remains one of the most distinctive voices in British music, Bedsit Disco Queen is an honest, moving, perceptive and funny memoir about a very special career and a fascinating era.


Friday May 3rd - Hull Central Library,

James Reckitt Reading Room. 

TISHANI DOSHI was Born in 1975 in Madras. Tishani Doshi is an award-winning poet and dancer of Welsh-Gujarati descent, and has performed with the choreographer Chandralekha on many international stages. Her debut collection, Countries of the Body (2006), won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Her first novel, The Pleasure Seekers (Bloomsbury, 2010), was longlisted for the Orange Prize. In her second poetry collection, Everything Begins Elsewhere (Bloodaxe Books, 2012), she returns to the body as a central theme, but extends beyond the corporeal to challenge the more metaphysical borders of space and time. These new poems are powerful meditations born of the joineries of life and death, union and separation, memory and dream, where lovers speak to each other across the centuries, and daughters wander into their mothers’ childhoods.

'A striking, emergent talent who is prepared to take risks in pursuit of sensual, emotionally engaged and passionate poetry' – John Burnside, Forward Prize judge's comment.

Priscila Uppal is a Canadian poet and fiction writer of South Asian descent. Born in Ottawa in 1974, she is a professor of Humanities and English at York University in Toronto. Her Bloodaxe selection Successful Tragedies: Poems 1998-2010 (2010) draws on six books published in Canada. She gained an international reputation for her boldly provocative poetry in just a dozen years, since publishing her first collection, How to Draw Blood from a Stone, at the age of 23. Noted for their startling imagery, unforgettable characters and visionary lines, her poems are exact and penetrating, yet surreal and deeply moving. Drawing from the scientific to the literary, the medical to the historical, Uppal is as concerned about the inheritance of the past as she is about the tragedies of the present, which makes her both a witness of the terrors and inconsistencies of the past and a messenger of an incomprehensible future.


Thursday April 11th  - Hull Central Library,

James Reckitt Reading Room. 

Kevin Sampson will be reading from his latest novel ' The Killing Pool.' Following the reading he will be in conversation with Nick Quantrill

Kevin Sampson started his writing career in 1982 reviewing bands for music magazines such as NME, Sounds and Melody Maker. He also wrote his first novel that year, though it was rejected by publishers. Over the next few years he began to write regularly for The Face, i-D, Arena, The Observer and Time Out.

After working as an Associate Producer for independent TV production houses Panoptic and Tartan TV, Kevin moved to Channel Four Television in 1986, first as a script reader, then as Assistant Editor for Youth Programmes, working on such shows as The Tube, Network Seven and Soul Train.

Kevin left C4 in 1989 to set up his own production company Kinesis Films, whose credits include The Final Frame, Death Disco and the definitive film about the Ibiza clubbing scene, A Short Film About Chilling.

In 1990 Kevin returned to his hometown of Liverpool to help set up the independent record label, Produce. The label’s first signing, The Farm, enjoyed a string of hits including Groovy Train, Don’t Let Me Down and perhaps the track they’re best known for, All Together Now. The band went on to release 3 albums before disbanding in 1995.

Inspired by the new wave of subculture classics pioneered by Trainspotting, Kevin returned to the novel he wrote back in 1982, Awaydays. It was published by Cape in 1997, the first of 8 novels to date.


Tuesday March 12th - Hull Central Library,

James Reckitt Reading Room. 

Alvin Pang (Singapore) is a poet, writer, editor, anthologist, and translator. His poetry has been translated into over fifteen languages, and is wry and shrewd, intelligent and sensitive. The poems mock, celebrate and unsettle, are generous and beautiful, full of paradoxes, logic and illogicality, and are at once recognisably national and international in reach, offering a fresh edgy energy to the wave of urban poetry emerging from Singapore.

Cliff Forshaw (UK) left school at sixteen and worked in an abattoir before studying painting at art college and developing an interest in languages and literature. After working in Spain, Mexico, Italy, Germany, New York and London, he completed his doctorate on Renaissance Literature at Oxford. Since then he has lived in Snowdonia, and taught at Bangor and now Hull University.

Both poets will be reading from recent Arc Publications titles: When the Barbarians Arrive, and Vandemonian.


Tuesday February 26th - Hull Central Library,

James Reckitt Reading Room. 

Geoff Hattersley was born in South Yorkshire. His many collections of poetry include Port of Entry (Littlewood 1989), Don’t Worry (Bloodaxe 1994), Harmonica (Wrecking Ball Press 2003), and Back of Beyond (Smith Doorstop 2006). His poems have been broadcast on local and national radio and have been used as part of syllabuses in schools, universities, and with The Open University. He is an experienced reader of his poetry and has performed and recorded musical arrangements of his poems.He edited The Wide Skirt Press from 1986 until 1998, publishing 30 issues of the magazine and 24 books and pamphlets. He is an experienced creative writing tutor and is currently Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at Huddersfield University.

Originally from Northern Ireland, Brendan Cleary is one of the UK’s most instinctively gifted poets and a master of the art of teaching poetry. His early work deals with his childhood in a region where 'Despair, like rust, / is contagious', but life in an England of broken ideals and rampant class prejudice comes in for equally biting treatment in poems such as 'Newcastle is Benidorm' and 'Rose'. Honed by his experience as a live performer, his lyrics have a hard-hitting immediacy as he questions his place in the world around him and his affiliation to the culture and traditions of his country of birth. These are not poems for the fainthearted, but they provide insights into the human spirit simply not on offer in the work of less courageous artists.

WENDI SALON is a bus driver from Denver, Colorado. Her first collection I WASN'T SMILING I WAS SHOWING MY TEETH is due out on IDLE HANDS PRESS in the spring.



Tuesday October 23rd - Hull Central Library,

James Reckitt Reading Room.

Bejan Matur was born of an Alevi Kurdish family in 1968 in Southeast Turkey. How Abraham Abandoned Me, published by Arc in 2012, is a philosophical pilgrimage in the Anatolian desert, rich in Islamic iconography. An epic, really. Currently, Matur devotes all her time to writing poetry, and contributes to an internet journal and newspapers, writing on Kurdish politics, Armenian and women’s issues.

Gerður Kristný is a phenomenally energetic Icelandic writer, having produced 18 books of fiction and non-fiction prose, as well as children's books and poetry, in the 16 years since the appearance of her first. She has won numerous prizes and awards, from the Icelandic Journalism Award in 2005 to the Icelandic Literature Prize in 2010 for BloodhoofBloodhoof is the re-casting into compulsively spare modern verse of an ancient Eddic poem.