New Leeds exhibition celebrates the stunning Yorkshire landscape

Caption:  An image on show at the exhibition of Top Withens farmhouse near Haworth which is thought to have been an inspiration for the Emily Brontë classic 'Wuthering Heights'

The striking beauty of the Yorkshire landscape and how it is portrayed in literature is the subject of a new exhibition at Leeds Central Library.

The exhibition entitled ‘Writing Britain’ is now on show at the library off The Headrow showcasing a fascinating collection of writing, imagery and poetical film inspired by Yorkshire.

The exhibition ranges from well-known literature to new and original work. Items from the Leeds library collections are supported by works on loan from the British Library, including a first edition of Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Shirley’.

The display has been brought together by Leeds City Council’s library and information service in partnership with the British Library as an extension of their major recent London exhibition ‘Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands’.

Through ‘Writing Britain’, the British Library is working with four libraries across England to bring collection items to the regions, in a programme generously funded by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

As part of the Leeds element of the exhibition, a group of young people were challenged to create lyrical rhymes and a spoken word film through the Studio 12 creative workshop in the library which explores the relationship between language and the sense of place. The film is set in locations chosen by the young people themselves, and explores their dreams, beliefs and the choices they face in their lives. The finished film and their creative writing around it form part of the exhibition.

In addition the Central Library Writer’s group have also been involved and created new work and recordings which are being exhibited and can be listened to during the exhibition.

Visitors will also be able to add to the exhibition themselves by filling in postcards available in all branch libraries and in the exhibition space for anyone to send in their own poem or prose relating to Leeds or by tweeting @lettertoleeds.

Leeds City Council area development librarian Rose Gibson said:

“We are delighted to be able to put on display the ‘Writing Britain’ Leeds exhibition for people to see and enjoy in Leeds Central Library. This exhibition celebrates the great Yorkshire landscape in literature and showcases both established and new creative writers. We hope people will get involved and send us a postcard or tweet which can be added to the exhibition. There are also some great events to come along to.

“We are very grateful to The British Library and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for their support and generosity in creating this exhibition, and we look forward to welcoming people of all ages to see it.”

Head of Public Engagement and Learning at the British Library Roger Walshe said:

“We are very excited to share Writing Britain more widely around the country. It is fascinating to see the ideas, experiences and original perspectives that these young people bring to each individual project and their local libraries. It’s very rewarding for us to help engage young people in arts and culture – an interest which we hope will stay with them personally and professionally as they move forward.”

The ‘Writing Britain’ exhibition runs in Leeds Central Library, First floor exhibition space, until Wednesday 30 January 2013.

For further information please contact Leeds Library and Information Service

0113 2476016




Exhibition events

• Saturday 8th December 2- 4pm. Exhibition space, Central Library

Write like the Brontës in an afternoon! Create your own miniature books!

Come and join award-winning writer Char March for this fun and fast-paced writing workshop all about your secrets. Char will help you understand how and why the Brontë sisters wrote their tiny little books in miniature writing, and will give you masses of inspiration for writing your very own little book of secrets. which you can take away afterwards. Come for the full two-hours, or just drop by for 20 min’s. Families welcome – as well as all the adults out there dying to write in really really tiny writing! Part of the Writing Britain exhibition.

• Wednesday 12th December 6.30pm. Exhibition space, Central Library

Michael Stewart and Russ Litten author event hosted by James Nash. Part of Writing Britain and Read Regional.

James Nash will chair this event where we will explore writing that conveys a sense of place and the differences in settings between Scream If You Want To Go Faster by Russ Litten and King Crow by Michael Stewart. (Michael's book is set in Cumbria, while Russ's is set over a couple of streets in Hull).

• Monday 17th December 2-3.30pm. Exhibition space, Central Library

An afternoon with the Brontes

Join us for 'An afternoon with the Brontes' with Ann Dinsdale from the Bronte Society. Yorkshire tea and cakes also provided!

All events are free but please book a place by calling enquiry express on 0113 247 6016.

Notes to editors:

Writing Britain is a national project led by the British Library and generously funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. This two-year initiative will create a sustainable partnership with four city libraries: Newcastle City Library, Leeds Central Library, Norwich & Norfolk Millennium Library and Bristol Central Library. The project aims to engage young people aged 16 – 24, outside of formal education, with library and heritage collections. The project will include an exhibition in each of the venues, which will feature the collections of each region alongside British Library collection items, as well as five youth engagement projects.

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - www.bl.uk - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation is one of the larger independent grant-making foundations in the UK. It makes grants to organisations which aim to maximise opportunities for individuals to experience a full quality of life, both now and in the future. In particular it is concerned with children and young people, and others who are disadvantaged. It prefers to support work which others may find hard to fund, perhaps because it breaks new ground or is too risky. It also takes initiatives where new thinking is required or where it believes there are important unexplored opportunities. www.phf.org.uk

Studio12 is a place to be creative, experiment with new technology, realise hidden talent, reach personal goals and explore professional avenues.

Studio12 is an audio visual media project for young people aged 16-30, providing free access to a production studio, training, accredited qualifications and an Industry Panel of creative professionals working in design, music, video and media arts. Studio12 is part of Leeds Library and Information Service and the project was delivered as part of the Studio12 master class programme, which engages young people with industry professionals working in film, music, and media arts. For more information www.studio12.org.uk


For media enquiries please contact:

Roger Boyde,

Leeds City Council press office,

Tel 0113 247 5472

Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk