York Literature Festival


York Literature Festival 2020

MyVLF is delighted to have posted the 2020 York Festival, supported by Arts Council England.


The York Literature Festival is a charity and while this online event is FREE, if you would like to donate towards their running costs, you can do so via Paypal. You can give as little or as much as you like.

Donate to York Lit Fest

*All times are BST

On Love

Join poets Seni Seneviratne and Afshan D’souza Lodhi as they read from their new collections, Unknown Soldier and re: desire. In Unknown Soldier (Peepal Tree Press), Seni explores the photos taken of her father during the desert war of 1939-1945, writing about both the subject of the photos and the photographer. In re: desire (Burning Eye Books), Afshan explores the yearning to love, be loved and belong from a desi (South Asian) perspective. There’s also a discussion with Chair, Professor Gweno Williams.

Watch On Love

Young, Black and British

In this special event presented by Dialogue Books, two young men who have grown up in the UK exchange their views and understanding of what it’s like to be both black and British in the modern day and age. Teacher and writer Jeffrey Boakye has encountered endless labels – all of which have informed his experience. In his latest book, Black, Listed, he unpicks their meanings. Okey Nzelu is also a teacher. His debut novel, The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney, was published in 2019 and has been getting rave reviews. Join them as they read from their work and discuss growing up, identity, race, God and all the big questions they ask not just of themselves but of all of us.

Watch Young,Black and British

Locating York in Literature

Dr Robert O’Connor (York Centre for Writing, York St John University) is joined by Drs Zoë Enstone and Adam James Smith for a lively round-table discussion of York’s representation in literature from the eighteenth century to the present day. Enstone and Smith will introduce a range of texts, ranging from the eighteenth-century accounts of Daniel Defoe and James Montgomery to contemporary writing by figures such as Kate Atkinson and Susannah Clarke, before discussing these texts and the questions they raise about York’s historic representation.

Suzannah Lipscomb

Most of the women who ever lived left no trace on the record of history and everything we’ve known about ordinary women suggests they were powerless and downtrodden. Professor Suzannah Lipscomb brings us a different story and allows us to hear the voices of sixteenth-century women, telling us the realities of their lives and showing us the ways in which they could be powerful. Professor Lipscomb is a well-known British historian, academic and TV presenter who has written and appeared in a number of television and radio programmes about British history. In January 2019 she was appointed to a personal chair as Professor of History at the University of Roehampton.

Andrew McMillan and Joshua Judson

Andrew McMillan’s debut collection Physical was the first ever poetry collection to win The Guardian First Book Award, amongst others. His second collection, Playtime, was published to great acclaim in 2018 and was The Sunday Times Poetry Book of the Year. Andrew will be giving a reading from his work, supported by poet Joshua Judson, a poet from Nottingham. Joshua is an alumnus of the Mouthy Poets program and is a member of the Barbican Young Poets family. His work has appeared in publications such as The North, Magma, Brittle Star, The White Review, The Rialto, and The Anthropocene among others. His debut pamphlet Gongoozler is forthcoming from Bad Betty Press in 2021.


Join MyVLF for FREE

How to sign up

To join in with any/all of sessions for The York Festival you only need to register at MyVLF.com once. You will then have ongoing access to all events and areas. MyVLF is free to join.

How to access the sessions

On desktop, laptop and ipad, click on the top menu to go to the Theatre or, you can also click on the front page, where you see the Theatre sign.

On mobile, you can use the ‘Press for Menu’ button, or look in the top right corner for the menu. Then scroll down for the Theatre.

You can also click on this link: MyVLF Theatre

MyVLF is more than just the Theatre!

While you’re on the site, or at any other time, please browse the stands in our Exhibition Hall, go to our Café to download our Free Book of the Month, or visit our Bookshelf and take a look at the available books on display.

What’s Next?

We’ve lots of upcoming festivals and interviews for you to enjoy, there really is something for everyone, and the best bit? It’s all free.

We hope you have a wonderful time.