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Spoken word festival is the talk of the town

By Alex Rhodes 

A spoken word festival begins today in a historic market town.

Word Feast will run through the weekend with events in ten venues throughout Otley.

These events include a workshop on writing children’s fiction, a youth poetry slam and an interactive ‘Gruffalo Walk’ where children and parents take a walk whilst reading extracts from the critically acclaimed children’s book, The Gruffalo.

Otley Word Feast also has events and activities that link with the Tour de France, which begins in Yorkshire in less than 100 days. The committee has self published a collection of stories and poems about cycling in an anthology named Spokes: Poetry on Two Wheels which is officially launched at a live event on Sunday. The book features a contribution from Britain’s poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and a foreword by distinguished poet and playwright, Ian McMillan.

The front cover of Spokes - pic courtesy of

The front cover of Spokes – pic courtesy of

Word Feast committee member, Wanda Phillips, said: “Every poem is in some way related to cycling, there’s some humorous ones, some serious ones. A real variety.”

Contributions to the book and even the design were done on a voluntary basis and all proceeds are going to Word Feast.

Word Feast has been running since 2011 and although the committee is happy with the reception it receives every year, Wanda Phillips said there’s always room for improvement. “We’d love for more people to come and join the club’s membership to help take it forward into the future.”

Sarah Luxmore, 20, is a shift manager at the Bowling Green- one of the pub venues for the Feast – she said: “I think it’s great for the community and local businesses and I’m sure it’s going to be popular with the local residents of the town.”

The Bowling Green pub in Otley

The Bowling Green pub in Otley

Otley Word Feast begins tonight at with an opening event at Kork’s Wine Bar from 7:00 pm.


LISTEN: Otley Word Feast committee members, Wanda Phillips and Sandra Burnet, talk about whether there is still a demand for poetry and spoken word in the 21st Century.



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