Otley's Word Feast could be the start of something big

Story teller Angie Palmer-Robinson at Otley Library

Story teller Angie Palmer-Robinson at Otley Library

First published in News Wharfedale Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Otley's first ever Word Feast has been hailed a success by the town mayor – who hopes it can grow into the town's very own arts festival.

Councillor Nigel Francis presented prizes to the senior winners of the event's writing competition at Korks Wine Bar last Friday, before handing out the honours to the junior entrants at Otley Library the following day.

The Feast, a celebration of the written and spoken word, involved all kinds of creative writing workshops being held at the library, Otley Courthouse and other town centre venues.

There were performances from established writers, including poet and comedian John Hegley and Holocaust survivor Iby Knill, along with one-off events such as a Jane Austen inspired tea dance.

Coun Francis said: “I thought this was a very good, well organised event and something Otley should be proud of and can build on.

“There were about 65 people at the launch at Korks, which was very interesting, and it was great to see all the local talent and the stories and poems they'd written, and there were another 70 at the library on Saturday.

“The children and young people had written some really creative stories and poems too, and it was a pleasure to hand out the prizes and hear some of them read out.

“The organisers did really well, in just six months, to pull this together.

“It may be in years to come that this word feast can grow into something bigger, like a week-long celebration of poems, literature and the arts.”

The feast's organisers, meanwhile – local writers Jane Kite, Sheila Collins, Wanda Phillips, Glenis Burgess and Sandra Burnett – were happy with what they said had been a “great showcase for local talent”.

They are also celebrating receiving an award from the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Fund, which will help pay for the publication of the the event’s winning competition entries into an anthology to be distributed in June.

A spokesman said: “This feast of words and showcase for local talent, made possible by the generous support of local organisations and businesses, will hopefully go on to become a successful addition to Otley's annual calendar.”

The organisers thanked Otley Town Council, Leeds City Council, the Co-operative Community Fund, Leeds ONW Committee, Otley Chamber of Trade, Otley Town Partnership, Otley Rotary Club, Chevin Rotary Club, Otley Library, Otley Courthouse, Korks Wine Bar, Dale Eddison, Courtyard Planters, and local businesses for the support during the Feast.

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