BOOKS | Leeds United for the Lit Fest Launch

Give David Peace a Chance! (Photo: Faber Social)

In March Leeds gets its first Lit Fest, held at venues across the city. ROBERT KILNER reports on the launch event with author DAVID PEACE at The Leeds Library.

While many libraries have become pubs, restaurants or co-working hubs, The Leeds Library continues to house books and periodicals, a feat it has been maintaining since 1768.

The city’s only subscription library, The Leeds Library offers a year-round programme of events, all of which are open to non-members. Regular free tours permit the curious to wander about one of Yorkshire’s great literary spaces, one which has inspired readers and writers alike.

It was within these book lined walls that the launch of the inaugural Leeds Lit Fest took place. Festival Chair Carl Hutton said the intention of mounting it was to highlight local talent and bring together lesser known organisations and venues, such as this.

Tonight, Ossett-born novelist David Peace was in conversation with Yvette Huddleston. Peace is probably best known round here for The Damned United, his take on Brian Clough’s forty-four days as Leeds United manager in 1974.

Reading aloud from the beginning of that novel, iot is clear his West Riding vowels are still strong despite having lived in Tokyo for the past twenty five years. (He says he had intended to read from Red or Dead, his book about Manchester United manager Bill Shankly, but changed his mind walking into this ‘house of books.’)

After an interview he reads again, this time from latest novel, Patient X: the Case-Book of Ryunosuke Akutagawa. It’s a book in twelve tales about a Japanese short story writer. Peace points out a similarity between Akutagawa and the library, both of which are ‘constructed by books and literature.’

Like all of Peace’s books, Patient X is based around real people and events. In a Q&A session he’s asked about writing, Brexit, fact, fiction and Leeds United. He explains how fiction can be as revealing as fact, and sometimes no less subjective: ‘There is a truth, but it’s hard to find.’

Leeds Lit Fest takes place across the city from 6th – 10th March. Details here.

David Peace interviewed for Chapel FM

Read an Extract from David Peace’s Patient X