Celebrate Yorkshire Stories at #RaworthsLitFest this Weekend

This photograph of Ribblehead Viaduct was taken by photographer Charlotte Graham

Few places can boast such a rich and varied history, or so many diverse cultures and landscapes as Yorkshire. There’s even a Yorkshire Day, when people not known for shouting from the rooftops, wave a metaphorical flag for the nation’s largest county.

Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival is proud of its Yorkshire roots which is once again reflected in our line-up of authors who, if not from the county themselves, have a connection to it – like Charlotte Graham, whose book, Yorkshire People, brilliantly captures the lives of those who live and work here.

Charlotte, based near Malton, is an award-winning photographer, and her book includes more than 120 images that celebrate the many faces and facets of Yorkshire life, from farriers, millwrights and artists to well-known public figures and iconic locations.

It’s said that a picture can paint a thousand words and her photographs get to the very heart of what makes God’s Own County unique.

It’s fair to say that Yorkshire has inspired many of our greatest artists, writers and poets over the years – from Ted Hughes and the Brontës to David Hockney and JB Priestley. And they aren’t the only ones who have been, and continue to be, smitten with Yorkshire. It’s inspired plenty of chefs, too, James Martin, Tommy Banks and Brian Turner to name but a few. So much so, in Rosemary Shrager’s case, that she set her latest novel here.

Rosemary is a renowned chef whose career spans more than four decades during which time she’s appeared on countless TV cooking shows and established herself as one of the most prominent and charismatic figures in the culinary world. She’s also gathered a growing band of loyal readers with her cosy crime novels featuring retired celebrity chef Prudence Bulstrode, the latest of which, The Proof In The Pudding, is set in a little Yorkshire village.

Another of our guest authors, Luke Jennings, has an interesting Yorkshire connection. His Villanelle stories were the inspiration behind the hit TV series Killing Eve. These tales revolve around a cat and mouse game between MI5 officer, Eve, and deadly female assassin Villanelle – a far cry from his tranquil days as a pupil in the late 1960s at Ampleforth College, deep in the stunning North Yorkshire landscape, where he enjoyed cross-country running and fishing.

For many people, Yorkshire is synonymous with cricket and for aficionados of the ‘gentleman’s game’ you can’t talk about great England captains without mentioning Mike Brearley’s name.

A talented batsman, it was his shrewd man-management skills and inspiring leadership qualities that made him such a revered figure. He was captain at Headingley in 1981 when an Ian Botham-inspired England snatched a dramatic victory from the jaws of defeat against Australia and in doing so changed the course of this historic Ashes series.

His new memoir, Turning Over the Pebbles, seamlessly blends reflections on his sporting life with meditations on philosophy, literature, leadership and psychoanalysis, and he will no doubt have audiences enthralled when he takes to the stage in Harrogate.

In the end, great stories are all about people and a sense of place, and perhaps that’s why Yorkshire tugs at the heartstrings of locals and visitors alike in a way that nowhere else quite does.

Browse the full programme for Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival here or call the box office on 01423 562 303.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Graham Photography