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Spoken Word & Literary

Just words

Dear friends of Deer Shed Dave Simpson & Katherine Stanton have this year put together a delicious selection of Spoken Word and Literary delights for you!

Owen Jones

Owen Jones

Article 50 has been triggered. Brexit is happening. Whether we like it or not, we need a plan. Luckily enough, we know just the man!

Over the years as a columnist writing at The Independent and now The Guardian, Owen Jones has become a household name. His life's work to date has been dedicated to exposing and challenging social injustices, lifting the lid on impoverished conditions that no one in our country should be subjected to, and challenging politicians through eye-opening investigative journalism.

Owen's books to date – Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class and The Establishment – And How They Get Away With It – have been widely critically acclaimed, whilst enlightening many people on a number of largely unexplored issues. He will be appearing at #DeerShed8 to continue his empowerment of the people and spread the good word!

Tim Dowling

Tim Dowling

Tim Dowling's forthcoming book Dad, You Suck examines the banalities and rigours of family life and fatherhood with his usual self-deprecating humour and dry wit. Are fathers there to consistently lead by example like a shining knight in armour, or do we have a duty to teach our children it is perfectly normal that "self-esteem comes and goes – it can get rolled right out of you at short notice?"

Hailed as the inventor of a whole new genre of literature – the self-hinder book, as opposed to the self-help book – Tim's writing reflects the internal conflict that the majority of us experience at those important moments in life where we are forced to lead and take control, even if we do not feel entirely capable or adequate.

Tim's story will no doubt resonate with Deer Shed parents, and we are over the moon that he will be returning to the festival to share it with them in person.

Stuart Heritage

Stuart Heritage

Stuart Heritage's Don't Be a Dick Pete is a portrait of modern masculinity in crisis told through a series of hilarious anecdotes and vignettes on family life. It's a thoughtful reflection on the complexity of fraternal dynamics and an affectionate study of how families work, through the characterisation of two brothers, Stuart himself and the younger Pete.

The author returns to his hometown to discover that Pete has taken his place as the thoughtful, kind and hardworking brother. Practical and resourceful where Stu is not, Pete has become a shoulder to lean on and is now undoubtedly the better son. All at once Pete and Stu must re-evaluate their relationship. It should be easy, but it isn't. Because, well ... Pete's a dick.

At #DeerShed8 celebrated Guardian journalists Stuart Heritage and Tim Dowling will discuss their books, released this spring, and entertain us with their thoughts on being a dad, being a sibling, and family life in general.

Amy Liptrot

Amy Liptrot

With The Wilderwild set to reconnect Deer Shedders with nature, Amy Liptrot's book – The Outrun – is just what we all need.

The Outrun is Amy's award winning story of addiction, recovery, and the healing power of nature. Upon entering adult life, Amy had moved to London and, unable to control her drinking, alcohol gradually took over. Now thirty, she finds herself washed up back home on Orkney, standing unstable at the cliff edge, trying to come to terms with what happened to her in London. Spending early mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, the days tracking Orkney's wildlife, and nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy slowly makes the journey towards recovery from addiction.

A beautiful, inspiring book about living on the edge, the pull between island and city, and about the natural world renewing life and hope, Liptrot’s experiences in The Outrun will remind you of the restorative power of the great outdoors

From The Beatles to Bowie, Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust with Woody Woodmansey and Ken Scott

From The Beatles to Bowie, Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust with Woody Woodmansey and Ken Scott

Ken Scott has worked with countless major pop artists, but is best known as Beatles engineer and producer of no less than five classic David Bowie albums. Woody Woodmansey, meanwhile, is the Yorkshireman drummer from humble Driffield who boarded Bowie’s spaceship and became a Spider From Mars.

This unique event reunites them both. Ken will be talking about his new book Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust and Woody will wow Deer Shedders with tales from and not from his recent autobiography, Spider From Mars, before a joint audience Q&A.

If you ever wanted to know what it was like to be in the studio with Beatles or share a bus with Ziggy Stardust, this is a very special chance to find out.

Vanessa Kisuule

Vanessa Kisuule

Having supported the likes of Linton Kwesi Johnson and even #DeerShed8 music headliner Kate Tempest, Vanessa Kisuule stands as one of the best spoken word performers in the UK. She has won a multitude of SLAM awards and competitions, and has even represented the UK in two European Slam Championships.

Vanessa writes plays, one-woman shows, and performs regularly at festivals, with #DeerShed8 becoming her next stop.

Her debut poetry collection Joyriding The Storm was published in April 2014, which features poems revolving around themes of family and ethnic identity, presented through a masterful command of rhyme, assonance, meter and rhythm.

Rob Cowen

Rob Cowen

Rob Cowen's Common Ground received high praise from literary giant Alan Bennett, who said, "Having finished it, I now feel deprived." This poetic and genre-defying story of a difficult-to-define edge-land on the outskirts of Harrogate explores both the natural wonders and historical layers of this marginal landscape, and Cowen's own personal journey to find a sense of belonging.

One night after moving from London, he finds a pylon-slung edge-land, a tangle of wood, meadow, field and river on the outskirts of town. Despite being in the shadow of thousands of houses, it feels unclaimed, forgotten, caught between worlds, and all the more magical for it.

Harrogate is a town close to the hearts of many Deer Shedders, and this unique portrait of a stretch of land between town and country offers an enthralling new way of writing about nature and our experiences within it, and gives us magic in our everyday.

Anthony Clavane

Anthony Clavane

Anthony Clavane spent 18 years as a national sports writer covering World Cups and Olympics and has had three plays performed in Yorkshire. His first book, Promised Land, won sports book of the year in 2011.

His new book, A Yorkshire Tragedy, examines the divisive legacy of 1980s mainstream, neoliberal politics on sport in Yorkshire. It was chosen as one of The Guardian's sports book of 2016, who branded it "A tender and often terrifying tour of some of Yorkshire's – and England's – most cherished sporting institutions".

Despite its concentration on northern sport, A Yorkshire Tragedy isn't only for sports fans: Clavane's skill as a wordsmith means he is able to expertly track how the deindustrialisation of the '80s fuelled Brexit, and we are delighted to be able to present a book at #DeerShed8 which has sparked such an important discussion.

Kate Pankhurst

Kate Pankhurst

Kate Pankhurst is originally from Liverpool, but has since immigrated to the Deer Shed Festival's homeland of Yorkshire. She has illustrated for a range of brilliant authors and had her debut series as both a writer and illustrator – Mariella Mystery Investigates – published. In addition to this, she regularly runs sessions in primary and secondary schools linked to illustration and writing and as part of Creatives, a company specialising in high quality arts experiences for children and young people.

For young people, we really cannot recommend Kate's latest book of illustrations, Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World, enough. And we're certainly not alone: Russell Brand chose Kate's inspirational book to read to his daughter on this year's International Women's Day. Including Rosa Parks and Jane Austen, the book illustrates some of the bravest and most inspiring women from history, teaching young girls and boys about the importance of female empowerment.

Dominic Berry

Dominic Berry

Dominic Berry - aka Dommy B to his younger audiences - is an internationally award winning performance poet. He works with children and adults and has toured his verse across USA, Canada, India, New Zealand, Australia and Europe .

Dommy B has performed his comedy verse on BBC’s Rhyme Rocket and has nationally toured his self-penned solo shows Aaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Dinosaurs! (2016 and 2017), The Dragon Who Hates Poetry (2013, 2015 and 2017, funded by Big Imaginations and Grants for the Arts) Spark, The Goblin Wizard (2014, 2017, funded by Hamilton Project) and When Trolls Try To Eat Your Goldfish (2014 and 2015, funded by Action Transport Theatre, Big Imaginations and GftA).

Full of energy, jokes and action, these performances have enjoyed full capacity crowds from London to Glasgow and have resulted in Manchester’s Flapjack Press publishing the tie-in book to accompany each story.

Sunday Morning Papers with Kate Fox

Sunday Morning Papers with Kate Fox

When day breaks on Sunday morning at #DeerShed8, we're betting on there being at least a few weary heads waking in their tents.

Worry not: you can always grab a strong cup of coffee (shameless plug for our quality coffee vendors) and relax in front of the Sunday Morning Papers, presented by comedian and Deer Shed favourite, Kate Fox.

A panel will discuss the events that occur over the weekend so you can stay up to date with current affairs even if you've completely immersed yourself in the wonders of The Wilderwild. Expect breaking news and satirical views to banish the lingering hangover blues.

Emily Morris: Write Away the Shame

Emily Morris: Write Away the Shame

What’s the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you? We’re not talking moments that made you blush a bit: we mean those mortifying incidents that made you want to hide behind a rock when they happened and still have you cringing when thinking about it now.

Emily Morris first felt like this in 1994, when her skirt fell off at the school disco as she danced wildly to Cotton Eye Joe. Since then, she’s realised that the best way to deal with moments of shame is to write about them and, if she’s feeling brave enough, share them with the world.

Fresh from launching My Shitty Twenties, her memoir about becoming a single mum, Emily teaches you how to quash crushing embarrassment with the aid of a simple pen. Whether your moment of extreme awkwardness happened last century or last night, bring your sense of humour to Baldersby Park and get ready to write away the shame!

Paul Cookson

Paul Cookson

Paul Cookson is a children's entertainer who has written over sixty books - most of them funny and all of them with poems in. Paul is on the shows line-up this year heading to #DeerShed8 to present his popular show Family Twist which underlines the importance of friendship and fun to children and families.

We're so glad to say that Paul – author of the popular 100 Poems for Children – will also be performing a collection of his best loved poems on our literary line-up!

Poetry can often be overlooked as a form that can spark the artistic passions of young people, and if anyone can help to change this to make poetry more accessible, it is Paul Cookson.

Say Owt Slam

Say Owt Slam

A poetry slam is a competition where each poet gets 3 minutes to impress the audience with exciting, raw and dynamic poetry. Never one to stick to a rulebook though, York's Say Owt Slam is hitting Deer Shed Festival with a new idea. Specifically, they need your ideas!

The slam poetry collective will be bring a wad of poets to wander the wild of the Festival. Tell them your ideas for poems, some of the things that have inspired you, something you've seen at #DeerShed8, or a most random challenge, and they will turn them into slam-winning, high-scoring poems (judged by you)!

Shed Talks

Shed Talks

Aware that any one of the many young people who attend Deer Shed Festival could possess the potential to surpass Plato or outshine Aristotle, we felt it important to promote any inkling of philosophical intrigue at Baldersby Park.

#DeerShed8, in collaboration with Thinking Space, will therefore host Shed Talks: Philosophical stimulation and conversation for thinkers aged 11 – 111. This will consist of a rotation of three philosophy speakers giving thought-provoking eight-minute talks, followed by a series of quick-fire audience participation activities designed to get small groups talking and thinking about what they've heard. Key ideas from these short discussions will then be fed back to the Thinking Space practitioners who will hold an informal Q&A, led by a compere.

Thinking Space will create something of an ancient Greek debate chamber at this year’s festival to encourage critical thought and engagement with both age old and modern day issues.

Pip Theatre

Pip Theatre

Come along and step into The Wilderwild with Pip Theatre's wondrous story telling time.

Pip Theatre is an innovative arts organisation sowing the seeds within the community to create, educate and connect. This year at the Deer Shed Festival, They will be offering a fun and adventurous take on your usual storytelling workshops.

From silly stories, to exploring the unknown, you can expect to get creative and come on a journey with the team from Pip into The Wilderwild. All ages welcome, get ready to join in and take a few risks!

Mud Pie presents Where The Wild Things Are

Mud Pie presents Where The Wild Things Are

Mud Pie Arts specialise in multi-sensory story making with young children. They work extensively in Yorkshire schools, early year settings, libraries and festivals. They empower children to find their voice, stretch their imagination and discover a wide world through story and play. This year they are hitting #DeerShed8.

Ever feel like howling? Put on your wolf suits with Max and explore your wild side. Discover what can be done with all those angry feelings! Mud Pie Arts presents Where The Wild Things Are, an interactive drama session adapted from the 1963 children's picture book – and later a hit box office film – by American writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak.

A Thoughtful Place To Be's Bedtime Yurt

A Thoughtful Place To Be's Bedtime Yurt

We know there's nothing quite like a bedtime story to ease you into a lovely night’s sleep.

A Thoughtful Place To Be will bring their bedtime yurt to #DeerShed8. Their stories will be themed around processing and reflecting on the day, taking time to share with each other, creating stories to celebrate our imaginations, and creating a safe and warm end to the day.

The bedtime yurt will be decorated beautifully so that you can relax, snuggle up with family and friends, and drift into dreamland accompanied by the dulcet words of A Thoughtful Place to Be.

Story Tellers

Story Tellers

In addition to our top picks from the modern literary and spoken word spheres, #DeerShed8 will also offer a vast range of storytelling events to hold the attention of young people and to ~ give parents a little relaxing break from the excitement that the festival inspires.

Notable story tellers include Lorna Mallet, HOGLETS and Jenna Drury, but there will almost always be a wordsmith on hand to charm listeners in an area aside from the main festival party.