I founded the Smithdown Litfest after moving to Liverpool. Being involved in and contributing to the local community is important to me, particularly because my family roots are in the Smithdown Road area, going back to the 1800s.
The Smithdown Litfest has author talks and readings for all ages, in community venues along the Smithdown Road corridor ‒ from Toxteth to Allerton. The aim of the Litfest is to present a programme of stimulating and enjoyable author events for local residents, and to encourage visitors from Liverpool and beyond to experience the culture and heritage in the area too. It is run by volunteers through a not-for-profit company, and all events are free to attend.
The first Smithdown Litfest was in 2017 and the guest speakers were Professor Phil Scraton, author of Hillsborough: The Truth and primary author of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report; Howard Gayle, the first black footballer in Liverpool FC’s 89-year history to play at first team level; acclaimed scriptwriter, playwright and author Jonathan Harvey; bestselling novelist Jane Costello; family saga author June Francis, children’s author Jon Mayhew; and the Litfest patron – award-winning crime writer Margaret Murphy (aka AD Garrett and Ashley Dyer).
The speakers for the 2018 Smithdown Litfest were crime fiction authors Luca Veste and David Jackson; Andy Grant, the world’s fastest single leg amputee; Doctors scriptwriter Linda Thompson; bestselling children’s author Cathy Cassidy; Peter Turner, author of Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool; children’s author and Harry Potter illustrator Jonny Duddle; and crime writer Ashley Dyer and forensics expert Helen Pepper.
This year’s Litfest is from Friday 13th to Friday 20th September 2019.