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Contains Strong Language Festival heads to Leeds

The country’s biggest poetry and performance festival for new writing will head to Leeds next month.

The BBC festival is now in its seventh year and will feature Lemn Sissay OBE, Malika Booker, National Poet of Wales Hanan Issa and Owen Sheers, as well as promoting emerging artists from Yorkshire and beyond.

“We are thrilled to be bringing Contains Strong Language to Leeds with an inspiring range of performances from local, national and international poets,” said Sue Roberts, Head of Culture, Art and Music for BBC Audio North and Director of the Festival.

“With newly commissioned work tackling everything from identity to climate change, and activities for families across the city centre we have something for everyone. We welcome audiences to join us as writers from across the globe share the stage with the wealth of talent found in Leeds and West Yorkshire.”

This year’s festival line-up will explore rap’s connection to poetry; and LGBTQ+ issues expressed by queer poets from India and the UK.

A number of BBC Radio shows will also air from the city, including BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and Start the Week; BBC Radio 3’s The Verb, and a very special Early Music Show with the Yorkshire-based Ex Corde Vocal Ensemble.

Marking 100 years of Audio Drama on the BBC, the festival will showcase “Stories in the Air” – a two-day panel symposium into the making of this genre, along with a special live performance with Toby Jones and Tim Crouch.

“This year marks the centenary of audio drama on the BBC, and so I’m delighted that Contains Strong Language is building on the BBC’s history of providing audiences with the very best audio drama and letting listeners into some behind-the-scenes insights and stories,” added Alison Hindell, Radio 4 Commissioning Editor for Drama and Fiction.

“Whether you’re already a keen listener of audio drama or looking to explore this unique medium for the first time, there will be plenty to discover.”

The BBC Writers Room will also be in attendance, with a workshop on how to get noticed by the BBC as a writer.

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