Introducing Christina Longden, our new Writer-in-Residence for the coming year.

Before she settled in Kirklees, Christina lived and worked with the Kalahari Bushmen in Namibia where she wrote two non-fiction books with them, using their own words. Christina wrote two ‘dark comedy dramas’ set in Kirklees (her books will appeal to all Sally Wainwright fans) and she continues her interest in comedy and humour at her blog. She now writes both fiction and historical non-fiction. Most recently, she wrote a historical biography of the great x3 grandfather, the UK’s ‘Hidden Victorian Muslim’ – and then turned the facts into a work of creative historical fiction.

Christina’s mission is to get more people using our libraries, more often. In particular, she wants to ensure that we don’t ‘lose’ children once they reach those tricky teenage years—and she also wants to show people who are more ‘reluctant readers’ that Kirklees libraries are not just about novels, that these ‘people’s palaces’ are rammed full of information, help and very different forms of storytelling and information!

This might be a very strange time to become Writer in Residence for Kirklees. However, with the backing of the library team, Christina will be carrying out online chats, workshops and masterclasses as well as doing some good old-fashioned ‘real time’ sessions, once we’re in a position to open safely to the public.

You can find out more about Christina and her work at and

Ca 63.Upcoming Sessions

Our Writer-in-Residence Christina Longden will be launching her programme of events on Thursday 3rd September with a session entitled ‘The Book in You.’ Christina will be running monthly sessions on the first Thursday of each month at 11am. Her aim is to encourage writers at all points on their writing journey, including those who have never written anything before – or since they were at school! These will have a question and answer section, and we encourage you to get involved. Ask that question you’ve always wanted to ask about writing, as a pastime or as a career, but have never had the opportunity. 

Upcoming events include one for parents with children who are reluctant readers, children who are disengaged when it comes to reading for pleasure. We have put together a panel who will be offering advice, information and plenty of wonderful suggested reads. Send your questions for the panel to

  • 3rd September – 11am – The Book In You – Watch live or catch up here
  • 24th September – 11am – Encouraging Reluctant Readers – Watch live or catch up here
  • 1st October – 11am – Fiction or Non-Fiction? – Watch live or catch up here
  • 5th November – 11am – Reluctant Readers Part 2 –  Watch live or catch up here
  • 12th November – 11am – Jewish? Christian? Muslim? The Life and Times of Robert ‘Reschid’ Stanley – Watch live or catch up here
  • 3rd December – 11am – A Christmas Get Together – ‘Winter Unwonted’ – Watch live or catch up here
  • 7th January – 11am – Emma Decent – ‘I Don’t Know What I’m Supposed to Be Doing’ – Watch live or catch up here
  • 21st January – 11am – ‘Unfinished Business’ – A Room of One’s Own?  I Wish! Watch live or catch up here
  • 4th February – 11am – Gaming – part 1.  Gaming writer and designer Steve Ince shares how to write exciting stories for different types of gaming.  You may wish to download ‘Twinery’ (version 2.3.12) if you want to join in real-time.  Gaming – part 2 of the session is on 25th Feb.  Watch live or catch up here
  • 11th February – 6.30pm – 7.30pm – Peaky Blinders: The Real Story. Join Carl Chinn in conversation. Well-known social historian Carl Chinn shines a light on the rarely reported struggles of the working class in his gripping social history book. Like the Shelby’s, Carl’s grandfather was an illegal bookmaker in the back streets of Birmingham in the 1920’s. Watch live or catch up here
  • 25th February – 11am – Gaming – part 2. Gaming writer and designer Steve Ince completes his writing for gaming tutorials.  Feel free to send in your questions or your finished stories.  Watch live or catch up here 
  • 4th March – 11am – A Fairtrade Fortnight Special – ‘Memoirs & Life Story Writing  – Founding the Fair Trade Towns Movement!’  with Bruce Crowther MBE.  As part of the Fair Trade Fortnight celebrations in West Yorkshire we will be interviewing Bruce Crowther MBE – the founder of Fair Trade Towns in the UK as well as internationally, along with social enterprise the FIG tree.  Chris will be advising people who are interested in perhaps writing their autobiography or life story, and will chat with Bruce about his approach to writing his life story in relation to the Fair Trade movement.  Watch live or catch up here

30th July – 6.30pm – 8.30pm – ‘Yorkshire Day Poetry Dumpling’ with special guests Testament, Catherine Warr, plus a live mic with Talking Zebra’s poetry group.

  • For a list of local writing groups you can get involved with, click here

For a list of recommended reads for reluctant readers, click here