books on a shelf

Literary Leeds: Mslexicon

MEETinLEEDS were excited to welcome #Mslexicon2019 to campus for Mslexia’s very first women’s writing retreat this weekend. In the grassy courtyards of Devonshire Hall, delegates worked through a packed programme of panel discussions, workshops, and keynote talks designed to inspire creativity and writing achievement.

Inspired by Mslexicon, we thought we’d take the opportunity to shine a light on our campus’ own rich literary links.

Poet Laureate

This year, University of Leeds Professor of Poetry Simon Armitage was appointed the UK’s new Poet Laureate. Armitage said: “It’s a huge honour to be appointed Poet Laureate, one of the great high offices of literature”. The role of Poet Laureate is a 351-year-old honorary position and will see Armitage encourage talent in poetry and inspire a new generation of writers and poets.

Converse Column

Created by British-American artist Liliane Lijn, this nine-meter revolving installation was recently unveiled outside the University’s new Nexus innovation centre. Lijn’s iconic ‘poem machine’ displays two rotating poems, developed from contributions from staff and students at the University. Themes of collaboration, innovation and impact drive its message. Lijn says: “By considering the words divorced from their syntactical connections, unexpected meanings can be revealed. Due to the design of the column, the text inscribed on it is not easily read in the normal linear left to right manner. Instead, words appear to float in and out of consciousness.”

School of Night

Named after a late-sixteenth century mythical literary society, the School of Night is a talk-shop and seminar that meets in the School of English fortnightly. The group is convened by our own Professor of Poetry and Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and focuses include poetry and text reading. For more information visit the University of Leeds Poetry centre’s website.

Karl Marx

Not many Leeds locals know that Karl Marx once wrote for the chartist Northern Star and Leeds General Advertiser newspaper. One of the most influential people in modern history, Marx is best known for his ‘Communist Manifesto’ and ‘Das Kapital’. His ideas had huge influence on politics and modern sociology, as well as the readership of Leeds local papers, which he wrote for between 1845 and 1850.

Local Libraries

We don’t think you can beat getting lost in a good library. Leeds boasts a wealth of great libraries, with four on campus alone. Our Brotherton Library sits at the heart of campus and houses many historic artefacts, including some of Shakespeare’s and Oscar Wilde’s original manuscripts. The Leeds Library on Commercial Street is also the oldest surviving subscription library in the UK, having been founded in 1768.

We’re delighted to have assisted with the Mslexia Writing Retreat on campus. For its unique character and period architecture, we knew that Devonshire hall was the perfect venue for delegates to network and explore their creativity. We look forward to seeing the legacy of the retreat through the work written during the retreats time at Devonshire Hall!