Not wanting to show favouritism amongst libraries, I went to a poetry reading at Leeds Central Library earlier this week. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve only been to Central Library a couple of times before and I’ve never ventured past the ground floor. Making my way up to Room 700 on Tuesday though I realised just what a beautiful building it is.

Leeds Central Library

Leeds Central Library

My friend Kirsty had asked if I wanted to go see Hollie McNish read at a poetry event. I’d not actually heard of her before but thanks to YouTube I watched some of Hollie’s spoken word performances and was instantly a fan. I bought her new book – Nobody Told Me – Poetry and Parenthood – and read it within a week. The book is a mixture of diary entries and poems all about Hollie’s experience of being pregnant and the first couple of years of being a mum. Despite not having children myself, I absolutely adored the book – it made me feel warm, sad, angry, grateful, uplifted… I think I ran out of emotions by the end of it.

Nobody Told Me

Hollie read extracts from her new book and was as likeable in person as she is on paper. The reading took place in Room 700 which is “Leeds Central Library’s new multi-use arts space […] a fantastic space to ‘think, talk, make and do’; with year round events and activities for all ages and interests inspired by the heritage, special collections and books within Leeds Central Library.”

The evening was part of “A Flock of Words Written and Spoken Word Season” (which I can’t seem to find much information about) and Festival of the Body – a month of arts activities celebrating International Women’s Day. The next Flock of Words event is a poetry reading by Canal Laureate Jo Bell on 19 April, so I will be giving her books a read.

My only advice for anyone new to the library and going to an event with a friend is to be very clear about where you’re going to meet them. There is more than one entrance and it turns out that saying “I’m on the steps” is not very helpful!


Leeds Central Library