The Bradford Literature Festival team is led by self-confessed book worm Syima Aslam (right), whose love of books and literature led her to create a cultural and literary extravaganza celebrating the written and spoken word. The result is a festival that will not only host renowned authors, speakers and performers from around the world to create a stimulating pageant of words, debates and ideas, but will also feature other art forms which have an intimate relationship with the spoken word such as film, theatre and music.

Syima is passionate about the importance of language and literacy, and the role it plays in enabling children and young people to realise their potential. An understanding of the English language is crucial to the understanding of every other subject in the curriculum, and the inability to effectively use and deploy language is a key reason for under attainment. However, an understanding and appreciation of language cannot come from school alone, it has to come from a love of the language in all its forms. The aim of the festival is to help take literacy out of the classroom, by inspiring parents and children, through innovative festival and outreach programmes.


Creative Producer – Kelly Holt


Marketing & Development Manager – Georgina Lennon

George deals with everything from funding and relationships to the festival brochure and a million other things besides. Caught between her love for Yorkshire and her Italian roots she is a fiery, Yorkshire Pudding Professional and the only thing she loves more than pasta is her dog (Hugo Stiglitz!), with whom she is completely obsessed. Aside from being a self-confessed book addict, George loves film, TV and music; she is equally at home curled up on the sofa with Tony Soprano as she is crammed in at the front of a venue being crushed by aging rockers.

Book recommendation: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Film recommendation: Janis: Little Girl Blue


Operations Manager – Jamie Cross

Jamie is responsible for planning and organising festival operations and logistics. A role that suits him to the ground as it means that he gets to run around a lot telling people what to do. That being said, Jamie manages everything from the volunteers to the box-office and everything in-between, so a little bossyness is definitely a pre-requisite of the role! As a professional festival organiser Jamie works on all sorts of events throughout the year, and has implemented a chocolate reward policy which has gone down exceedingly well with the BLF team.

Book recommendation: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Film recommendation: Rocky IV


Education Programme Manager – Rachel Willshaw


Marketing & Production Executive – Rebecca Duncan

Becca joined the festival as an intern in 2016 and has progressed to an integral role within the festival team. Having moved to Bradford after studying for her degree in York, she’s not in fact native to the area, however she’s quite pleased with the decision since it perfectly suits her love of curry.  Aside from reading books, Becca considers herself something of a Culture Vulture, spending her time in museums and theatres, and exploring the best that her new home city has to offer.

Book suggestion: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

Film suggestion: The Commitments


Research and Production Executive – Charlotte Garside

Festival Assistant – Priyanka Mistry

Festival Assistant – Tayyab Amin

Portraits by John Houlihan
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