AUTHORS from independent publishing houses will gather in Bradford this month for the city's first Indie Literary Festival.

The event, taking place on Saturday, July 23, will be attended by authors from the UK and overseas. The festival director is Bradford author Dawn Singh, whose trilogy Regina: The Monster blends fantasy, teen angst and gothic-inspired mystery.

"The Indie Lit Festival was an idea I'd been kicking around in my head since last year," says Dawn. "The idea was simple; I wanted authors from all over the country to come together so that people, whether authors or readers, could enjoy a book-themed day at no cost. Organisers and authors are all waiving fees and appearing for free

"We've raised funds through donations from individuals and sponsorship from some amazing indie publishing companies. We're offering free workshops, talks and readings from authors, and a chance to meet authors, find new reads, and get books signed.

"It's a chance to chat with our friends across the sea, such as the lively, imaginative CJ Rutherford and Kendare Blake, critically acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood. There'll also be a café, competitions and give-aways.

"Those attending can hear the music that inspired writers, watch trailers for their latest releases, and talk to authors around the world via Skype. With With best-selling authors taking part, this festival - the UK's first indie lit fest - is a must for book lovers and aspiring writers."

The event kicks off with a a free treasure hunt tomorrow, to promote the festival. It will take place at two locations in the city centre - the Oastler Shopping Centre and City Park. Entrants will have the chance to win a signed paperback, which will be presented to them by the author at the festival the following week.

Dawn, who runs Bradford-based independent publishing house Follow This Publishing, writes under the name DM Singh for the young adult fantasy and sci-fi book market. After leaving Hanson School, she studies counselling and psychology at Bradford College; subjects she says helped her creative writing.

"We have authors from small publishing houses like Mightier Than the Sword UK, Cillian Press and Dovetail Press, and some self-published writers coming along too," says Dawn. "The festival features indie authors spanning genres such as romance, sci-fi, fantasy, YA and historical fiction."

Guests include CS Woolley, author of the fantasy novel Raven Siren series, Amanda Green, Chris Turnbull, Claire McBride, Joe Eastwood, Rose English, Michael Wombat, Felicity Snowden and Bradford writer and performer Irene Lofthouse, whose Strange Tales from the Dales books delive into the hidden folklore of the region's colourful history.

South Korean writer Kendare Blake, who will be talking to fans via Skype, is the author of Anna Dressed in Blood, currently being made into a film.

"I'm very excited to be part of the first UK Indie Lit Fest," she says. "I'm looking forward to chatting with lots of fellow writers and readers. I just wish I could be there in person."

* The Indie Literary Festival is on Saturday, July 23 from 9am to 5pm at St James's Church Hall, off Bolton Road, Bradford.

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