A LEADING figure in Turkey’s freedom of speech debate is set to take part in Bradford Literature Festival, which starts later this month.

British-Turkish author Elif Shafak, a prominent fiction writer, is currently under investigation by Turkish prosecutors in a case being described by campaigners as a serious threat to free speech.

The investigation has brought unwelcome attention to Shafak, one of the most widely-read female authors in Turkey, who has received thousands of abusive online messages.

She is due to give a session on Writing and Advocacy at 2pm on Saturday, July 6, at the Great Hall, University of Bradford. It will include a discussion on her new novel – 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World – as well as her career and advocacy for LGBT and women’s rights and freedom of speech.

This year’s festival begins on Friday, June 28. Ten days of writing, film screenings, hip-hop and spoken word poetry, performance art and more will be held in the heart of the city at venues ranging from The University of Bradford to The Record Cafe, in North Parade.

One of the highlights will be Liverpool football legend John Barnes on Sunday, June 30, with a look back at his life and the big issues facing sport today that mean the most to him, including racism.

Other names attending the festival include new Poet Laureate Simon Armitage making his festival debut, and Bros star Luke Goss.

There will be a chance to sit in court and hear details of gruesome real-life murder cases in ‘Sons of Cain - a history of serial killers’, and the world premiere of Imaam Imraan by Bradford-born playwright and actor Asif Khan.

As this year will mark the 50th anniversary of Kes, the National Science and Media Museum will be screening the film on Sunday, June 30, with a Q&A to follow with the lead actor David Bradley. Tickets are free to refugees, asylum-seekers, anyone caring for a disabled audience member, anyone on benefits or living in social housing. Tickets are also discounted for students and senior citizens.

The festival also runs a schools programme, free to all schools in Bradford, focusing on Key Stage-specific content in 74 schools across the district presented in exciting ways, aiming to engage pupils aged between five and 16.

This year’s festival, in association with the Provident Financial Group, features more than 500 writers and 400 events, and runs until Sunday, July 7.

For further information, see bradfordlitfest.co.uk. Twitter/ Facebook/ Instagram: BradfordLitFest #BradfordLitFest