Stories from the Forests of Leeds is a treasury of tales and artwork that imagine an alternative Leeds – a forest of weird and wonderful fairytale characters. Created with a group of local writers, through a series of workshops, it tells the story of those who live on the fringes of the Forest through the eyes of Clarence the water rat. The stories, written by a whole range of people, from an 11 year old, to a professor of English, are beautifully illustrated by Simon Smith. This is a world inhabited by the Witch of Woodhouse, Guisely the mask maker and the three headed giant of Headingley.
Why a Forest?
In stories, the forest is a place of transformation. It’s a place people venture into, away from the established order, to confront the problems that face them. Over the past year, we’ve been imagining Leeds as a forest – a complex, diverse place with no wide landscape, where roads thread between buildings, connecting people and communities. Using the image of a forest is a fun way to think about the challenges the city faces and how solutions to some of those challenges might arise.
The book was commissioned by Leeds Church Institute and is published in partnership with Leeds Big Bookend Festival.