We’re really excited to talk about our latest onsite project – Street Stories by Found Fiction and funded by the Leeds City College Arts Fund.
Street Stories is an urban literature project which celebrates the area’s voices past, present and future. As part of Street Stories, a team of Leeds writers have written super-short stories to be displayed in public spaces, abandoned areas and prominent venues across Quarry Hill – including our SOYO site and on the fast-evolving Moda Living apartment block. It’s core to the SOYO ethos to work closely with our neighbours, and artists in the city, especially on creative, inspiring projects like this.
The stories will be published guerrilla style – popping up in all different formats from banners, to vinyl stickers and even chalk painted murals, just waiting to grab the attention of, and empower passers by. But you’ll have to wait until the weekend of 14/15 August before we reveal where our Story will be unveiled.
Found Fiction have selected four Leeds writers for the project based on their creative talent, and personal connections to Quarry Hill.
We’re lucky enough to have our story written by Chris Nickson – a historical crime novelist who has set 26 of his books in Leeds, covering a range of centuries, from the 1730s to the 1950s. He’s explored the Quarry Hill area and it’s history in depth, from the rumours of Romans to the heyday of the flats. The past of the city runs through his blood and we’re honoured to show his story to the people of Leeds.
Whilst we’re here it would be rude not to give the other fantastic writers a shoutout!
Taiwo Ogunyinka is a published poet, performer and organiser who grew up in East End Park, Leeds. For the past 10 years of his life he has passed through Quarry Hill on morning and home commutes. Taiwo’s personal experiences and growth as an artist have been supported by Quarry Hill, through performances at our neighbours The Leeds Playhouse, rehearsals at Munro House and events at The Wardrobe.
Sarah Whitehouse is a writer based in Leeds, weaving together the threads of the past, present and future of Quarry Hill. Living for the past five years in the 1850s East Street Mills, she loved the daily walk past the ghost signs of school cap makers and tailors painted on the exterior of the mill. Her flat is in the shadow of her grandad and great grandparents, who were part of the old St Patrick’s Parish, living and going to school nearby. Sarah has recently started a new job at Quarry House, where her dad also works.
Mark is a writer, runner and baker, born and raised in Leeds (but bred here, there and everywhere!). His writing has included comics, journalism and the history of Yorkshire food. Many of Mark’s best memories of his grandma, Dorothy, were made in the Quarry Theatre of Leeds Playhouse. She would point out St Hilda’s down the road where his grandad, Jim, used to sing, not telling the nuns that he was really there for the free breakfast.
And then there’s Steve Clarkson – the force behind Found Fiction. Along with an army literary guerrillas Steve’s mission since 2013 is to bring the art of the short story to a new, unsuspecting audience.