Top actor backs first ever Saddleworth Literary Festival

A TOP film and TV actor is backing the launch of a brand new Saddleworth Literary Festival in Uppermill next month.

John Henshaw is patron of the two-day festival which will be held at Civic Hall on October Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 from 10.30am-5.30pm, with free admission.

The actor, who lives in Grasscroft, is best known for his roles as Ken Dixon the landlord in ‘Early Doors’, Wilf Bradshaw in ‘Born and Bred’ and PC Roy Bramwell in ‘The Cops’.

He also played the lead as the portrayal of colourful Labour politician John Prescott in ITV’s highly-acclaimed drama ‘Confessions of a Diary Secretary’.

The new Festival is the brainchild of self-published children’s author Graham Unsworth, who writes under the name of Allan Graham.

The programme includes poetry, performances, talks, workshops, book signings, and music by Saddleworth Male Voice Choir and Saddleworth School Orchestra.


In the main hall, the festival will be compered by award-winning playwright, Mark Robberts Writers, with sessions and workshops in other areas of the Civic Hall over the two days.

Graham explained: “I have always enjoyed reading and I always had a yearning to write a book, so I wrote three children’s books, a play and some poetry while out of work.

“But I needed my work to get recognised so I thought why not organise a literary festival!

“Pam Byrne, Chair of Saddleworth Parish Council, supported my vision and without her support it would never have got off the ground.”

Cllr Byrne has obtained the hall free of charge and raised money for printing costs while Graham, 62, has arranged for authors, poets and literary agents to appear free of charge.

Graham said: “It’s wonderful John Henshaw has agreed to be patron – he’s a marvellous man.

“BBC Radio Manchester presenter, Mike Sweeney, has agreed to be involved too and will be attending a launch on Friday evening, September 30 in the Civic Hall.”

He added: “A massive thank you to the award-winning authors, playwrights, poets, writers and literary agents who have all waived their fees so we can get the festival off the ground.

“It isn’t a high-brow literary festival – this is a real community event.

“The English department of Saddleworth School are organising a writing competition for their new Year 7s and the music department will provide the music to open and close the festival.

“We also have Funky Fitness and Fun providing a piece of drama.

“We have award-winning writers and self-published writers of fiction, self-help books, books on dreams, biographies, stories for children – there is something for everyone.

“There are free workshops by award-winning writers and poets. One workshop by Andrew Oldham incorporates a walk following in the footsteps of local poet Ammon Wrigley.”

Actor John Henshaw declared: “The festival is a terrific idea. It’s a little acorn but I’m convinced it will grow and flourish.

“Graham has pulled out all the stops himself to ensure this comes together. It’s a real pleasure to support his valiant efforts.”

For further details about the Festival, including a full time-table, visit:

Festival workshops include Crime Fiction, Surviving Life, Walking Poetry, Aspiring Writers and Short Story writing. Places limited to 10-12 people per workshop. Email to book your place and please attach small samples of your work for feedback

Saturday October 1:

  • 11:30am – 1pm: ‘Crime Fiction’ with Award Winning Crime Writer Helen Cadbury
  • 3pm – 4:30pm: ‘Writing Fiction’ with Author & Poet Bill Broady
  • 3:30pm – 5pm: ‘Surviving Life’ with Writer Janice Taylor

Sunday October 2:

  • 9am – 12pm: ‘Walking Poetry Workshop’ with Award Winning Poet Andrew Oldham
  • 11am – 12pm: ‘How To Write A BestSeller’ with Award Winning Crime Writer Leigh Russell
  • 12pm – 2pm: ‘Workshop For Aspiring Writers’ with Legal Drama Author Peter Murphy
  • 2pm – 5pm: ‘Biography Writing’ with Author Sophie Parkes-Nield
  • 3pm – 5pm: ‘Short Story Writing’ with Author Carmen Walton


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *