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Community and Schools.

Zeke Clough


Zeke Clough is a professional cartoonist based in Todmorden. Zeke facilitates cartooning workshops and encourages participants to explore their creativity. He works on an ongoing comic book series in his spare time, scribbles in sketchbooks and produces pencil crayon drawings and acrylic paintings.



Tod Tales – Life Stories


Oral history documents stories passed down through generations, records the changing and enduring nature of a place, and captures unheard voices. Todmordians share conversations about their lives with our oral historian in residence Ian Alderson. The life story recordings will capture the memories and experiences of our older generation and collectively form a picture of their lives today. This community oral history project forms part of an exciting storytelling project about our town, and the memories collected will be shared with a wider audience.


Ian Alderson has worked on UK-wide and north-west oral history projects including 1973: The Year Bowie Came to Blackburn, which focused on the memories of gig-goers to King George’s Hall in Blackburn, and the Care to Share project, where carers in care homes were trained to interview residents about their experiences of variety entertainment in Blackpool in the 1950s. He is a member of the Oral History Society and lives in Todmorden.


Tod Tales looks to capture the memories and experiences of our older generation. If you are interested in having a chat with Ian about the project or being interviewed for it, please get in touch with him via the website.



Portrait of a Festival


We invite you to look back at some of our past events in Todmorden’s most iconic venues in a photographic exhibition curated by our resident photographer Andy Wade.


24 September – 2 October, Todmorden Library FREE

Jan Blake


Leading storyteller Jan Blake has been performing worldwide for over thirty years, drawing on stories from Africa, the Caribbean and Arabia, and captivating children with mesmerising stories that fire their imaginations. She has toured the award-winning The Old Woman, the Buffalo, and the Lion of Manding, and in 2018 was commissioned by Polka Theatre and Apples and Snakes to create In the Winter Wood.


Jan will run interactive storytelling sessions in Walsden St Peter’s, Shade, Cornholme and Castle Hill primary schools as part of this year’s Festival.

Tara Guha


Tara Guha is an author and mental health practitioner. She won the Luke Bitmead Bursary in 2014, and her first novel, Untouchable Things, was published in 2015. Her second novel won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2019. Tara also works for Healthy Minds, running a young people’s mental health project, Time Out, available to all 10-19-year-olds in Calderdale. Tara brings together her twin passions for writing and emotional wellbeing in two fun and supportive creative writing workshops at Todmorden High School.


Putting our own experiences into words is one of the most powerful things we can do. Writing down how it is for us can help us communicate and build relationships with other people, create a catalyst for change, and perhaps most importantly develop a better understanding of ourselves. In these two workshops, we’ll look particularly at our experiences over the last eighteen months, how they relate to external events and how we’d like to communicate them.



Mara Bergman


Poet and children’s writer Mara Bergman has written more than twenty books for young children, among them award winners Snip Snap! and Oliver Who Travelled Far and Wide. Mara will read from her book The Tall Man and the Small Mouse to reception and Year 1 at Ferney Lee Primary School.

Melvin Burgess


Melvin Burgess has been writing popular, controversial and cutting-edge fiction for young people since his first book, The Cry of the Wolf, was published in 1990. His novel Junk kick-started the young adult fiction (YA) genre and won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award and the Carnegie Medal. His latest book, Three Bullets, was published in July, and his book for younger readers, Count, is due out this autumn. Melvin lives in Hebden Bridge. Melvin will run a creative writing workshop at Todmorden High School for this year’s Festival.