Famous Pub Crawl Brought to the Page
A popular Yorkshire pub crawl has inspired a new verse novella by award-winning Leeds poet - and Write Out Loud member - Joe Williams. 'An Otley Run' is based on the colourful characters Williams has encountered along the route of the famous Otley Run, which takes in pubs along the A660 Otley Road in Leeds. The book is certain to resonate with anyone who has ever attempted the Otley Run, and the locals who are all too familiar with it. The idea behind it is to have a drink in every pub on, or close to the Otley Road, starting at Woodies in Far Headingley, finishing at The Dry Dock on the edge of the city centre.
Williams said: "When I first moved to Leeds in the 1990s, the Otley Run was something only students did. It wasn't really a big thing, but since then I've seen it grow into a huge event. There are more pubs now, and a lot more people, coming from all over the country for stag dos, hen parties, all kinds of celebrations, every weekend. "The other big change is the fancy dress. When I was a student, no-one dressed up for the Otley Run, but nowadays nearly everyone does. If you go to the shops in Headingley on a Saturday afternoon, there's a good chance you'll bump into the Spice Girls or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That's what made me want to write the book. I wondered what stories these people had to tell, and decided to create one."
The book is in the form of a verse novella which tells that story over the course of fifteen pubs. It is published by Half Moon Books, an independent poetry publisher based in Otley, who also published Joe's first book, the poetry collection 'Killing the Piano', last year. To mark the book's release, Williams has created a new website where you can read extracts from the book, find out more about the pub crawl, and take a photographic tour around the route of the Otley Run. You can also buy a copy of the book there, or at any of Joe's public performances.
'An Otley Run' will be launched at one of the pubs at the heart of the crawl, The Original Oak in Headingley, on Sunday 2 December at 2pm. A seasoned performer, Williams, who won the prestigious Ilkley Literature Festival open mic competition in 2017, will be reading from the book, with support from poets Joanna Sedgwick and Ian Harker, and music from Nicky Bray. The event is free and all are welcome.