BIG names in the literary world will be heading for Huddersfield in the town's second literature festival.

Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, author Joanne Harris and poet Joolz Denby will all be at the Huddersfield Literature Festival in March.

The festival - launched last year - is being organised by the University of Huddersfield with funding and support from Kirklees Council.

It runs from March 14 to 18 with events at the university, the Media Centre, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield Art Gallery and the Hudawi Cultural Centre.

Festival co-ordinator Sally Jones said: "The whole idea is to encourage people to find out about new writers.

"We are also hoping to get people thinking about writing themselves."

Andrew Motion will be the first literary star to appear at Huddersfield, with a pre-festival event at the university on March 7.

He will be talking about his newly-released autobiography, In The Blood, his life and his work as Poet Laureate.

He was appointed to the position in 1999. The Poet Laureate is officially appointed by the Government and is responsible for composing poems for state occasions.

The festival will be officially launched on March 14 by Almondbury author Joanne Harris, creator of the best-selling novel Chocolat.

Joanne, who is the festival patron, will be giving a reading of her work at the university and conducting a question and answer session.

On March 15, poet Joolz Denby will be centre stage.

Joolz, from Bradford, is well-known for her poetry.

But her appearance at the festival will be related to her new career as a novelist.

One of her novels, Billie Morgan, was short listed for the 2005 Orange prize and the 2005 Crime Writer's Association Dagger In The Library Award.

Established authors will also be mentoring up-and-coming writers at Helping Hand events during the festival.

On March 16 historical fiction author Simon Scarrow, will read from his work before introducing new writer Robert Low, who has created a modern Viking saga entitled The Whale Road.

Ms Jones said: "The idea is that the new author be someone the established author admires and wants to support.

"It's a way for new authors to get their work known and find new audiences."

On March 17, there will be a family writing session with Rommi Smith, reader-in-residence at Kirklees Council's library service .

The main event that day will be Adaptation - a night of short film and poetry readings.

Poets including Simon Armitage, Ian McMillan, Joolz Denby, Shamshad Khan and Gaia Holmes have donated poems to a group of Yorkshire filmmakers to be adapted for film.

These will be screened alongside readings of selected poems by three of the featured poets.

March 17 will also be the day that the winners of the adult and children's short story competitions are announced.

On March 18, Small Is Beautiful will get under way at Huddersfield Town Hall and the central library from 11am to 4pm.

The event has been created and funded by Kirklees Libraries with East Riding and York Libraries and Arts Council England.

It is all about promoting small independent publishers.

There will be talks by authors, writer's workshops, question and answer sessions and performance poetry.

During the festival, there will also be creative writing workshops for beginners and advanced writers.

David Wheatley, an established poet and reviewer for The Guardian, will lead a poetry workshop on March 17 at the Media Centre.

Other workshops on writing for performance, screen writing and novel writing will also take place throughout March.

Simon Trewin, a literary agent from literary and talent agency PFD, will be doing a masterclass - called How To Find An Agent And Get Your Novel Published. This will be on March 15 at 8.30pm as part of the festival.

Festival brochures will be available from February 5 and can be ordered by emailing your contact details to or by ringing Sally Jones on 01484 473677.

DO you think you have a flair for fiction?

Huddersfield Literature Festival is giving you the chance to test your talents.

As part of the festival, there will be a short story writing competition.

And the winners will see their work published in the Examiner.

A similar competition proved very popular with adults last year, but this year the competition will also be open to children.

Adults are being asked to write a piece of no more than 1,500 words.

There will be two children's age groups - nine to 13 and 14 to 18. Entrants in both these groups will have to write pieces of no more than 800 words.

The adult competition will be judged by a panel made up of Examiner staff, festival director Simon Kerr and Michael Stewart, a creative writing lecturer at the University of Huddersfield.

The children's competition will be judged by a panel of Examiner staff and poets Gaia Holmes and Rommi Smith, who have both worked extensively with young people.

There will be 10 adult writers shortlisted, with three top prize places. The three lucky winners will receive a `goody bag' of books and magazines and will receive free tickets to all the festival events.

The seven runners-up will receive free tickets to one festival event of their choice.

All 10 will get to attend a free creative writing workshop at the university.

Ten entrants will be shortlisted for each age group in the children's competition.

The winners of each age group will receive children's books and tokens.

The Children's Bookshop at Lindley will be providing prizes.

All 10 shortlisted entrants in each group will also get to attend a creative writing workshop at the university.

Entries have to be submitted by February 28. A final shortlist will be decided on March 12 and prizes will be handed out at the university out on March 17, during the festival.

Send your entries to Short Story Competition, Huddersfield Examiner, Queen Street South, Huddersfield, HD1 2TD.