Skip to content
Halifax Festival of Words

Festival Patrons

We are honoured to have BBC broadcaster Elizabeth Alker, founder of Independent Venue Week Sybil Bell, music business legend James Endeacott and owners of Bluemoose Publishing Kevin Duffy & Hetha Duffy & children’s author Tom Palmer as our festival patrons.

Sybil Bell is Founder & CEO at music company and live record label, I Like The Sound Of That Ltd. Independent Venue Week is her flagship project, a 7-day celebration of gigs on a national level with a completely local feel, all around the UK. She is also Co-Founder of CAN YOU CIC IT? a Community Interest Company aimed at helping young people who want a career in music, on and off the stage, but for whom mainstream opportunities pass them by. In addition to IVW, CAN YOU CIC IT also runs Yes She Can, an initiative for women aged 16-25 who would like to explore career opportunities in live music. Sybil has a range of experience in music including artist & label management, tour management and promotion in the UK and internationally as well as planning and running events such as awards shows and corporate events in music. She has promoted shows and worked at various festivals. She has also managed and run various brand partnerships in music. Sybil has owned a live music venue and recording studio, has consulted at various music industry trade bodies including UK Music, the MMF and the FAC and co-ordinated international networking events at SXSW for DiT (Formerly UKTI) for eight years.

Kevin Duffy (deluded middle-aged Hebdonista, holistic knee-capper and astral tar and featherer to the stars,) started Bluemoose Books with his wife Hetha Duffy in 2006 to find great stories from those writers often overlooked by the agented world of London centric publishing. Kevin has spent over 30 years in publishing, starting out as a sales representative for Headline and working at academic, business, fiction and non-fiction publishing houses. Bluemoose Books are now sold in over 70 countries world wide, foreign rights sold to 15 countries and Hollywood and HBO have books in pre-production. Their authors have been short-listed and won national and international literary prizes, the last being Benjamin Myers with his Coiners tale, THE GALLOWS POLE which won the world’s leading literary prize for fiction, the £25k Walter Scott Prize. In 2020 Bluemoose will be publishing a year of women writers.

James Endeacott was born in Halifax on St Patrick’s day 1965. The first record he bought with his own money was Space Oddity by David Bowie when he was 10. He’s been working in and with music ever since. He wanted to be a comedian but he couldn’t make people laugh. His mum wanted him to be a vicar. He decided to join a band in his early 20s. The band were called Loop – they wore a lot of black leather and were very thin. He worked in a record shop at the same time. He then worked for Rough Trade records in the early 1990s but soon turned his hand to band management and looked after Tindersticks for about 5 years. He then went back to work at Rough Trade records and started to work in A&R signing acts like Mull Historical Society, Hal and The Libertines. He also hung out with The Strokes and a lot of B–list celebrities. He started his own label called 1965 records and signed a band from Dundee called The View whose debut album went to Number 1. He now presents a radio show on Soho Radio every weekday morning called Morning Glory…He has his finger in a lot of pies. He also eats a lot of pies and has a stutter that gets bad when he’s tired or nervous. He’s been telling people for over 30 years that he is not Mick Hucknall – Mick just looks like him.

Elizabeth AlkerElizabeth Alker is a broadcaster and journalist. She joined the BBC in 2003 and is currently the creator and host of the BBC Radio 3 specialist music show ‘Unclassified’. She also presents Radio 3’s Saturday Breakfast show, their Afternoon Concert strand and various other live concerts and transmissions from events such as The BBC Proms. Before working at Radio 3, Elizabeth was a broadcast journalist at BBC Radio 6 Music, contributing daily to the Radcliffe & Maconie show and reporting regularly from events such as The Brits, Glastonbury, The NME Awards and The Mercury Music Prize. She has produced numerous arts and culture documentaries for Radio 4, Radio 2 and Radio 1 and thrust a microphone in front of everyone from Paul McCartney to Lou Reed, Thom Yorke and Patti Smith. She has written for The Guardian, The NME and Dazed and Confused magazine. Elizabeth was born in Rochdale and studied at the University of Leeds obtaining a Masters degree in English Literature.

I’m delighted to be involved with this year’s Halifax Festival Of Words. As a book worm and general lover of the arts, it’s great to see literature and new ideas discussed, celebrated, supported and promoted. I’m proud to be part of an event that aims to entertain inspire and bring people together and I can’t wait to spend an autumnal weekend in some of Halifax’s most gorgeous venues (there are many), in lively company and adding to my reading list.

Tom Palmer is a children’s author. His writes about sport and history.

His recent book – After the War – was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal.

He writes the Roy of Rovers chapter books. He lives in Halifax.