This year, 2019, the cities of Leeds (UK) and Dortmund (Germany) will have been twinned for 50 years. Leeds/Dortmund 50 is a project that celebrates our golden anniversary through the arts, particularly writing.


Many people in Leeds know The Barrel Man in Dortmund Square. The statue was a gift from the city of Dortmund, a token of our ‘sisterhood’ and an acknowledgement of our shared brewing heritage.

The idea of town twinning, which took off after World War 2, was conceived to foster friendship and understanding between different cultures and former foes as an act of peace and reconciliation.

The notion of a literature festival to celebrate the relationship between Leeds and Dortmund grew out of a writing exchange (Writers in Transit) between poets Peter Spafford and Ralf Thenior, which has resulted in mutual visits to each other’s cities and a jointly written book, Reise-Gedanken/Road Markings.


The support of Leeds 2023 has enabled the setting up of a series of creative writing exchanges: between primary school children, older people, university students, young people’s writing groups, and members of the thriving Anglo German clubs, as well as published poets and more established writers, all culminating in a weekend festival (2nd-5th October).

This celebration will feature Live performances from Chapel FM which will all be broadcast, thus enabling participants in Germany to be part of the celebration even if they cannot physically attend. There will also be interviews with people, in church groups, choirs, language societies, who have benefited from 50 years of peace and friendship between our two cities.

This website is a place where news of LD50 events can be publicised and all the writing created in the project will be published.