Dewsbury-based arts organisation, Manasamitra, has announced two new events for its thought-provoking Festival of Conversations this June, featuring Alok Jha and Jay Courtney.

Festival of Conversations is in association with the Kirklees Year of Music and features a series of conversation-focussed events, covering a broad range of subjects and challenges that unite people, emphasising the similarities between communities rather than the differences. The festival is a series of events that aim to spark meaningful dialogue and promote diversity and inclusion.

Alok Jha, an accomplished science and technology editor at The Economist, will be reading from his latest work, ‘The Water Book’.

Jha will be exploring the unexpected weirdness of water and why that weirdness means that life exists on earth. From its origins in outer space to its fundamental role in shaping our planet and civilisation, Alok’s talk will take audiences on an unforgettable journey.

Jay Courtney, author of ‘Juicy Crones’, a book that celebrates women in later life and offers a roadmap for finding new meaning and purpose, will also be joining Festival of Conversations.

After retiring from a distinguished career in education and health, Courtney found herself lost and uncertain. But, through the stories of twelve inspiring women who, like her, were navigating the post-menopausal years, she discovered that ‘cronehood’ can be a time of cataclysmic – and exciting – change.

Supriya Nagarajan, founder of Manasamitra, said: “We are thrilled to announce two remarkable events for the Festival of Conversations, featuring Alok Jha and Jay Courtney. We believe that the work both Alok and Jay have done perfectly fits into the theme of our festival.

“This festival is a celebration of meaningful dialogue, focusing on subjects that unite us and highlight the similarities among communities rather than the differences, and Alok and Jay do this perfectly.”

Speaking of the festival, Alok Jha said: “I’m honoured to be a part of the Festival of Conversations, where we can engage in interesting discussions and explore the wonders of the world around us.

“I’m proud to be able to share my latest work and believe the festival’s commitment to celebrating and promoting diversity and inclusion through the power of conversation is good for our local community.”

Both events will take place at Dewsbury Town Hall, with Jay Courtney appearing on 9 June 2023, and Alok Jha on 15 June 2023.

Festival of Conversations is funded by Taking the Lead, a Dewsbury Town Investment Plan project funded by through the Town Fund and aims to support a vibrant cultural community in Dewsbury and surrounding areas using a programme of events, skills development and participatory opportunities across music, textiles, visual arts and performance. Exploring heritage, community, culture and beyond with people living, working and studying in Dewsbury as they plan for the future together.

To purchase tickets, please visit: