New partnership with Ilkley Literature Festival

The University has announced a new partnership with the North's oldest and largest literature festival.

Simon Armitage 2018

As well as becoming Higher Education Partner for Ilkley Literature Festival (28 September - 14 October 2018), the University is principal partner for its off-shoot Words in the City poetry and spoken word festival, which for the first time takes place in Leeds this year (10-13 May 2018).

To mark the new partnership, the University’s Professor of Poetry Simon Armitage will be giving a free reading of his work at Words in the City on Friday 11 May.

There will also be a chance to explore the University’s extensive archive of poetry recordings – including readings by Tony Harrison, Malika Booker and Vahni Capildeo – at the Poetry Sound Lounge at Carriageworks Theatre on Saturday 11 May.

Later in the year, Leeds academics will be showcasing their work at Ilkley Literature Festival and students across all disciplines will be able to take advantage of new opportunities to volunteer at the Festival or even stage their own events.

Professor Frank Finlay, Director of the University’s Cultural Institute and Executive Dean of its Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures, said: “For many years, staff and students from the University have enjoyed attending – and participating in – fantastic events organised by the festival team.

“We’re really pleased to herald a new era of collaboration, as part of this more formal arrangement of support. It’s a perfect fit with the Cultural Institute’s key aims of widening engagement and increasing partnerships across the region, as well as building the skills of our students.”

Professor Finlay added that the School of English will be offering a new programme of creative writing for students from the autumn.

Rachel Feldberg, Festival Director, said: “We are very proud to be working with the University on both Words in the City and the main festival. This new partnership will provide exciting opportunities for our audiences to connect with University staff and students in new ways. 

“The series of events we had with Leeds academics last year were very popular, and we are really looking forward to continuing to grow this strand of our programme.”

The full Words in the City programme and information on how to book tickets for events, including Simon Armitage's appearance, can be found at

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