University plays biggest role yet in Ilkley Literature Festival

Twenty University academics feature alongside a host of celebrities appearing at the North of England’s longest-running literature festival.

Simon Armitage August 2018

The Ilkley Literature Festival (ILF) has announced its stellar line-up for this year’s event, which runs from 28 September to 14 October and comprises 240 events across 15 venues.

Big names booked to appear include cricket star Moeen Ali, Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, comedian and ‘Strictly’ star Susan Calman, bestselling novelist Kate Mosse, BAFTA-winning journalist Stuart Cosgrove and many more.

The University, as the event’s Higher Education partner, is also well represented, featuring more staff from Leeds than ever before.

University speakers

As part of the University’s increased role in the festival, a number of academics will speak on two anniversaries: the bicentenary of Emily Brontë’s birth and the bicentenary of Mary Shelley’s gothic novel Frankenstein.

Dr David Higgins, from the School of English, will tackle the links between Frankenstein and climate change, while Professor Sally Shuttleworth – now Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford but formerly at the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield – will present an intriguing discussion around the Wuthering Heights author, which was also this year’s Annual British Academy Lecture at Leeds, hosted by the Cultural Institute and Leeds Humanities Research Institute.

Other varied events featuring University staff are:

Poetry to please

For those who prefer poetry to prose, there’s world-renowned Yorkshire-based poet Simon Armitage, the University’s Professor of Poetry. He will return to Ilkley to give an atmospheric candlelit reading of the newly revised, illustrated edition of his acclaimed modern translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Carol Ann Duffy will appear alongside Imtiaz Dharker in a special event hosted by the University’s Cultural Institute.

Professor Frank Finlay, Director of the University’s Cultural Institute, said: “Following the highly successful Words in the City festival, which marked the start of our new partnership, I am really pleased to see a record number of University events at this year’s Ilkley Literature Festival.

“Our collaboration is a wonderful way to give our students and staff exciting opportunities to interact with large and diverse audiences, to engage with the wider world of ideas and to share new knowledge. I shall be taking part myself and am very much looking forward to it.”

Rachel Feldberg, festival director, said: “The carefully curated line-up for 2018 includes some of the biggest names in literature, as well as some of the most well-respected experts in history, poetry, non-fiction and science.

“This year, we’re lucky to have leading voices and specialists in their subject to contribute to our strands, which includes Windrush and the 200th anniversary of two outstanding women writers.”

Read more about the festival on the University news webpage.

University staff can now get 20% off tickets for many of the events here.

Visit the Ilkley Literature Festival webpage for further information about the festival, the Festival Friends scheme and to download the full festival programme. Tickets will be on sale online and through the box office on 01943 816 714 from 28 August.

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