Take part in Ilkley Literature Festival 2019

The longest-established literary festival in the North of England is calling on University staff to submit proposals for its programme.

Fiona Mozley and Andrew Michael Hurley discuss northern gothic at last year's Ilkley Literature Festival. Picture by Memory Potifa

Fiona Mozley and Andrew Michael Hurley discuss northern gothic at last year's Ilkley Literature Festival. Picture by Memory Potifa

Ilkley Literature Festival (ILF) 2019 takes place between Friday 4 and Sunday 20 October.

If you have recently published work – a book or journal article – that would translate well into an accessible presentation for a general audience, the festival organisers would like to hear from you.

Their events cover a broad range of interest areas, including literature and language, creative writing, history, economics, politics and current affairs, science and technology, sociology, art history, climate change and environmental issues, to name just a few.

Through a partnership with the University brokered by the Cultural Institute, ILF is committed to providing staff with opportunities for public engagement.

Each year, about 200 events take place in a variety of venues across the town and beyond, attracting total audiences of 24,000 people. Through the Cultural Institute’s partnership, Leeds is an official supporter of the festival, with writers and researchers from the University regularly featuring in the festival’s programme of talks, events and activities.

By presenting at ILF, you will have opportunity to:

  • introduce engaged and curious public audiences to your work
  • build your professional profile, and that of your research
  • promote published works
  • network with other writers and publishing professionals; and
  • connect with an Arts Council England National Portfolio arts organisation, and explore potential for further partnerships.

Ilkley Literature Festival events

Festival events tend to run for 60 minutes – a 45 minute talk followed by a 15 minute audience Q&A. The majority of events take place on weekends (5/6, 12/13 and 19/20 October) but with mid-week evening timeslots available too.

Generally, a presenter or writer will speak about their recent published work, the themes they’re interested in and what inspired them to write – this can either be a solo talk direct to the audience or in an interview with a chair. Events sometimes take the form of panel discussions, with one or more writers discussing a broader common theme.

2019 Festival Themes

A series of strands run through the festival programme each year. The festival organisers are particularly – but not exclusively – keen to hear about recent publications or presentation proposals that may fit within these strands. The themes for 2019 are:

  • Contemporary Irish Writers – non-fiction, journalism, fiction and poetry
  • World-changing Women
  • Cold War Legacies – political, economic, societal, cultural and artistic – inspired by the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall
  • Poetry, Rebellion and Revolution; and
  • From the Moon to Mars – looking towards the next 50 years of scientific endeavour on the anniversary of the moon landing.

Chairing events

The festival organisers are also keen to hear from Leeds staff interested in chairing events. Event chairs don’t need to have a recently published work of their own. Essential qualities for event chairs are:

  • time and willingness to research the writer’s work and prepare questions
  • the ability to listen well, draw out interesting answers and allow speakers to shine; and
  • ease with a general public audience and leading question and answer sessions.

Submitting your expression of interest

Follow the link and fill out a short online submission form if you would like to submit an expression of interest to present a talk at the 2019 ILF or in being an event chair. The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Monday 13 May.

If you would like to discuss an idea for a presentation before submitting an expression of interest, please contact the ILF programming team via email or call 01943 601210.

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