Ilkley Literature Festival 2021

Tickets for the first hybrid Ilkley Literature Festival are now on sale, offering a mix of in-person and digital events.

Bernardine Evaristo

As Higher Education partner, Leeds is contributing a number of exciting events to Ilkley Literature Festival’s programme, which runs from Friday 1 October to Sunday 17 October 2021.

The University is sponsoring the headline appearance of Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo, who will discuss her latest book Manifesto – an inspirational account of her creative rebellion as a writer, teacher and activist.

The event will also feature Malika Booker, an award-winning poet and former Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow.

Professor Frank Finlay, Dean for Cultural Engagement and Director of the Cultural Institute, said: “I am particularly excited that the University is sponsoring the headline event with Bernardine Evaristo, the joint-winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.

“Literature can express what it means to be human, it offers us insights into our experiences and life stories, and we share Evaristo's passion for broadening and deepening the narrative of who we are in Britain.”

On Friday 8 October, a livestreamed showcase will bring together readings from several exceptional poets associated with the University of Leeds Poetry Centre. Poet in Residence Ian Duhig and Apprentice Poet in Residence Rheima Robinson will feature alongside Poetry Centre Director Professor John Whale, Jeffrey Wainwright, Dr Kimberly Campanello, Lydia Kennaway, Charlotte Eichler and Zaffar Kunial.

Professor Finlay added: “We greatly value our cultural partnership with Ilkley Literature festival. In addition to showcasing the University's research and enhancing student opportunity via internships, it is an exciting way to connect our students and staff with some of the biggest names in creative writing, and well-respected experts in the world of ideas.”

Other Festival events featuring Leeds academics as chairs/interviewers include:

  • A livestreamed interview between Scotland’s National Poet, Jackie Kay, and Zaffar Kunial, current Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow. Friday 15 October, 7:30pm;
  • A digital event, ‘Hope Not Fear’, with writer and filmmaker Hassan Akkad and Rachel Johnson, Lecturer in Film Studies. Sunday 3 October, 5:30pm;
  • A digital event, ‘Something Out of Place’, with author and essayist Eimear McBride and Lecturer in Creative Writing Kimberley Campanello. Saturday 2 October, 7pm;
  • An in-person event, ‘How to Stop Fascism’, with Paul Mason being interviewed by Professor of German Studies Frank Finlay. Saturday 9 October, 4pm; and
  • An in-person event, ‘Power and Thrones’ with historian Dan Jones and Professor Stephen Alford. Wednesday 6 October, 7:30 pm.

Founded in 1973, Ilkley Literature Festival is the North’s longest-running literary event.

This year, there are three strands of thought and discussion running throughout the in-person and digital events, workshops and micro-commissions: Unreliable Narratives, Belonging, and Pioneering Women.

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