Ilkley Literature Festival programme announced with Leeds as partner

The University is an official partner of Ilkley Literature Festival, which launches its 2022 programme today (Thursday 18 August).

Hillside in Ilkley

Founded in 1973, Ilkley Literature Festival is the North’s longest-running literary event. This year’s festival will take place from Friday 7 October to Sunday 23 October. 

Tickets will go on sale from Tuesday 30 August and you can view the Festival’s full programme.

The event is known for its warm welcome and wide-ranging programme, which brings national and international writers of significance to West Yorkshire audiences.

Through the Cultural Institute, the University is the festival’s higher education partner, offering a range of initiatives and events.

In addition to a string of events and workshops, the University is sponsoring internships in digital content production and event management, which offer the opportunity to get hands-on experience in the arts and event management.

Professor Frank Finlay, Dean of Cultural Engagement and Director of the Cultural Institute said “The University of Leeds is once again delighted to be higher education partner with Ilkley Literature Festival as it makes its full, post-pandemic return with an exciting programme of new and established voices in literature and non-fiction alongside high-profile speakers.

“Our collaboration has been a deep one over a number of years and offers rich opportunities for staff to showcase their work to large and diverse audiences. In addition to the opening night partnership event, the University Poetry Centre will feature prominently in the programme, including a workshop on nature writing.

“As with previous festivals there are also excellent opportunities for students to enhance their education, and I am particularly pleased that we are supporting special five-six week internships this year, in digital content production and event management.”

Headline acts announced for this year’s festival include Yorkshire poet Ian McMillan; actor, co-creator of Gavin & Stacey and author Ruth Jones; and star of Father Ted, actor and author Ardal O’Hanlon.

Erica Morris, Ilkley Literature Festival Director, said: “The aim of the festival is to bring people together to create conversations, tackle tricky topics and encourage exploration. It is a fantastic chance to broaden our horizons after the difficult last few years.

“Books are truly adventures into other lives and worlds. We hope our annual literary celebration offers a tonic to audiences, who we can’t wait to welcome in glorious Ilkley.” 

Events presented in partnership with the University

Friday 7 October: Ian McMillan

King’s Hall, 7.30–8.45 pm

The Bard of Barnsley will be sharing stories about one of his great loves – the sea – and the places and memories that have shaped the dad he is today.

Join Ian as he discusses My Sand Life, My Pebble Life; a series of evocative, funny and nostalgic essays revisiting the coastal places which stamped themselves on his childhood, through memories of seagulls and sunrises, fish & chips and frisbees, miniature railways and midges, all peppered with poetry.

Wednesday 19 October: University of Leeds Poetry Centre Showcase

All Saints’ Church, 7.30–9.00pm

This showcase brings together readings from a number of exceptional poets associated with the University of Leeds Poetry Centre. 

The participating poets are Caitlin Stobie, John Whale, Kimberly Campanello, Lydia Kennaway, Matt Howard and Zaffar Kunial.

Also sharing his award-winning work at this event is the Ilkley Literature Festival 2022 Poet in Residence, Kayo Chingonyi.

Saturday 8 October: Nature Writing Workshop with John Whale and Matt Howard

Church House, 11am–1pm

Join University of Leeds Poetry Centre Director John Whale and Matt Howard, Douglas Caster Poetry Fellow at the University, for a workshop on nature writing in prose or verse in this time of environmental crisis. 

Prior to the workshop, participants will be provided with a series of prompts and exercises to help them begin drafting a new poem or piece of prose which will then be circulated to the tutors and the other participants in advance of the session. During the workshop, participants will focus as a group on refining these pre-submitted pieces.

Other highlights

Friday 14 October: Melvyn Bragg: Back in the Day

King’s Hall, 7.30–8.30 pm

Former Chancellor at the University, Melvyn Bragg, shares stories from his captivating memoir, revisiting his childhood as a working-class boy in a small Cumbrian market town.

From experiencing a breakdown at age 15, to the passion for books and learning that led him to Oxford University, to the community-spirited town and glorious Lakeland landscapes that inspired him.

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