This autumn: Ilkley Literature Fest

Looking for something to do this autumn? Why not head north to Ilkley’s annual Literature Fest!

Ian McMillan, Ruth Jones, Gyles Brandreth, Adrian Chiles, Gabby Logan and Melvyn Bragg amongst headliners at the 2022 Ilkley Literature Festival.

Ilkley Literature Festival is nationally acknowledged for its artistic excellence, diverse programming, and year-round writer development initiatives for children, young people and adults.

The two-week Autumn festival itself brings literature and poetry of national and international significance to audiences of over 22,000 each October, as well as showcasing new work by emerging and mid-career writers.

“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.”

Erica Morris, Ilkley Literature Festival Director.

The festival opens with Yorkshire poet Ian McMillan on Friday 7 October and runs until 23 October.

This year’s festival offers more than 90 in-person and digital events. Talks and workshops are hosted at All Saints’ Church, Ilkley Grammar School, Ilkley Playhouse and King’s Hall.

Headline acts announced include actor, co-creator of Gavin & Stacey and author, Ruth Jones, discussing her uplifting new novel Love Untold and Malorie Blackman – who has shaped British literature for more than 30 years with over 60 books – discussing Just Sayin’; her empowering account of life as a storyteller, sharing her life lessons and writing tips.

Named the best place to live in the UK by the Sunday Times, Ilkley has been home to the annual book festival for almost half a century. Founded in 1973, it’s the North’s longest-running literary event, loved by writers, readers and publishers alike for its warm welcome and wide-ranging programming. Its impressive reputation is built on its ability to bring writers of national and international significance to West Yorkshire audiences.

Five festival themes feature in the programme: The Things We Leave Behind, Hidden Figures, The Books That Made Us, Big Britain vs Little England, and Explore Moor – a pun on Ilkley’s famed moor. These run throughout the in-person and digital events, workshops and micro-commissions.

Other highlights include chef Rosemary Shrager on her cosy crime novel, The Last Supper.

The festival will explore major issues such as the barriers working class writers face, with Working-Class Writers Festival director, Natasha Carthew on smashing middle-class norms in nature writing. It will also offer a series of Pay as You Feel events to encourage audiences on low incomes to attend.

The festival has a long history with poets, and provides a platform for emerging, new poets, who are often stars of the future.

There will also be a series of talks celebrating books themselves, under the theme The Books That Made Us. Authors will explore everything from the evolution of books, to what spurs us to read, to an in-depth look at the hidden world of the humble index. Talks include the Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford, Emma Smith on Portable Magic: A History of Books and Their Readers, editorial manager at Penguin Random House, Rebecca Lee on How Words Get Good: The Story of Making a Book, and Jeff Deutsch on his book, In Praise of Good Bookstores.

For the full programme and to book:


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