A new chapter for literature fans in Yorkshire

The coming year is set to be another great one for book lovers across Yorkshire. Yvette Huddleston takes a look at some of the highlights heading our way.

Alan Johnson will be talking about his latest book In My Life at Huddersfield Literature Festival in March.
Alan Johnson will be talking about his latest book In My Life at Huddersfield Literature Festival in March.

For anyone interested in words, literature and ideas there are plenty of festivals and events to look forward to across the region in 2019.

The five year Brontë200 bicentenary commemorations continue at the Parsonage Museum in Haworth with this year’s celebrations focussing on the life and work of Patrick. Poet, curate, social campaigner and father to the famous literary siblings, Brontë’s legacy is profound and wide-ranging, so it will be interesting to see the programme of the events when it is revealed in the next few weeks.

Yorkshire’s many and varied literature festivals continue to provide a much-needed forum for debate with programmes that tackle the testing issues of the day – including political, environmental and social concerns. Since the coming year looks like it is going to throw up challenges in all those areas, the opportunity for reasoned and polite public discussion couldn’t be more urgent.

The festival calendar kicks off in early spring with a brand new event – Leeds LitFest. It takes place March 6-10 at venues around the city with line-up that will see over thirty events, including author talks, workshops, performance, poetry and spoken word.

Later in the same month is Huddersfield Literature Festival, this year running from March 21-31. Among those appearing will be politician-turned-award-winning author Alan Johnson, speaking about the latest instsallment of his entertaining memoir In My Life on March 26.

Other names already confirmed include crime writers Cath Staincliffe and Anne Cleves discussing their latest books, acclaimed spoken word artist Lisa Luxx and a talk from marine biologist Dr Jon Copley, an advisor on David Attenborough’s BBC series Blue Planet II. York Literature Festival also returns March 15-30. Scarborough’s Books by the Beach will be in full swing April 11-14. Their programme will be announced imminently and tickets are available through the Stephen Joseph Theatre box office and online booking.

In the summer there will be another edition of the wonderful Bradford Literature Festival which has rapidly, and justifiably, made a big name for itself. In 2018 it was named as Yorkshire’s Tourism Event of the Year, and won the Education trophy at the Chamber of Commerce Raising the Bar Awards. This year it runs June 28-July 7.

Ryedale Book Festival continues to curate a rolling programme of excellent literary and schools events in and around Malton for book lovers of all ages. The organisers are currently working on their 2019 offer, which is bound to be interesting and diverse.

The autumn will see the return of Ilkley Literature Festival, the longest-running and most prestigious in the North. Founded in 1973, it is now in its 45th year. It runs over two and a half weeks from October 4-20.

yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk; booksbythebeach.co.uk; bradfordlitfest.co.uk; ryedalebookfestival.com; ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk