ILKLEY boasts the second oldest literature festival in the country – only Cheltenham’s has been running for longer – and as its new director noted, it is astonishing how many of the literati have passed through a single, small Yorkshire town.
The announcement today of its programme for the coming autumn is itself a who’s who of publishing.
The presence of the Poet Laureate – Marsden’s own Simon Armitage – is no surprise, given his long support for the festival and its own history. Its first guest, back in 1973, had been WH Auden, no less.
But Ilkley’s absence on the national media stage is bewildering. It ranks with Cheltenham and Hay-on-Wye among the pre-eminent events of its kind, yet it attracts nothing like the same level of BBC network coverage.
Could this oversight be attributable to its distance from the arts commissioners who inhabit the capital, we wonder?
The rest of Britain does not know what it is missing.