Rachel Feldberg announced yesterday that she would step down from the Ilkley event, to concentrate on studying full-time for an MA in 18th century history, at the University of York.
During her time in Ilkley, whose festival dates back to 1973, a time when literary events were almost unknown outside Cheltenham, the event has secured a place on Arts Council England’s “national portfolio” for funding.
She said she would look forward “to watching the next chapter of this creative and ground-breaking festival.”
Nigel Walsh, chairman of the festival, which runs for 17 days in October, said Ms Feldberg had “firmly cemented our reputation as the leading literature festival in the North”.
The organisation said it would begin a search for her replacement in the New Year.