The event, launched in 1973, is facing a 100 per cent cut in its annual funding from Bradford Council – which amounted to £11,178 last year.
Mr Simpson, who opened the festival in 2010, has written to Keighley and Ilkley MP Kris Hopkins to say how “sad” he was to hear of the funding threat now hanging over the event.
He added: “Festivals like this play a big part in the life of a community, and I very much hope the decision to cut the funding will be reversed.”
Bradford Council is consulting on ending all funding to cultural festivals including Ilkley Literature Festival in April. A decision is due later this month.
Mr Hopkins said that the support funding provided by the council returns financial and cultural rewards “multiplied many times over” to the district.
Festival director Rachel Feldberg said: “Organisers are waiting to see the outcome of the funding decision before drawing up the year-round programme of activities that runs alongside the annual October festival.”
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