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Book worms in for treat at Ilkley Literature Festival

Ilkley Literature Festival is bringing a series of author events this October that celebrate all things books.

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.

Leeds-born Emma Smith, who is a Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford, returns to Yorkshire to share her exploration of our love affair with books with Portable Magic: A History of Books and their Readers. The title references Stephen King’s quote describing books as “uniquely portable magic”. Emma will be at Ilkley Grammar School on Saturday 8 October.

At Ilkley Playhouse, Rebecca Lee will talk about her book, How Words Get Good: The Story of Making a Book, on Sunday 9 October. Lee is an editorial manager at Penguin Random House and offers a fascinating insight into the journey a book takes from author’s brain to bookshop shelf. She’ll explore the dark art of ghost-writing to esoteric grammar and the beauty of typesetting.

Bookshops can be a place of discovery, refuge and enrichment. Jeff Deutsch will talk about his book, In Praise of Good Bookstores at Ilkley Grammar School on 16 October. He’ll consider how space, time and community find expression in a good bookstore.

Thumbing to the back of the book is Dennis Duncan with his fascinating, Index, A History of the. Speaking at Ilkley Grammar School on 16 October, Duncan will explore the secret world of the index, a place where hidden in plain sight is an unlikely realm of ambition and obsession, sparring and politicking, pleasure and play. The writer, translator and lecturer at University College London will reveal how the humble index has saved heretics from the stake and kept politicians from high office.

Christina Lupton appears at Ilkley Playhouse on 21 October with Love and the Novel. A Dean of Modern Languages at the University of Copenhagen, she’ll discuss her heady mix of memoir, criticism and storytelling. From Pride and Prejudice to Conversations with Friends, Love and the Novel explores how romantic love was born alongside the novel, and how it shapes how we experience and think about intimacy.

Erica Morris, Director of Ilkley Literature Festival said, “While every literature festival is about the joy of the written word, this year we wanted to take some time to celebrate books themselves as shapers of cultures. Books That Made Us offers a fascinating exploration into what goes into the creation of this enduring, influential and transformative medium. It’s every bibliophile’s dream.”

Ilkley Literature Festival opens on Friday 7 October and runs until 23 October. Founded in 1973, the long-running literary event is loved by writers, readers and publishers alike for its warm welcome and wide-ranging programming.

For more info and to book, visit


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