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Ilkley Literature Festival 2022 headline acts announced

Amongst the 2022 headline acts Ruth Jones (©Tom Jackson Photograph)

Ian McMillan, Ruth Jones, Gyles Brandreth, Gabby Logan and Melvyn Bragg amongst headliners at the 2022 Ilkley Literature Festival.

Screen stars, poets, politicians, actors and adventurers will head to Ilkley for its famed literary festival this autumn.

The festival opens with Yorkshire poet Ian McMillan on Friday 7 October and runs until 23 October.

Headline acts announced include actor, co-creator of Gavin & Stacey and author, Ruth Jones, discussing her uplifting new novel Love Untold, a heart-warming story of mothers, daughters and final chances.

Ardal O’Hanlon, star of another iconic TV comedy series, Father Ted, will feature with his darkly comic novel and satire on Ireland’s politics, Brouhaha, praised as a life out loud crime mystery.

Festival favourite Gyles Brandreth returns with his uproarious romp through British history, A History of Britain in Just a Minute, inspired by the iconic Radio 4 show.

Much-loved broadcaster, Leeds-born Gabby Logan, talks The First Half – her candid memoir detailing her brother’s early death, her father’s alcoholism, and navigating sexism at work. And the broadcaster Melvyn Bragg offers a personal insight into his life with Back in the Day, his captivating memoir that revisits his younger years.

The adventurer and television presenter Leo Houlding will discuss his book Closer to the Edge, an insight into the extreme life of a mountain climber.

Lord Chris Pattern explores the extraordinary historic moment Hong Kong was handed back to the Chinese, with his five-year diary of the event, The Hong Kong Diaries. Sir Vince Cable, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, will talk about his new book, How to be a Politician.

Named the best place to live in the UK by the Sunday Times, Ilkley has been home to the annual book festival for almost half a decade. Founded in 1973, it’s the North’s longest-running literary event, loved by writers, readers and publishers alike for its warm welcome and wide-ranging programming. Its impressive reputation is built on its ability to bring writers of national and international significance to West Yorkshire audiences.

In an exclusive northern event, Malorie Blackman - who has shaped British literature for more than 30 years with over 60 books – will appear at Bradford Grammar School to discuss Just Sayin’; her empowering account of life as a storyteller, sharing her life lessons and writing tips.

This year’s festival offers more than 90 in-person and digital events. Talks and workshops are hosted at All Saints’ Church, Ilkley Grammar School, Ilkley Playhouse and King’s Hall.

Five festival themes feature in the programme: The Things We Leave Behind, Hidden Figures, The Books That Made Us, Big Britain vs Little England, and Explore Moor – a pun on Ilkley’s famed moor. These run throughout the in-person and digital events, workshops and micro-commissions.

Erica Morris, Ilkley Literature Festival Director, said: “The aim of the festival is to bring people together to create conversations, tackle tricky topics and encourage exploration. It is a fantastic chance to broaden our horizons after the difficult last few years. Books are truly adventures into other lives and worlds. We hope our annual literary celebration offers a tonic to audiences, who we can’t wait to welcome in glorious Ilkley.”

Tickets will go on general sale from Tuesday 30 August. Friends of the Festival enjoy a priority booking period from Wednesday 24 August. Friends’ memberships can be bought via the festival website at where you can also view the full programme.


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