Ilkley Literature Festival announces autumn 2020 plans


The King's Hall is a regular venue for ILF events

The Ilkley Literature Festival have announced plans for a range of digital content and activities, and the ever-popular Children’s Festival has been rescheduled for March 2021.


In any other year, August is an extremely busy time in the Ilkley Literature Festival office. The team would be eagerly awaiting delivery of the festival programme, frantically uploading 150+ events into the box office system ready for tickets to go on sale, and putting the finishing touches on plans to deliver audiences a jam-packed fortnight of talks, performances and workshops in October.

But like so many other festivals (and well, everything the world over), this year looks very different. A few months ago, it was hoped that the Ilkley Literature Festival could be presented in its traditional format this autumn, but we now know that is simply not possible.

First and foremost, the festival’s responsibility is to ensure the health and safety of staff, speakers, audiences, and volunteers. In consultation with our venues it is apparent that reopening safely for audiences of more than 30-50 people will not be possible until early 2021.

So instead the ILF team is excited to be developing a range of digital content and activity that will be presented to audiences safely whilst still promoting all things reading, writing and creativity. Rather than focusing on just two weeks in October, the new programme of activities will launch in September and continue right through to Spring 2021, when a bumper Spring Series of live events is planned to take place.

There will be lots of things to choose from, some free, others ticketed.

A weekend of digital talks will take place on Saturday 24 & Sunday 25 October. Focussing on the theme of ‘In/Justice’ audiences will be able to view free online talks and performances, featuring writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Starting in August there will be a programme of creative workshops for both adults and young people, ranging from writing for wellbeing to crime fiction and creating animated poetry. With a maximum of 20 participants some of these will be delivered in person whilst others will run online.

ILF will bring you a digital series of mini-lectures presented by academics from the University of Leeds and virtual Guided Reading Groups, allowing audiences to explore ideas and enjoy new books from the comfort of their own homes over the autumn and winter months.

Erica Morris, Director, says “While it feels strange not to be gearing up to welcome our festival friends and loyal audiences this autumn – the first time since the festival became an annual event in 1988 - we are thrilled to bring you this programme of digital content, workshops and new commissions and it is our hope that by spring 2021 we will be able to return to enjoying shared live experiences with authors and audiences in Ilkley”.

‘Be All Write’, which launched at the start of lockdown, will continue to test your knowledge with literature-based quizzes and weekly writing challenges.

In place of live Fringe events we are excited to launch a new digital showcase across ILF’s Fringe social media platforms. From Monday 3 August the Wonky Fringe Festival will present short digital trailers of work from some of the best local writers, artists and performers. Other talented creatives from the community are encouraged to join in by submitting tasters of their own, whether text, image, audio or video recording. We hope to hear from a wide range of artists, including poets, performers, spoken word artists, illustrators, musicians, animators, directors, and scriptwriters. Further details can we be found on the ILF website.

The ever-popular Children’s Festival has been rescheduled for March 2021 in the centre of Ilkley. Events will take place in and around All Saints Church, the Ilkley Manor House and Ilkley Arts Studio.

Furthermore, Ilkley Literature Festival will continue its programme of commissioning new writing and developing creative talent. A thought-provoking project exploring the impact of 2020 will be launched next month and will combine new writing and film making.

More details on this year’s programme will be announced in the coming weeks and months via ILF’s website, newsletters, and social media channels @ilkleylitfest.

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