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Ilkley Literature Festival launches Spring programme

Natasha Carthew will be appearing in the ILF Spring events

llkley Literature Festival has announced a spring digital programme of Digital Events Exploring the Natural World which will begin later this month.

Nine specially curated talks exploring the relationship between words and the natural world will be broadcast free online on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 March, and then will be available to view on catch up until 30 April.

Topics covered range from the benefits of nature writing for well-being, self-expression and mental health, to why some voices have historically been excluded from the genre and how this is beginning to change, and the impact environmental policies could have on our economy. Events will feature writers of fiction, poetry and non-fiction participating from around the UK and internationally.

Highlights include leading economist and proponent of a Green New Deal Ann Pettifor discussing how we can rethink the function of money to save our economic and eco systems; novelist Imbolo Mbue exploring the impact corporations can have on communities and their land in her latest book How Beautiful We Were; and Natasha Carthew and Tanya Shadrick speaking about what it means to be a nature writer and launching the 2021 Nature Writing Prize for Working Class Writers.

Other authors participating in the Spring programme include Professor Corinne Fowler, Kerri ní Dochartaigh, Matt Gaw, Helen Mort and Lev Parikian. In addition, there will be a panel discussion featuring artists Testament and Harriet Fraser and academic Dr Pippa Marland. Access to watch the weekend’s events are free of charge but pre-booking is essential.

Presented alongside the events are four brand new commissions from poets Kim Moore, Jason Allen-Paisant, 2019 ILF Apprentice Poet-In-Residence Shash Trevett and novelist Angela Readman, as well as six micro-commissions from Yorkshire artists working in a range of artforms, from poetry and spoken word to soundscapes and experimental film.

Ilkley Literature Festival Director, Erica Morris, said: “In the past year, as we’ve made adjustments to life in lockdown, many of us have found ourselves reflecting on our relationships with both the natural world and the world of words, reading and writing. Some people have found themselves cut off from both, while others have found themselves connecting in new ways. Our Spring programme is an opportunity to explore the deep links between nature, self-identity and writing in the company of some of the most brilliant, thoughtful and entertaining writers at work today.”

For information on the full programme and to book, visit:

As always, the festival’s official bookseller The Grove Bookshop will be stocking copies of the authors’ books which can be purchased online at:

ILF’s nature writing theme will continue into the following month with a very special online event on Friday 30 April at 7pm with writer and journalist Anita Sethi celebrating the launch of her brilliant new book. I Belong Here is a journey of reclamation through the natural landscapes of the North, exploring identity, nature, place and belonging. The event will be co-hosted with The Grove Bookshop. Tickets cost £12 and include a copy of the book. They are available to purchase from the Ilkley Literature Festival website.


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