The year 2023 marks a monumental milestone for Ilkley Literature Festival. Founded in 1973, this small yet mighty charity is celebrating its golden anniversary!
ILF is the longest-running literature festival in the north. For 50 years they have brought literary giants to the Yorkshire Dales, provided emerging writers and poets with the platform to share their work, and offered children and young people the chance to develop their skills and confidence.
To celebrate the past 50 years and ensure ‘50 moor’, they aim to fundraise £50,000! Kickstarting this campaign, Director Erica Morris will be walking the Stanza Stones Trail this Spring.
The Stanza Stones Trail was commissioned by ILF in 2012 as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Poet Laureate Simon Armitage wrote a set of poems inspired by the language and landscape of the Pennine Watershed, which were then carved into stones across the upland. These six poems form a 50-mile Poetry Trail between Marsden and Ilkley.
“To ensure we continue delivering our programmes of work and survive the next 50 years, we need your help,” Erica said. “ILF is at the heart of the town’s cultural offering. But we have to be honest and say that it has been a tough few years. Rising costs, falling revenue streams and standstill public funding means we have much less money to deliver these programmes than we did ten years ago.”
“The money raised on this walk will go towards helping the local communities we benefit. If you are able to, please support us by making a donation. Whether it’s 50p or £50 per mile, we will be so grateful.”
Walking the trail over three consecutive weekends, Erica will begin the first leg on Saturday 25 March, concluding the 47 mile walk over the Easter weekend.
Donations can be made online via: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stanzastones50
You can also follow along on Erica’s journey via the donation link above or via ILF’s social media: @ilkleylitfest
If you would like to experience the trail, each stone can be visited separately via short family walks or as part of the longer route. You can download the guide for free from ILF’s website here: https://www.ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk/stanza-stones-trail/stanza-stones
ILF will be releasing further information about exciting initiatives and more ways to support the charity in the coming months as they prepare for the 50th anniversary celebrations and the next 50 years of ILF.