Ilkley Literature Festival 2011 hosts 170 writers

Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
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Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and broadcasters Janet Street Porter, Jeremy Paxman and Melvyn Bragg are among the big names making an appearance at this year’s Ilkley Literature Festival.

The event – running from September 30 to October 16 – will, in total, feature around 170 authors.

Ilkley has been hosting the event for almost 40 years, making it the second oldest festival of its kind in the country.

Heroic explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, will talk about who inspires him with his new book My Heroes.

Journalist and television presenter Janet Street-Porter will discuss her life and work, and her passion for the Yorkshire Dales.

Also appearing are BBC Radio 6 Music’s resident northerner Mark Radcliffe – in town to discuss his musical memoir Reelin’ in the Years – and Radio 4 economist Evan Davis and presenter of BBC1’s Dragons’ Den, who will talk about his book, Made in Britain.

Poet Simon Armitage will open the festival with the world premiere of his new suite of poems In Memory of Water, inspired by the Pennine Watershed and commissioned by the literature festival.

Festival director Rachel Feldberg said: “We have a really wonderful selection of authors coming to Ilkley this year, many for the first time, which is always exciting.

“We’ll be showing them why the festival continues to go from strength to strength and that there’s a fantastic cultural life in Yorkshire.

“With more headline speakers being confirmed every day, it’s looking like a packed festival with around 200 events covering a broad range of writing, from poetry and fiction, to sport, economics, history and art.”

For non-fiction enthusiasts, there will be star turns from Newsnight and University Challenge’s Jeremy Paxman on the British Empire, and Ilkley returner Melvyn Bragg, who will highlight one of this year’s festival strands, an exploration of the impact of the King James version of the Bible.

The complete festival programme will be announced in July.

Tickets will be available from August.

Visit: or call 01943 816714 for details.

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