Tag Archives: Ilkley Literature Festival

A Weekend in Ilkley (and Ilkley Book Festival!) 

I have spent my first weekend back in the UK away from home in the Yorkshire Dales/Moors and in the wonderful village (and mainly the pub) of Ben Rhydding next to Ilkley. What on earth was I doing there? Well apart from eating, drinking and chatting about books in the pub I was there  as part of the programme for Ilkley Literature Festival, which has just started and if you’re nearby you should really check out.

I was kindly invited by New Writing North to take part in a talk on writing and reading in the digital age and what social media, blogs and vlogs etc are doing for the industry, for readers and for writers. Chaired by (the lovely) Claire Malcolm, who is New Writing North’s CEO, I was on a panel with author and vlogger Jen Campbell and Unbound’s editor-at- large Rachael Kerr. It was a joy to do events with Claire and Rachael again and also to finally meet Jen! The audience were also brilliant. Annoyingly I forgot to take a picture of any of us together or the audience. I am a fool. 

I really love it when you get to do an event with an audience that is as engaged as last nights was. Some of the questions (which I will be answering in full soon here) really, really made me think. Never before has some asked me how responsible I feel about reviewing, or if they have I’ve never been made to think about it as much as I have since. Nor have I ever been asked what I feel my role is, if any, between author and reader. I didn’t think I had one, the audience weren’t so sure. Much to think on and come back to.

Before the event, after having checked in at the hotel which is a pub, I did manage to go around Ilkley. By which I actually mean I went to the wonderful Grove Bookshop… 

And parted with some cash as I somehow, because of the wonderful layout and selection of books, came away with not one but four books, it’s a sickness…

One I had actually asked if they had in (I’m Jack by Mark Blacklock) and they didn’t but managed to get in with a day’s notice. Now that is a bookshop to be proud of – and dream of having locally. Speaking of locals, I must mention the place I spent most of my time, The Wheatley Arms. No, I haven’t become a lush this was our hotel and it was, erm, lush. Look at my room…

I had a balcony all of my own. Now look at the Whitby crab and chips I had for my tea… 

I spent several hours in the restaurant and bar last night with Rachael, Claire and her husband putting the publishing and book world to rights. Before returning again for breakfast this morning and doing the same with Rachael and Jen before we all had to catch our trains. Well after a small lie in with a nice cuppa Yorkshire Tea (my fav) and one of the books I had bought in the worlds most comfortable bed.  

What a lovely weekend. Next weekend I am off to Durham Book Festival, more on that on Tuesday, but for now I will leave you with a link again to Ilkley Literature Festival, and these questions… What have you all been upto this weekend and what are you reading?

Oh and UPDATE the event I took part in has been reviewed. Me being reviewed seems most odd, thankfully it was a good one, phew. 


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Some Festival Festivities This Autumn

I have mentioned before how much I enjoy going to and indeed on occasion being part of a book festival. I told you a few weeks ago that I was going to be heading to Gladfest at Gladstone’s library when it is one over the first weekend in September, more info here, and now I have two more to tell you about as I will up and down the country like a yo-yo at the beginning of October and I am really excited about these trips already. They will be needed as I am sure to be having a bloody massive small comedown after I get back from America and ‘Readers Road Trip’ with Thomas and Booktopia Petoskey with him, Ann and Michael.

The first festival that I will be heading to will be the Ilkley Literature Festival where , on Saturday the 3rd of October, I will be joining author and vlogger Jen Campbell and Unbound Publishing’s editor Rachael Kerr to discuss Writing and Reading in a Digital Age; Books and Reading from the Romans to the Digital Age. This event will happen in Ilkley Playhouse and be chaired by the very lovely Claire Newman, who is the Chief Executive of New Writing North and has kept me in line when she chaired an event I did in Newcastle. I am really looking forward to this as these three ladies are all ace, all very forward and I think the conversation and debate will be rather interesting, if I do say so myself. I am also going to try and sneak into some of the other events on around it, you can find the programme PDF here – it would be lovely to see some of you there.


Top right, not sure I can compete with Patricia Duncker…

Next up, announced just yesterday, is the lovely exciting news that I am going to be the official blogger for Durham Book Festival which runs from the 6th to the 17th of October. Here basically I will be gadding about and doing a series of ‘live’ blogs here on Savidge Reads and also some posts on the festivals website throughout the eleven days too. I love Durham and am thrilled to be heading back, as a child I grew up in Newcastle and trips to Durham Cathedral and its impressive knockers (no sniggering at the back) are imprinted on my brain.


Looking smiley as always, thank you Tim for finding this in the programme.

Now as much as I would love to be there for the whole eleven days, I have got a new job (very exciting and more on it next week) and so can’t be there during the week. However, I am really, really excited as I am going to be giving some master classes, and offering some advice and mentoring, for  some younger writers (who write for The Cuckoo Review) in September who will be ‘reviewers in residence’ while the festival is on. I am so, so excited about this. I bet I will have more questions for them than they will for me. I am also very excited as I will be going to the Gordon Burn Prize winning event, so I am going to be reading all the shortlisted books which I shared with you the other day (which New Writing North are kindly sending me) in advance of the event too. The full programme is here.

So September and October are looking like really exciting and very busy months. New job, lots of events and lots of lovely bookish chatter. Do let me know if you will be at Ilkley or Durham’s festivals as it would be lovely to see you, and of course at Gladfest. Right, I better get reading some books in preparation!*

*It isn’t all books, I have just found out I will be working on LIMF (Liverpool International Music Festival, the biggest free music festival in Europe no less) Summer Jam on the August Bank Holiday weekend, so my life is going completely festival mad, can’t wait!


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