Ian McMillan, Ruth Jones, Gyles Brandreth, Adrian Chiles, Gabby Logan and Melvyn Bragg amongst headliners at the 2022 Ilkley Literature Festival.

Screen stars, poets, politicians, actors and adventurers will head to Ilkley for its famed literary festival this autumn.

The festival opens with Yorkshire poet Ian McMillan on Friday 7 October and runs until 23 October.

Headline acts announced include actor, co-creator of Gavin & Stacey and author, Ruth Jones, discussing her uplifting new novel Love Untold. Ardal O’Hanlon, star of another iconic TV comedy series, Father Ted, will feature with his darkly comic novel and satire on Ireland’s politics, Brouhaha.

Festival favourite Gyles Brandreth returns with his uproarious romp through British history, A History of Britain in Just a Minute, inspired by the iconic Radio 4 show.

Adrian Chiles will discuss his re-evaluation on his relationship with alcohol, with his new book, The Good Drinker.

Much-loved broadcaster, Leeds-born Gabby Logan, talks The First Half – her candid memoir detailing her brother’s early death, her father’s alcoholism, and navigating sexism at work. And the broadcaster Melvyn Bragg offers a personal insight into his life with Back in the Day, his captivating memoir that revisits his younger years.

The adventurer and television presenter Leo Houlding will discuss his book Closer to the Edge, an insight into the extreme life of a mountain climber.

Lord Chris Pattern explores the extraordinary historic moment Hong Kong was handed back to the Chinese, with his five-year diary of the event, The Hong Kong Diaries. Sir Vince Cable, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, will talk about his new book, How to be a Politician.

Named the best place to live in the UK by the Sunday Times, Ilkley has been home to the annual book festival for almost half a century. Founded in 1973, it’s the North’s longest-running literary event, loved by writers, readers and publishers alike for its warm welcome and wide-ranging programming. Its impressive reputation is built on its ability to bring writers of national and international significance to West Yorkshire audiences.

In an exclusive northern event, Malorie Blackman - who has shaped British literature for more than 30 years with over 60 books – will appear at Bradford Grammar School to discuss Just Sayin’; her empowering account of life as a storyteller, sharing her life lessons and writing tips.

This year’s festival offers more than 90 in-person and digital events. Talks and workshops are hosted at All Saints’ Church, Ilkley Grammar School, Ilkley Playhouse and King’s Hall.

Five festival themes feature in the programme: The Things We Leave Behind, Hidden Figures, The Books That Made Us, Big Britain vs Little England, and Explore Moor – a pun on Ilkley’s famed moor. These run throughout the in-person and digital events, workshops and micro-commissions.

Other highlights include chef Rosemary Shrager on her cosy crime novel, The Last Supper. With foodie talks from chef Sabrina Ghayour, food writer Olivia Potts and wine connoisseur, Victoria Moore.

The festival will explore major issues such as the barriers working class writers face, with Working-Class Writers Festival director, Natasha Carthew on smashing middle-class norms in nature writing. It will also offer a series of Pay as You Feel events to encourage audiences on low incomes to attend.
The festival has a long history with poets, and provides a platform for emerging, new poets, who are often stars of the future.

Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy and Maya Angelou have appeared at the festival over the years, and the first festival in 1973 was inaugurated by WH Auden.

Each year, the festival hosts a Poet in Residence; 2022 sees Kayo Chingonyi in the role. A winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize, Kayo will produce a commissioned piece for the festival as well as curating a poetry showcase and delivering a writing workshop. He’ll also mentor the 2022 Apprentice Poets in Residence, Rebecca Green and Sarah-Clare Conlon.

Other featured poets include Twitter’s unofficial Poet Laureate Brian Bilston, stunning northern talents Kim Moore and Amanda Dalton, and the four poets on Bloomsbury’s first ever poetry list – Anthony Joseph, Valzhyna Mort, Selina Nwulu and Polarbear. Ian’s son, the poet Andrew McMillan, will discuss his new anthology of 100 Queer Poems.

There will also be a series of talks celebrating books themselves, under the theme The Books That Made Us. Authors will explore everything from the evolution of books, to what spurs us to read, to an in-depth look at the hidden world of the humble index. Talks include the Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford, Emma Smith on Portable Magic: A History of Books and Their Readers, editorial manager at Penguin Random House, Rebecca Lee on How Words Get Good: The Story of Making a Book, and Jeff Deutsch on his book, In Praise of Good Bookstores.

Erica Morris, Ilkley Literature Festival Director, said: “The aim of the festival is to bring people together to create conversations, tackle tricky topics and encourage exploration. It is a fantastic chance to broaden our horizons after the difficult last few years. Books are truly adventures into other lives and worlds. We hope our annual literary celebration offers a tonic to audiences, who we can’t wait to welcome in glorious Ilkley.”

For the full programme and to book: www.ilkleylitfest.org.uk