YORKSHIRE stage legends Alan Bennett and Barrie Rutter bookend the 2017 Ilkley Literature Festival, respectively opening and closing the17-day festival which takes place from September 29 to October 15.

Packed in between these two icons of the page and stage are a further 250 events for all ages featuring novelists and broadcasters, poets and performers each contributing to this, the longest running event of its kind in the north of England.

One of Britain’s most notable playwrights, Alan Bennett will take to the stage of The Kings Hall on September 29 to discuss his most recent diaries, published together in ‘Keeping on Keeping on’. Others taking to that particular stage during the Festival include comedy actor and regular panellist on BBC Radio 4’s I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue - Tim Brooke Taylor (September 30); former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, who returns to Ilkley with ‘So They Call You Pisher!’, his own life story (October 2); professional tennis coach and perhaps sport’s most well-known mum – Judy Murray – telling the story of her life bringing up two champions on October 3; biologist and provocateur, Richard Dawkins will call for a return to reason over bad science (October 4) and celebrating the life and legacy of his wife, human rights campaigner and Labour MP Jo cox through his book ‘More in Common’, is Brendan Cox (October 5).

Award winners and best-selling literary authors appearing at the Festival include ‘Apple Tree Yard’ author Louise Doughty on October 1 with her new work ‘Black Water’, set in cold war Europe, California and Indonesia. On October 8 Natasha Pulley, author of 2015 best-seller ‘The Watchmaker of Filigree Street’ presents her new historical novel ‘The Bedlam Stacks’ and former winner of the Man Booker Prize Alan Hollinghurst returns to the Festival on October 12 following the publication of ‘The Sparsholt Affair’, his long-awaited sixth novel. Acclaimed Orange and Baileys Prize shortlisted author Kamila Shamsie also returns to Ilkley on October 14 to talk about her Booker Prize long listed novel ‘Home Fire’. The 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death will be marked with a series of events and readings, and there is a special Festival strand on European literary fiction.

Leading figures from the arts will feature at Ilkley this year, starting with the life of poet and artist Ian Hamilton Finlay – the subject of this year’s Festival exhibition shown at the Manor House Museum throughout the Festival. One of the world’s leading Shakespearean actors Michael Pennington will describe what it takes to play King Lear on September 30 while on October 6 award winning poet, playwright, novelist, lyricist and broadcaster Simon Armitage will read from his newest collection ‘The Unaccompanied’. Satirist and writer Armando Iannucci steps away from politics to discuss his increasing love for classical music on October 7 and bringing the whole Festival to a close on October 15 in his own distinctive way is actor and director Barrie Rutter.

Ilkley Literature Festival is a magnet for familiar names and faces from the worlds of TV and radio. 2017 is no different with the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The Life Scientific, Jim Al-Khalilli returns to Ilkley on September 30 to talk about how science will define the future. Pointless creator and co-presenter Richard Osman makes his Festival debut and will attempt to answer important questions like ‘what is the nation’s favourite biscuit?’ posed in his book ‘The World Cup of Everything’ at his event on October 1. The real stars of Jeremy Vine’s BBC Radio 2 phone in show, members of the public, are the focus of his talk on October 3, while TV presenter June Sarpong explores the importance of diversity in society on October 11 and foreign correspondent Fergal Keane examines his personal history with the years of conflict in rural West Ireland on October 15.

Non-fiction writers covering a wide range of subjects including gardening, cooking, comedy and sport also appear in the spa town this October. Stand-up comedian Shazia Mirza returns to Ilkley on October 1 with a new show about lies and truth; presenter of BBC 2’s Gardener’s World Alys Fowler takes to the water with an exploration of canals on October 5 and Executive Chef at the acclaimed London ‘Cinnamon Club’ Vivek Singh explores Indian cookery on October 9. Captain of the Great Britain sitting volleyball team Martine Wright will discuss how she went from marketing manager to Paralympian following the 7/7 London attacks when she lost both her legs (October 11); agony aunt for The-Pool.com and comedian Viv Groskop argues on October 13 that the answers to all problems can be found in Russian literature and on October 14 investigative writer and journalist David Conn exposes the rise and fall of FIFA , from its early years through to the scandals of the era of former company president Sepp Blatter.

Junior members of the family will also find much to enjoy during the Festival including an appearance from Mr Bloom himself Ben Faulks who will visit the town on September 30 with a new show for those aged four plus ‘What Makes Me a Me’. Young people over 12 can hear winner of the 2016 Guardian children’s fiction prize Alex Wheatle reading from his new story ‘Straight Outta Crongton’ on October 9, while on October 14 BBC Radio One’s Greg James and Chris Smith present their debut novel for children aged eight plus ‘Kid Normal’. Rotherham’s very own ‘Apothecary to the Magical’ Grimm & Co head north to create a Fairytale Museum at Ilkley Bandstand.

Festival Director Rachel Feldberg said: “The 2017 Festival line-up includes some of the biggest names in the worlds of poetry and literary fiction alongside provocative speakers with the ability to make us all think in exciting ways. Our strands this year, from ‘Borders, Boundaries and Partition’, ‘Making or faking? New Approaches to the News’ to ‘Women’s Writing & the First World War’ will give our audiences the opportunity to hear about topical subjects from the academics, writers and specialists who know them best.”

These names join those already announced – Shami Chakrabarti, Evan Davis, Victoria Derbyshire and Sarah Millican and hundreds of others. For the full programme visit www.ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk

Tickets are available from 9am on Tuesday, August 29. Customers can book online at www.ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk or through the box office on 01943 816714.