ALAN Bennett is to open this year's Ilkley Literature Festival.

The playwright, screenwriter, actor and author returns to the Festival for the first time since 2009 with a special afternoon event on Friday, September 29. He will be talking about his most recent collection of diaries and essays - Keep on Keeping On - which cover the period from 2005 to 2015.

Festival Director Rachel Feldberg said: "We couldn’t be happier that Alan is opening the Festival this year. He is one of Britain’s greatest and best known writers and it is a real honour to be welcoming him back."

Shami Chakrabarti, Evan Davis, Victoria Derbyshire and Sarah Millican have already been announced as speakers at the 17 day event, which is the longest running literature festival in the North.

The full programme will be announced on Thursday, August 17 with tickets going on general sale on Tuesday, August 29. Festival Friends enjoy a priority booking period from August 21. To become a Friend of the Festival, visit the Festival website or call 01943 601210.

Words in the City returns to Bradford on Saturday, July 29 and Sunday, July 30 for a weekend of free poetry and family fun activities as part of Bradford Festival. As well as the chance to create animal themed poems, there will be performances of a new show inspired by the picture book Owl Babies, and Bradford Young Writers will be reading their work.