NEWLY appointed Poet Laureate Simon Armitage will open this year’s Ilkley Literature Festival.

As Laureate, the Yorkshire poet takes over from Carol Ann Duffy and follows in the footsteps of Ted Hughes, John Betjeman and William Wordsworth.

The Laureateship is held for ten years and although there are no set requirements for the role, Laureates often write work responding to national events.

The Marsden-born poet has long been a friend of Ilkley Literature Festival, first appearing in 1991 and since then has been a regular feature on the programme.

In 2012 then Festival Director Rachel Feldberg commissioned Simon to write six poems inspired by the language and landscape of the Pennine Watershed.

The poems were then carved onto stones across the upland by stone artist Pip Hall, forming the Stanza Stones Poetry Trail which runs from Marsden to Ilkley.

Simon’s latest collection, Sandettie Light Vassel Automatic, features the Stanza Stone poems along with other works from the many commissions and collaborations upon which he has worked.

In 2017 Armitage was appointed as the first Professor of Poetry at the University of Leeds.

Nigel Walsh, chairman of Ilkley Literature Festival said: “Simon has long been a friend and supporter of Ilkley Literature Festival and I know festival goers and others in the region will delight in his appointment as Poet Laureate.

“We congratulate him sincerely, look forward with interest to see what his tenure as Laureate will bring, and take pleasure in the privilege of having him open this year’s Festival.”

The full Ilkley Literature Festival programme will be announced on August 14, with tickets for all events, including the Opening Night with Simon Armitage, going on general sale on August 27.

Festival Friends will be able to book from August 19.

Details of the Stanza Stones Poetry Trail can be found at