What happens at an Ilkley Literature Festival event?

It varies from event to event. Generally, an author will talk about their work, the themes they’re interested in and what inspires them to write as they do. They might be interviewed on stage by someone else (an ‘In Conversation’ event) or they might be in discussion with a couple of other authors about a common theme.

Most, but not all, authors will read a short extract from their book at some point.

Poetry events normally feature a poet reading their poetry.

Some events, particularly at the Fringe, are a performance or cabaret slot. Other events include music and/or slides or film as well as words. If in doubt feel free to ask.

When can I find out who will be appearing?

The programme is announced in mid-August each year. Join our mailing list to make sure you get the information as soon as it is available.

Tickets go on sale at the end of August and the Festival takes place during the first two weeks of October.

I couldn’t get a ticket for the event I really wanted to go to. What can I do?

We almost always have a small number of returned tickets or ‘returns’ for sale on the door on the night even when events are completely sold out, although of course we can’t guarantee it and you maybe unlucky. Come to the venue for the event, 60 minutes before it is due to start and ask the box office to put you name down for a return ticket. Then wait in the returns queue. We will offer any tickets we have to people in order.

How long do events last?

Most events in the main programme last an hour. The author talks or is interviewed for around 30-40 minutes and then there’s 15-20 minutes for questions from the audience. Normally, if an event is longer than 60 mins this will be stated in the programme. Events for children normally last 45 minutes.

Is there an interval?

Most events are short so there isn’t an interval. Normally, if a longer event has an interval this will be stated in the programme. Download the PDF of the programme on the What’s On page.

Do I need to have read the book or know the author’s work?

No – often people really enjoy events where they don’t know the author’s work. You can always buy the book afterwards at the Festival book stall.

Will I get to meet the author?

Every author, whether famous or just starting out, stays to sign books afterwards and you will be able to speak to them and very often, ask them to write a dedication for you.

How big is the audience?

Our smallest events are for up to 40 people. Our largest – in the Kings Hall – for 517.

What should I wear?

Whatever you like!  There are no rules or dress codes – although if you choose to go on one of our literary walks around Ilkley or up on the Moor make sure you have a coat and waterproof shoes. Some people come to events in jeans and trainers, others wear smart casual. If you like to dress up for an evening out then you are welcome too!

Where do I park?

There are a number of car parks in the centre of Ilkley as well as street parking and all the venues are close to the railway and bus station with direct routes to Leeds and Bradford by train and bus. There’s a map showing the main car park on the Getting to Ilkley page of this website.

Lots of people who live locally find it convenient to walk.

What about access?

There are full details of access to all the Festival venues on the Access page.

A number of events have sign language interpreters. If you have questions about access or need any help or advice, email us or ring the Festival Box Office. Go to the Contact page for details.

A dedicated member of staff coordinates the need of our disabled audience members so whether you need to sit in a particular spot, are bringing ten friends with you, or want a bit more time to get into the venue let us know.

Will there be any food or drink available before or after the event?

Refreshments are available at the following venues: Ilkley Playhouse, Kings Hall, St Margaret’s Hall, All Saints School and Otley Courthouse.

Ilkley is full of good places to eat and any of the Festival staff can advise you.

If there’s still things you’d like to ask email Dawn, our Audience Development Officer on development@ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk.