Find one of our 50th Anniversary Golden Leaves hidden in books placed in cryptic locations around Ilkley town and win yourself a FREE ticket to a festival event of your choice!

To celebrate our Golden Anniversary, we are launching The Great Golden Leaf Hunt! Inspired by Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we have released 50 clues to the locations of 50 Golden Leaves.

The Golden Leaves will be hidden inside specially chosen books with links to illustrious writers from the Festival’s five-decade history. The first person to find each Golden Leaf will win a free ticket to a 2023 festival event of their choice.

Golden Leaf hunters will need to crack a cryptic literary clue to discover each book’s title, author and location. Books will be scattered across Ilkley town in cafés, shops, community spaces and unexpected corners.

Once a Golden Leaf has been claimed, hunters will still be able to enjoy solving the clues and finding the books, but there’s only 50 free tickets on offer – one for each book – and fastest to find the Golden Leaf wins!

When you find a ticket, take it from the book and use the code at checkout (online in the box that says promotion code or via phone, quote the code) on it’s back when reserving a space for an event of your choice to gain free entry. Please note, each person can only claim one prize.

Which clues have been cracked so far?

2. This former journalist turned strategist and spokesman for Blair opened up about his struggle with depression in a deeply personal book. Find a gold leaf hidden in one of his books about the state of politics and what the public can do about it in a popular mental health charity.

5. This quiz master recently retired from a popular quiz show, after having hosted it for 29 years. You can find a golden leaf in his memoir, which can be found in Ilkley’s local community centre. It might be quite a challenge!

13. This eminent West-Yorkshire-born poet has been ‘zooming’ around libraries in the UK, giving readings in both large city and smaller rural libraries, and using the alphabet as a compass. He will be doing this each spring for the next decade – so might he come to Ilkley Library?

14. This leaf is in a ‘retelling of Christ’s forty-day fast in the desert’ which won the Whitbread novel of the year. (Another of the author’s books is on the A level AQA English Literature specification.) The book is hidden in a place of worship at the centre of Ilkley’s main street.

16. This leaf is in a book about two modern-day academics researching the paper trail around an affair between two fictional Victorian poets. It is written in many styles: diary entries and romantic letters containing ‘paper kisses’ and fragments of passion and obsession.

18. You might come across ‘The Accidental’ gold leaf in a book by this famous Scottish author while browsing for books. Have a look in the Ilkley newsagent’s downstairs bookshop which shares this author’s surname.

24. This children’s author often writes about animals, and the natural world is central to many of his over 150 books – the animals often become the characters ‘best mates’ or even their ‘Shadow’. Look for the book where you could buy pet supplies in Ilkley.

30. This leaf is in a book all about meat, written by a celebrity chef who is passionate about the welfare of animals and who understands the importance of buying meat from butchers who are also passionate about this. Find the book in one of the two fantastic Ilkley butchers.

35. This former poet-in-residence for Cambridge University, who has a poem called ‘Tissue’ featured on the GCSE AQA English Literature specification, is also an accomplished artist, having held 11 exhibitions. Look for the leaf where she might buy her art supplies in Ilkley.

47. Find a leaf hidden in a book about the printer, charmer, con-man and visionary who invented ‘artificial writing’ in printing the bible. The book is placed where you could get photographs printed in Ilkley, as well as buy a wide range of photographic equipment.