One of Britain's favourite living poets coming to Harrogate district arts event

It’s back! Organisers are planning to take advantage of a post-lockdown world by holding the fourth Ripon Poetry Festival at the end of this year - with one of Britain's best known writers.

By Graham Chalmers
Thursday, 6th May 2021, 5:18 pm
Ripon Poetry Festival guest - Poet Laureate Simon Armitage pictured when he was Yorkshire Sculpture Park's poet in residence for 2017. (Picture by Bruce Rollinson)
Ripon Poetry Festival guest - Poet Laureate Simon Armitage pictured when he was Yorkshire Sculpture Park's poet in residence for 2017. (Picture by Bruce Rollinson)

Running from October, 7-10, this year’s festival will include a reading by the UK’s Poet Laureate Simon Armitage CBE.

Born in West Yorkshire, the multi award-winning Armitage has held the post since 2019 and is Professor of Poetry at the University of Leeds having serves as Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford from 2015 to 2019.

His first full-length collection of poems, Zoom!, was published in 1989 by Bloodaxe Books to be followed by the likes of The Dead Sea Poems (1995, Faber & Faber), Travelling Songs (2002, Faber & Faber), Seeing Stars (2010, Faber & Faber, 2011 Knopf), The Unaccompanied (2017, Faber & Faber) and Magnetic Field: The Marsden Poems (2020, Faber & Faber).

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    He is also a successful playwright and TV writer while his love of indie music has seen him turn up as a regular guest on the Radcliffe and Maconie Show on BBC Radio 6 Musican and is currently lead singer in LYR, the occasional rock band he formed after the demise of his previous band The Scaremongers.

    In the meantime, as part of the 2021 Ripon Poetry Festival, writers or aspiring writers of all ages are invited to submit poems to the festival poetry competition.

    The best of the entries will be collected in a book published during the festival. Anyone who has a poem in the book will be invited to the launch on Friday, October 8 where they will receive a free copy of the book.

    Poems can be on any subject but, because this year marks the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, organisers are looking for poems about escaping from the strange world of lockdown.

    Ripon Poetry Festival was founded in 2017 by a group of local poets in the city - Andy Croft, David McAndrew and Paul Mills.

    More information at

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