The best-selling poet Simon Armitage, who was appointed poet laureate in May, will open the Festival on Friday 1 November at Todmorden Hippodrome Theatre.
Simon Armitage was born in West Yorkshire and is Professor of Poetry at the University of Leeds. His work draws on the rich vernacular of the north and his sequence of poems In Memory of Water is carved into six stones along the Pennine watershed between Marsden and Ilkley that now form the Stanza Stones Trail. He has received numerous accolades, including the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, an Ivor Novello Award for songwriting and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2018. He received a CBE for services to poetry in 2010. In 2015, Armitage was appointed Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford. He has published over a dozen collections of poetry and is the author of two novels and three non-fiction bestsellers. His acclaimed translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight has sold over 100,000 copies, and his work features regularly on the national curriculum. His new collection Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic was published in May.