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York Literature Festival Returns

Above image: Joanne Trollope at this years festival. Credit: Lisa Stonehouse

For the 12th year running the annual Literature festival took place in York, last month. The festival included numerous events such as, readings, performances and panels hosted in venues around the city.

Run mainly by volunteers, the festival started off as a small council idea, with the aim to match the many northern cities which host their own literature festivals. York’s started off small but is getting increasingly bigger year on year, with 2019 being the largest and longest year to date. But there is no competition, as Susanna Cooper, director of this year’s events stated. “you attend the literature festival close to where you live, most of the time the festivals collaborate with each other”.

The volunteers work tirelessly to organise the festival and gain the guests through invitations. This invitation was received by Jaybird Live Literature, a company which took part in the festival two years ago, returned this year with an exciting and originally sourced performance.

Julia Bird, the owner of the company explained that they “work with page poets, theater directors and designers to create subtly theatrical poetry shows”. This year’s performance “What Days We’re Having Now” included the work of three poets, reflecting on their life events, from growing up in the UK and their experiences with the outdoors.

Alex MacDonald, Ella Frears and Will Harries artistically and interestingly recited their work in the hour performance, highlighting the powerful nature of words. With support from the arts council the poets are given the chance to make their work heard.

Left to Right: Alex, Will and Ella

In an age of computers, mobile phones and easily accessible literature online, there is a need to understand the importance of poetry. “Why anything? Why would you do anything rather than nothing? I guess there isn’t a good reason.”, Will, a poet who writes about his personal experiences including growing up and realising some of the important things in life.

For the poet’s poetry is seen as an outlet of self-expression and personal understanding, “you can talk about things that really matter to you and your experiences”, Alex expressed to me. Demonstrating how important, not just poetry, but literature itself is to the human mind.

The festival boasted events for a month, with prices ranging from £40 to absolutely free- they’re more than likely set to return next year with even more literary excitement.

Head to for updates on next years festival and a low down of the happenings this year.