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Booking ahead: 2019 chapter for Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival

04 March 2019

Janet Emsley with Deeds not Words group. Famous names from the world of arts and culture will be heading to the borough in October 2019 when Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival returns for its 7th year. 

A wide-ranging programme of events and shows will run from Monday, 14 October 2019 - Monday, 21 October 2019 and we’re promising another 8 days of exciting arts for all ages. 

Events will cover drama, comedy, poetry, spoken word, visual arts, children’s shows and more. For young people aged 14 to 25, a ‘Generation Z’ programme is being put together, with plans to commission another brand new piece of work specially for the festival.

Louise Minchin.  

Over 2,500 people attended last year, with the festival including over 35 events featuring BBC presenter Louise Minchin, television presenter and campaigner Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE, broadcaster and author Stuart Maconie, Dr Helen Pankhurst and Gervase Phinn. 

"Thought provoking, motivating, much loved and fun"

2019's event will again include high-profile guest speakers and writers and is aimed at celebrating and promoting the Maskew Collection of classic literature and philosophy at Rochdale Central Library, encouraging people to engage with books and ideas. Annie and Frank Maskew, a Rochdale couple who shared a passion for reading and thinking, met in Rochdale Library in the 1950s and left a sum of money to be used on resources and events related to literature and philosophy to ensure classic works are available for future generations.

Poet at Rochdale Literature Festival.

The autumn festival, which began in 2013, will include events at venues across the borough. 

Authors, performers and workshops will start to be confirmed from April 2019 onwards, with tickets on sale from 10am, Monday, 29 July 2019.

Festival organisers are also on the lookout for young writers aged 14 to 25 to contribute to ‘Unmasked’, a zine of stories, creative writing and art to be published later this year by

Performers at Rochdale Literature Festival.

Councillor Janet Emsley, our cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture, said:

“I really look forward to seeing this year’s line-up. It is a treat to be part of this festival which brings world class arts to the borough year after year. This thought provoking, motivating, much loved and fun event is now a firm fixture on our calendar, so save the dates and we’ll see you in October!!”

Family show at Rochdale Literature Festival.

2018’s festival received great feedback from visitors, with 95% rating events as excellent or good, 74% said they’d been inspired to read or try something new after attending and 98% said they would return again.

Almost all visitors agreed it's important to celebrate literature and ideas in the borough.