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Back and better than ever – Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival returns

11 October 2018

Louise Minchin.

The biggest arts event in the borough - Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival - returns next week, bringing stars of page, stage and screen to town with 35 shows in 8 days.

From Monday, 15 October 2018 until Monday, 22 October2018, it will feature drama, comedy, poetry, spoken word, visual arts and children's shows, plus a Generation Z programme for 14 to 25 year olds.

While over 1600 tickets have already been snapped up and some shows are sold out, many seats are still available. Booking isn't required for everything so it's worth checking rochdale literature festival website for events with tickets still available, it will be possible to pay on the door, and some events are free.

Baroness Floella Benjamin.

15 venues will stage performances from star names including BBC presenter and triathlete Louise Minchin, actress, author and presenter Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE, writer and broadcaster Stuart Maconie and women's rights activist Dr Helen Pankhurst, who is the great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, who were both leaders in the British suffragette movement. Shows featuring poet Simon Armitage CBE and author Gervase Phinn are amongst those to have already sold out.

Group of people stood together smiling.

'a fabulous collection of events'

3 top crime authors - Isabelle Grey, Elly Griffiths and William Shaw will be discussing their work  in 'Crime Files: Serial Offenders' and best-selling author Harry Sidebottom will be talking about his latest thriller, The Last Hour.

Falinge Park High School students will be performing their own poetry during an open mic night and top author Stephanie Butland will discuss her latest novel 'The Curious Heart of Alisa Rae' over afternoon tea at Rochdale Town Hall.

Wine bar Vicolo del Vino hosts a free night of top stand-up comedy with 4 of the best comedians in the region on stage for 'Mirth and More' on Sunday, 21 October 2018.

Stuart Maconie.  

Poet and artist Keisha Thompson follows up her 2017 sold out shows in Manchester with 'Lunar' - her latest work that explores the compelling and emotive relationship with her dad.

There's a packed line-up for children and families - on Saturday, 20 October 2018 at Rochdale Central Library, author and storyteller Richard O'Neill presents a live interactive reading of his latest enchanting story – Polonius the Pit Pony. He'll also read other stories, and provide tips on how to create your own picture book. 

At 1pm on Saturday, 20 October 2018 there's a kids' Silent Disco, presented by 'Our Kids Social' at Touchstones Rochdale – promising lots of fun for families with children aged 4+. On Sunday, 21 october 2018, local company Brown's Cakes on St Mary's Gate holds a Dennis the Menace and Friends Cupcake Faces class, giving everyone a chance to make a character from icing with lots of fun along the way. 

A cake class with lots of children.

On Monday, 22 October 2018 you can walk like an Egyptian, right into the treasure vaults of ancient history! You'll be taken on a guided tour of the treasures of Rochdale's Egyptology collection by museum curator Karen Heatley. Littleborough Library hosts an Art Junkies workshop, suitable for ages 7+ with artist and recycling junkie Maryanne Royle teaching you how to turn everyday rubbish into art.

Councillor Janet Emsley, our Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Community and Culture said:

"We've a fabulous collection of events for our sixth festival and as well as events that will make you think there's also lots of entertainment. This festival is always a lot of fun and I do encourage anyone who hasn't managed to take a look or grab tickets yet to pick up a programme or check out the website."

The festival 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.