Ten reasons for Arts Council to support York Lit Fest

12 Oct 2012 @ 4.42 pm
| Entertainment

Veteran politician Tony Benn and Miles at last year's York Literature Festival

York writer and musician Miles Salter, who organises the city’s successful literature festival, says the event needs more support

York Literature Festival need Arts Council support to help us grow and develop. We have asked for £6,236. Here are ten reasons why the festival should receive the funding.

1. Since it began in 2007, the festival has NEVER had Arts Council funding

2. Stephen May, Arts Council officer for literature in Yorkshire, says: “We think York should have a literature festival.” John Yeomans, former chairman of Visit York, met with a manager at Hodder and Stoughton who said: “York is the perfect place for a literature festival.”

3. York was the home of fictional hero Robinson Crusoe, and was the first town to sell copies of Tristram Shandy. York was the inspiration for Kate Atkinson’s Behind The Scenes In The Museum, and the town is featured in the work of Wilkie Collins. Today it is the home of novelists Matt Haig, Fiona Shaw, John Baker and Barry Sherwood and poets Abi Curtis and Jack Mapanje. Margaret Drabble and A S Byatt were educated here. Antony Horowitz was a student here. Carol Ann Duffy‘s first performance as poet laureate was in York. York also has links with the Brontës and Charles Dickens.

4. City of York Council currently give in kind support, but no financial assistance, citing budget cuts. We have had no local authority money since March 2009.

5. The festival has run five times since 2007 with writers and speakers such as Carol Ann Duffy, Tracy Chevalier, Tony Benn, Kate Atkinson, Gervase Phinn, Ian McMillan, Paul Torday and more appearing.

6. Total ticket sales in 2012 were £5000 for the first time.

7. York is one of the UK’s top visitor destinations, with an estimated seven million visitors a year.

8. York has an easily navigable town centre with great venues including York Theatre Royal, Grand Opera House, City Screen Cinema, Duchess Music Venue, Guildhall, National Centre for Early Music, Barbican Centre and more.

9. In 2012, visitors to York Literature Festival came from Edinburgh, Newcastle, Sheffield and Hull.

10. The festival mobilises a volunteer team of more than 20 people each year to make the event happen, and has been delivered entirely voluntarily since 2010. We deliver fantastic value for money.

How readers can help

The festival cannot grow and develop if it does not receive assistance. Please help us, and give us a fighting chance.

Send supportive messages to Antonia Byatt, the UK head of literature at the Arts Council. Click here to email Antonia.

And to Stephen May, responsible for literature in Yorkshire. Click here to email Stephen.

Thank you.