Four poets. Four days. 47 grisly miles…
A group of writers will be putting on their walking shoes for a literary project with a difference this October as part of the Ilkley Literature Festival. Walking The Line will see Michael Stewart, Julia Deakin, William Thirsk-Gaskell and Gaia Holmes walk the 47 mile journey from Marsden to Ilkley along the route of the Stanza Stones – a sequence of six poems carved into stone, written for the Ilkley Literature Festival by Simon Armitage. Luckily for the poets, the route will be divided into four days worth of walking and will include poetry readings for members of the public and ‘walkshops’ where emerging writers can get constructive feedback on their work in progress along the way.
The idea of the project is to celebrate the achievement of the original Stanza Stones initiative by providing additional opportunities and events to writers and members of the public in rural, isolated areas which are normally overlooked for literary events of this nature. The walk will connect up with a number of local writing groups, including Calderdale Young Writers, Leeds Young Authors and the Ilkley Literature Festival Young Writers as well as other community groups. For those unable to join the walk, points will be set up in cafes and community spaces along the way.
We’re especially delighted that The Reader Organisation has been chosen as the charity the Walking The Line poets will be supporting on their endeavour – the poets will be carrying a sock donated by Simon Armitage, no less, to raise money along the way. Michael Stewart was one of the authors involved in the first year of our Reading in Secure Environments (RISE) project where alongside appearing at the Durham Book Festival he read from his novel King Crow to the women at HMP Low Newton, where TRO runs a Reader-in-Residence project. Michael’s event was one of the many successful, enlightening events that happened as part of the pilot year of RISE, and we’re honoured that our work will be supported by Walking The Line.
The Walking The Line route will launch in Marsden on Thursday 17th October, then continue to Hebden Bridge (Friday 18th) and Bingley (Saturday 19th) before concluding at Ilkley on Sunday 20th October, culminating in the four poets giving an evening performance of their work and an open mic night for members of the public. Full details of readings along the route can be found on the Walking the Line website.