Adventurer and author Sir Ranulph Fiennes; broadcaster and awards host Jeremy Paxman and economist Tim Harford spoke at the Ilkley Literature Festival – a two week literary event held in the miniature Victorian spa town at the foot of Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire every October.
Fiennes, the man described by the Guinness Book of Records as ‘the world’s greatest living explorer’ revealed his personal heroes – from polar survivors to MI5 double agents.
Other speakers at the festival included journalists Simon Jenkins and Martin Bell and TV chef Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall.
Ilkley Literature Festival began in 1973, the brainchild of Michael Dawson, first Director of the newly formed Yorkshire Arts Association.
After two years of planning and fund raising, the first Festival was launched by W.H. Auden in April 1973, in one of the poet’s last public appearances.
Over the last thirty five years innumerable famous authors have passed through its doors – from international figures and Nobel prize winners to poets including Ted Hughes.