York is one of the most distinguished and historic cities in the world and has a rich literary and cultural inheritance.
W. H. Auden, Andrew Martin and Kate Atkinson were born here. The Brontë sisters, Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins were regular visitors to the city, and Collins set part of his novel ‘No Name’ in York. Daniel Defoe’s world famous character Robinson Crusoe was from York. The first two volumes of Sterne’s Tristram Shandy were printed in Stonegate. Margaret Drabble and A. S. Byatt went to The Mount School, as did Judi Dench, another native. Authors who have made York their home include John Baker, Fiona Shaw, Pamela Hartshorne and Kate Lock.
York Literature Festival began in 2007, and has grown steadily since then. Each year the festival features a range of diverse events for adults and children at venues all over the city. The programme includes author and speaker events, performances, workshops, poetry, theatre, cinema, reading groups, and any relevant literature-related artistic activity. Contributors to the Festival since 2007 include internationally respected names such as Simon Armitage, Kate Atkinson, Tony Benn and Roy Bailey, Martin Carthy, Tracy Chevalier, Jim Crace, Carol Ann Duffy, Germaine Greer, Alan Johnson, Joanne Harris, John Humphrys, Glyn Maxwell, Roger McGough, Jon McGregor, Ian McMillan, Andrew Motion, Peter Robinson, Will Self, Diane Setterfield, Professor Robert Winston, Amanda Vickery, Dame Jenni Murray, Dr David Starkey, Polly Toynbee and John Hegley.
The York Literature Festival continues to build upon its successes since 2007. The event contributes to the cultural life of York and the surrounding area, and thrives on the goodwill and participation of many local groups, organisations and individuals, and showcases the work of many local up and coming writers.