Copyright 2020 Simon Armitage.

How to Apply: H to K Libraries Tour 2024

Touring: March 2024 [dates tba]

Submission deadline: [summer 2023, dates tba]

Does your library’s name or location in the UK (village, town or city, but not street) begin with the letters H, I, J or K? If so, you’re welcome to submit an invitation by [date tbc], asking Simon Armitage to visit during the next Tour: [dates tbc, March 2024].  Full details in the FAQs below.

5-6 libraries across the UK will be selected for the H to K Libraries Tour 2024. We will advise whether your invitation has been successful by [date tbc, autumn].

Simon Armitage plans to give free readings in libraries across the UK during one week each spring, from the flagship libraries of the big cities to smaller or mobile libraries serving rural areas.

“… from A to Z, wherever the invitations take me.”

Using the alphabet as a compass, his ten-year journey will involve local communities, poets and high school students along the way and will celebrate the library as one of our great and necessary institutions.

” The letter X will be interesting – does anywhere in the UK begin with X?  I also want to find a way of including alphabet letters from other languages spoken in these islands such as Welsh, Urdu or Chinese, and to involve communities where English might not be the first language.”

The Poet Laureate launched his decade-long tour in Ashby-de-la-Zouch Library (A to Z in one go, as librarians suggested!) with the A-B Libraries Tour in April 2021. The C-D Libraries Tour took place in March 2022. The E-G Libraries Tour events, March 17-23, are due to be announced on Jan 17, 2023. By summer 2023, Simon Armitage will be looking ahead to the H to K Libraries Tour in March 2024!

For other letters, please check the alphabet compass at the bottom of this webpage. The decade-long Tour is NOT already booked up! A window for invitations will open each summer for the following spring’s tour.  

Can you help?

Does your library’s name or location (village, town or city but not street) begin with the letters H, I, J, or K? 

Invitations can be made by public libraries, CMLs or any other kind of library in the UK willing to throw open its doors for the occasion, such as private or independent libraries or those in prisons, hospitals, schools or cathedrals. Small libraries are eligible for celebration.

“My experience of reading and writing began in the village library where I grew up, then in the nearby town library, then in libraries at various places of study and teaching.”

If your library is a mobile library or home library service, then you will need to be creative about hosting an event. However, please get in touch if you’ve got a good idea!

Here, Simon Armitage speaks in Autumn 2019 – before the pandemic – about his hopes for the decade-long Laureate’s Library Tour. Full details of how to make an invitation follow below. 



Q1. What is Simon Armitage offering?

Simon Armitage hopes that the Laureate’s Library Tour events will be celebratory in nature. As a latter-day troubadour, he is offering to give a poetry reading in the library itself. Simon (rather the library) will invite a guest poet of his choice to perform alongside him during the one hour event. Previously, his guests have included well-published poets, local Poet Laureates and Foyle Young Poet winners in the area.  

Simon Armitage would like to encourage libraries to find a way of including local community groups, high school students (age advisory 11+) and/or readers’ and writers’ groups in activities around the visit and in the audience.

He is also keen to hear from libraries that wish to celebrate alphabets from other languages spoken in the UK and communities where English may not be the first language.

The plan is for events held live and in-person in the library with a live in-library audience. That is, no live-streaming as during the pandemic.

Q2. What equipment is required for a poetry reading?  
  • a lectern + fixed stand-up microphone
  • if your library venue is sizeable then a roving mic or two will be required to facilitate audience Q&A
  • a table beside the lectern which has space for water for each speaker and room for a speaker’s spare books to rest during their performance. 

“Thank you for understanding our working environment. It means so much to us in libraries when people support our work, and you’ve made the process as painless as possible. […] – there was a terrific energy on the night.”

Q3. What about the stage area?

The event should take place live inside the library, even if other local venues are bigger. The exception might be if the library is part of a community set-up which includes a hall. The aim of the tour is to bring audiences into libraries wherever possible though, not the nearby church or town hall. 

The ‘stage’ area can be very simple, but it:

  • will need enough room for a lectern, stand-up microphone & PA speakers.
  • should be reasonably quiet, especially  if nearby windows need to be open and traffic noise could be an issue.
  • should avoid a backdrop of large windows which may turn the performers into silhouettes or introduce distractions behind them, e.g. passers-by, traffic, lights at night, etc. Of course, bookshelves are just fine as background but some of our hosts have had a lot of fun adding bunting, pot plants or other creative touches.
Q4. What about finance?
There will be no charge to your Library for Simon Armitage’s or the guest poets’ performance fees, travel expenses or any hotel costs that may be necessary.
Your proposed event for the Laureate Library’s Tour should be free to the in-library audience to help make it accessible to everyone. If in-library space is limited, you may wish to propose a specific live audience (e.g. pre-invited community groups taking part in a project to celebrate the library) although this can have drawback if other library users feel excluded. 
Projects are welcome around the visit are welcome, but just to note that the Tour’s funds will not stretch as far as Simon Armitage or the guest poet(s) providing extra time to judge poetry or art competitions or offer writing workshops. 
The Laureate’s Library Tour is supported by the T. S. Eliot Foundation and Simon Armitage’s long-time publishers Faber & Faber. The first two annual legs of the Tour were also kindly funded using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The C-D Libraries Tour and E-G Libraries Tour received further support from Mark Pigott, KBE.  
Q5. We’re eligible for the H to K Tour, so how do we make an invitation?

A submission window is opened each summer [2023 dates tba] on this webpage. Notification is sent out through a variety of library and arts organisations and posted on Simon Armitage’s Instagram. Usually the submission window is open for 4-6 weeks. 

When making an email-invitation, please say:

  • why would you like Simon Armitage to come and celebrate YOUR library?
  • what are your ideas for the event (bearing in mind the audience advisory age 11+)?
  • do you plan any projects before or after the event? 
  • what is your preferred day of the week during the Tour for a visit – [March 2024 dates tba]
  • are you thinking of a day-time or evening event? 
  • where is the nearest parking?
  • where in the library are you thinking of staging the event? 
  • roughly how many people you can seat in the audience with and without Covid safe-distancing? Small libraries are definitely eligible. 
  • can you provide an extra lectern and/or PA if necessary?

Please email your invitation by [date tba, 2023] at the very latest to 

5-6 libraries across the UK will be selected for the H to K Libraries Tour 2024. We will advise whether your invitation has been successful by [date tba].

Thank you for your interest!

Q6. What if our library’s name or location does not begin with the letters H, I, J or K?
Please check the alphabet chart below to find out when Simon Armitage could be coming your way. The decade is NOT already booked up! A window for invitations will open each summer for the following spring’s tour.  The timing of this window may vary because of funding application schedules. 

If a library’s name or location begins withSpring Tour Dates
Latin alphabetWelsh Letters5-6 libraries/year
2020 (postponed by Covid)
A, B Apr 26 - May 1, 2021
C, DCh, DdMar 26 - Apr 2, 2022
E, F, GFf, Ng2023
H, I , J, K 2024
L, MLl2025
N, O, P 2026
Q, R, SPh, Rh2027
T, U, VTh2028
W, X, Y, Z 2029




Literary Agent
DGA (David Godwin Associates)
2nd floor, 40 Rosebery Avenue,
0207 240 9992
To enquire:

Media Enquiries
Kirsty McLachlan
Morgan Green Creatives Ltd

To Book a Poetry Reading
The Hawkridge Agency

Anya Backlund
Blue Flower Arts, LLC
PO Box 461,
MA 01061
845 - 677 - 8559
mobile 619-944-9247
fax 845-677-6446


Poet Laureate