Copyright 2024 Simon Armitage.

How to Book: E to G Libraries Tour 2023

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage embarks on a new leg of his ten-year tour of the UK’s libraries

‘I want to celebrate the physical space of libraries and take my work back into places that have given me so much.’

Each spring this decade, Simon Armitage will give readings across the UK, from the flagship libraries of the big cities to smaller libraries serving rural and remote communities. Using the alphabet as a compass, his journey will celebrate the library as one of the great and necessary institutions.

Join Simon Armitage and guests for a series of free events live in libraries in March 2023. 

‘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. For many people they are an invaluable aspect of everyday life, giving access not just to books but to services, learning, conversation and creative thinking. I want to pay my respects to these unique institutions. By planning readings up to a decade in advance I’m being optimistic about the future of our libraries, and challenging those authorities who would consider closing them down.

It would have been easy to stream these events from my office or garden shed, but at a time when libraries are under threat and have been out of bounds during the pandemic, reading from inside their physical structures feels like an act of solidarity –  with books, with poetry, and with communities.’

E to G Libraries Tour : March 17 – 23

Free but booking is essential. 
Live in-library events only. 

Friday, March 17 

20.00-21.00 – Exeter Library, Castle St, Exeter, Devon, EX4 3PQ

Launch the Tour with ‘ambient post-rock’ band Land Yacht Regatta (LYR): Simon Armitage, Patrick Pearson & Richard Walters! A genre-splicing supergroup of sorts, LYR sets Armitage’s spoken word to intense, atmospheric musical arrangements by singer-songwriter Richard Walters and multi-instrumentalist Patrick Pearson. Opener: winner of the Exeter Library’s Power of Words young poet commission (13-19). Hosted by Libraries Unlimited. 

    • Booking is essential: for free tickets please click here or ask at Exeter Library’s main desk. Fully booked.
    • Age 11+ (poetry can contain strong language)

Monday, March 20

13.30-14.30 – Glastonbury Library, 1 Orchard Court, Glastonbury, Somerset BA6 9JB

Birds of a feather: celebrate libraries with the poetry of birds. Simon Armitage reads with Jane Lovell, winner of the Rialto/RSPB Nature & Place Competition 2022 and Gingko Prize 2021. Hosted by Somerset Libraries. 

    • Booking is essential: for free tickets, please drop by Glastonbury Library. Fully booked.
    • Age 11+ (poetry can contain strong language)

Tuesday, March 21

19.00-20.00, Eastbourne Library, Grove Rd, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 4TL

Celebrate libraries with Simon Armitage, who will read solo from a range of his work and answers questions from the audience. Hosted by East Sussex Libraries. 

    • Booking is essential: for free tickets please click here  Fully booked.
    • Age 11+ (poetry can contain strong language)

Wednesday, March 22

13.00-14.00 – Fakenham LibraryOak St, Fakenham, Norfolk NR21 9DY

Celebrate libraries with Simon Armitage, who will read with Matt Howard, whose first full collection, Gall (The Rialto) won the 2018 East Anglian Book Award for Poetry and Best First Collection in the inaugural Laurel Prize 2020, and Jenna Hunt from Great Yarmouth, Top 15 winner of Foyle Young Poets in 2021 and 2022. Hosted by Fakenham Library Friends and Norfolk Library and Information Service.

    • Booking is essential: for free tickets, please visit the library or ring 01328 862715 during staffed times only, i.e. Mon, Tues, Thurs 10 – 7, Friday 2 – 7, Sat 10 – 4. Fully booked, with waiting list.
    • Age 11+ (poetry can contain strong language)

Note: although there is an email address on the Fakenham Library webpage, visiting the library or ringing during staffed periods is the best way to ensure timely booking because there is likely to be a delay via email. The number of seats is limited. Thank you.

Thursday, March 23

14.00-15.00 – Gladstone’s LibraryChurch Lane, Hawarden, Flintshire CH5 3DF

Celebrate libraries with the poetry of place: Simon Armitage reads with  Hanan Issa, Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru / National Poet of Wales, in the UK’s only Prime Ministerial library and a unique residential library.

    • Booking is essential: tickets released mid-morning Fri, Jan 20, please click here  Fully booked, but reserve list available.
    • Age 11+ (poetry can contain strong language)

19.00-20.00, Ellesmere Port Library, Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire CH65 0BG 

For the finale, Simon Armitage reads with Roy McFarlane, national Canal Laureate, and Patrick Gambles and Mia Kellett representing the local groups for young creatives run by Theatre Porto and Boaty Theatre Company respectively. Hosted by Cheshire West and Chester Council Libraries. 

    • Booking is essential: for free tickets please click here  Fully booked.
    • Age 11+ (poetry can contain strong language)

Support: The E to G Libraries Tour is kindly supported by the T. S. Eliot Foundation, Mark Pigott KBE and Faber & Faber. We are grateful to our hosts at each of the libraries on this Tour for making possible this celebration of libraries.


Literary Agent
Kirsty McLachlan
Morgan Green Creatives Ltd

To Book a Poetry Reading
Caroline Hawkridge
The Hawkridge Agency

Anya Backlund
Blue Flower Arts, LLC

To Book LYR
Alex Zinovieff

Other enquiries