Copyright 2024 Simon Armitage.

How to Apply – E to G Libraries Tour 2023

Touring: Mon-Sat, March 20-25

Submission deadline: August 19, 2022

Does your library’s name or location in the UK (village, town or city, but not street) begin with the letters E, F, G or Welsh Ff or Ng? If so, you’re welcome to submit an invitation by August 19, asking Simon Armitage to visit during the next Tour: Mon-Sat, March 20-25, 2023.  Full details in the FAQs below.

5-6 libraries across the UK will be selected for the E to G Libraries Tour 2023. We will advise whether your invitation has been successful by mid-September.

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.

Now Simon Armitage is looking ahead to the E to G Libraries Tour next March!

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 E, F, G or Welsh Ff or Ng? 

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 schools, universities, prisons, hospitals 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 and consider the internet connection questions below. 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 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. Usually he invites a local guest poet 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.  

Simon Armitage would like to encourage libraries to find a way of including local community groups, high school students (age advisory 11+) and/or 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 hybrid events, i.e. events held live and in-person with a live in-library audience but also live-streamed by Simon Armitage’s crew for an online audience. However, please feel free to make an invitation if hybrid events are not possible because, for example, you are writing on behalf of a prison library. 

Q2. What equipment and internet access is required?  

Simon Armitage will tour with a 1-2 person crew and the necessary gear to live-stream the event for you via Wirecast/Crowdcast if third party internet access is feasible in your library. Please let us know what will work at your end:  

  • A wired connection into your router / network is preferable although a wireless / Wifi connection can suffice.
  • Minimum 10Mbps download speed and 10Mbps upload speed
  • No port restrictions or that TCP ports 1025-65535 be open.
  • The traffic-type is RTMP, so this must be allowable on your library’s internet connections, be they your own or managed as part of a network by the council, university or similar.
  • Our RTMP question is crucial since we use 2 cameras, Wirecast editing software and live-stream via Crowdcast’s RTMP Studio. Your IT colleague may find it helpful to know that this filming process is NOT the same as delivering an event via a camera on a laptop or smart phone via Crowdcast’s green room or browser version (which doesn’t involve RTMP traffic). Therefore a trial run in the library with a laptop or smart phone via Crowdcast will not be a true test. 
  • Occasionally, a library’s IT colleagues advise that they need to know the url. In that case, please get in touch via because we can supply the necessary information to enable them to check feasibility before you make your invitation. 
In addition, please let us know if you can provide a lectern and PA. This is not essential but could help if Simon Armitage visits locations requiring air freight from Manchester. The crew will bring the necessary microphones and cameras.  
This may sound complicated but we will help you prepare. Here’s what our previous hosts have said:
“Huw & Martin [tech] were so professional, and easy to work with. They made it easy to relax and enjoy the event.”
“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 and access?

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. Is there reasonable parking nearby so that the crew can unload the van?

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

  • will need enough room for 2 safe-distanced stand-up microphones  & PA speakers.
  • should be reasonably quiet, especially  if nearby windows need to be open for Covid-safety ventilation.
  • should not be a raised area. If the stage is more than 1 foot higher than the audience’s floor area, it will create problems for the height of the 2 cameras and their lines of sight.
  • 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 had a lot of fun adding bunting, pot plants or other creative touches.

Behind the audience seating, Simon’s 1-2 person crew will need:

  • room to position two cameras on tripods.
  • a non-wobbly table (minimum 1m x 1m) and 2 easy-clean chairs

They will also need a nearby set-down area (2m x 2m) for their cases of gear.

Q4. What about finance?
There will be no charge to your Library for technical support, the 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. Live viewing online via Crowdcast will be free too. If in-library space is limited, you may wish to propose a specific live audience, e.g. pre-invited students only or the community group taking part in a project to celebrate the library.  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 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 received further support from Mark Pigott, KBE.  Final finance for the E to G Libraries Tour is pending a grant application. 
Q5. We’re eligible for the E to G Tour, so how do we make an invitation?

A submission window is opened each summer. Notification is sent out through a variety of library and arts organisations and posted on Simon Armitage’s Instagram. The current deadline for E, F, G, Ff or Ng invitations is August 19, 2022.

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 – March 20-25, 2023 – for a visit?
  • are you thinking of a day-time or evening event? 
  • where is the nearest parking for the Tour van?
  • where in the library are you thinking of staging the event? 
  • roughly how many people you can seat in the audience with and without safe-distancing? Small libraries are definitely eligible thanks to the live-streaming. 
  • what type of internet connection your library can offer (please see technical requirements in Q2 above)?
  • can you provide an extra lectern and/or PA if necessary? 

Please email your invitation by August 19, 2023 at the very latest to 

5-6 libraries across the UK will be selected for the E to G Libraries Tour 2023. We will advise whether your invitation has been successful by mid-September.

Thank you for your interest!

Q6. What if our library’s name or location does not begin with the letters E, F, G or Welsh Ff or Ng?
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 libraries/year
2020 (postponed by Covid)
A, B Apr 26 - May 1, 2021
C, DCh, DdMar 26 - Apr 2, 2022
E, F, GFf, NgMar 17 - 23, 2023
H, I , J, K Mar 8 - 15, 2024
L, MLl2025
N, O, P 2026
Q, R, SPh, Rh2027
T, U, VTh2028
W, X, Y, Z 2029




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