Copyright 2020 Simon Armitage.

Apply – E to G Libraries Tour 2023

Touring Spring 2023 (dates tbc)

Submission window: summer 2021 (dates tbc)

Does your library’s name or location (e.g. village, town, city) begin with the letters E, F, G or Welsh Ff or Ng? For other letters, please check the alphabet compass at the bottom of this webpage.

Simon Armitage plans to give readings in libraries across the UK during a 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 in April 2021 during the A-B Libraries Tour. The C-Dd Libraries Tour took place in March 2022.

Now he is looking ahead to the E to G Libraries Tour in Spring 2023 (dates tbc).

Can you help?

Does your library’s name or location (e.g. village, town, city) begin with the letters E, F, G or Welsh Ff or Ng? If so, please read on. For other letters, please check the alphabet compass at the bottom of this webpage to find out when Simon Armitage could be coming your way during the decade.

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

“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, home library service or community library in a phone box, then you will need to be creative about hosting a safe event and consider the internet question 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. Usually he invites a guest poet to perform too during the one hour event. Previously, his guests associated with the areas 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 and/or writers’ groups in activities around the visit and in the audience.

He is also keen to hear from libraries that can 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 audience on site inside the library but also live-streamed for an online audience. If Covid-safety guidance in the home nations in Spring 2023 prevents a live and in-person audience attending on site, then live-streaming only is likely to remain permissible (as it did for the A-B Libraries Tour in 2021). Full guidance is given by the Tour throughout this process.  

Q2. What equipment and internet access is required?  

Simon Armitage will tour with 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 and 10Mbps upload speed
  • No port restrictions or that TCP ports 1025-65535 be open.
  • the traffic-type is RTMP, so this needs to be allowable on your networks, whether they are your own or managed by the council or university or similar. The RTMP question is crucial since we are using 2 cameras and Wirecast via Crowdcast’s RTMP Studio. This is NOT the same as delivering an event via the so-called browser or green room version of Crowdcast.  
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 here’s what 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.”
“[staff] felt they were in very safe hands”
“It was lovely to have something happening in the library at last!”
Q3. What about the stage area and access?

The event must take place inside the library, even if the other local venues are bigger. The stage area needs to have room for 2 safe-distanced stand-up microphones (which the crew will bring) and PA speakers.

The stage does not need risers because anything more than 1 foot higher than the audience’s floor area will create problems for the cameras’ height/line of sight.

Ventilation is a relevant Covid-safety measure but the stage backdrop should avoid large windows, which can turn performers into silhouettes or introduce distractions behind them, e.g. traffic, passers-by, lights at night, etc. Of course, bookshelves are just fine as background but some of our hosts also had a lot of fun adding bunting, pot plants or other creative touches. 

Behind the audience seating, the 1-2 person crew will need room to position the two cameras on tripods, a non-wobbly table (minimum 1m x 1m), 2 easy-clean chairs and a set-down area for their gear (2mx2m). 

Is there parking near your library so that the crew can unload the van?

Q4. What about finance?

There will be no charge to you or your Library for technical support, performance fees, travel expenses or any accommodation costs that may be necessary.
Your proposed event for the Laureate Library’s Tour should be free to the audience to help make it accessible to everyone.
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 was also kindly funded using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The C-Dd Libraries Tour also received generous funding from Mark Pigott, KBE.  
Q5. How does our library make an invitation?

A month-long submission window is opened each summer (dates & deadline tbc). Notification is sent out through a variety of library and arts organisations. 

When making an email-invitation to Simon Armitage, please say:

  • why would you like Simon Armitage to come and celebrate YOUR library?
  • what are your ideas for your 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 [dates tbc] 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 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 [deadline tbc] at the very latest to 

5-6 libraries across the UK will be selected for the E to G Libraries Tour 2023. 

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. Instead, 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 Letters7-8 libraries/year
2020 (postponed by Covid)
A, B Apr 26 - May 1, 2021
C, DCh, DdMar 28 - 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