The Laureate’s Library Tour
STOP PRESS: The A-B Libraries Tour of March 2020 remains postponed by COVID-19. Invitations for the C-Dd Libraries Tour will open when circumstances allow.
In 2019, the Poet Laureate announced his ten-year tour of the UK’s libraries. Over a week in each spring for the next decade, Simon Armitage plans to give readings in libraries across the UK, from the flagship libraries of the big cities to smaller or mobile libraries serving rural areas. Using the alphabet as a guide, the journey will involve local communities, poets and students at each stop along the way, and will celebrate the library as one of our great and necessary institutions.
“From A to Z, wherever invitations and opportunities take me.”
Can you help?
“Does your library’s name or location begin with the letters C, D or Welsh Ch or Dd?”
Simon Armitage will use the alphabet to navigate from year to year. So, if your library’s name or location begins with the letters C, D or the Welsh Ch or DD, please do revisit this page when circumstances allow gatherings in libraries to resume and invitations to re-open for the Tour.
For other letters, please check the alphabet chart at the end below to find out when Simon Armitage could be coming your way in due course.
“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.”
Invitations can be made from public libraries or any other kind of library in the UK willing to throw open its doors to the public for the occasion, including private or independent libraries or those in schools, universities, prisons or hospitals.
If your library is a mobile library, a home library service or a book swap in a railway station, parish hall or phone box, then you will need to be creative about hosting a poetry reading. However, please don’t let that stop you suggesting a visit and event when invitations open again.
Poet laureate Simon Armitage announces a ten-year tour of the UK's libraries. Invite him to your library here: simonarmitage.com/the-laureates-library-tour/
Posted by Faber Books on Wednesday, 6 November 2019
1. 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 one hour poetry reading which includes audience Q&A. In addition, Simon may invite a guest poet to perform on a given occasion.
There will be no charge to you or your Library for the performances by Simon Armitage (or the guest poet) or for travel expenses and any accommodation costs that may be necessary.
The Tour is supported by the T. S. Eliot Estate, who are kindly funding the tour for the full ten years, and Simon Armitage’s long-time publishers Faber & Faber. Along the way, Simon will donate copies to the libraries of his poetry collection, Magnetic Field, which gathers together his poems on Marsden, the village where he grew up and began life as a writer.
“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.”
Your proposed event for the Laureate Library’s Tour can be free to the public or make a charge, but ticket pricing should aim to make the event as accessible to everyone as possible.
2. How does our library make an invitation?
Invitations for the C-Dd Libraries Tour will re-open when circumstances allow. The submission window will be a month or two. If you want to start planning your invitation, you may wish to think about the following questions:
- why you would like Simon Armitage to come and celebrate your library
- your ideas for the event that you wish to host
- whether you are thinking of a day-time or evening event
- your preferred day of the week
- how many people you can seat (small libraries are eligible!)
- whether you can provide a lectern and stand-up microphone if necessary
Simon Armitage would like to encourage libraries to find a way of including local high schools or poetry groups. He is also keen to hear from libraries that celebrate alphabets from other languages spoken in the UK and communities where English may not be the first language.
3. What if our library’s name or location does not begin with the letters C, D or Welsh Ch or Dd?
“Using the alphabet as the ‘spine’ of the decade-long Laureate’s Library Tour, I intend to pick off two or three letters a year.”
Please check the alphabet chart below to find out when Simon Armitage could be coming your way.
“An alphabet is the DNA of language and gives us the basic building blocks of all literature.”
|Navigating UK libraries by alphabet|
(using the library's name or location)
|Spring Tour Dates |
(5 - 7 UK libraries/year)
|A, B||March 16-20, 2020|
|C, D||Spring 2021|
|E, F, G||2022|
|H, I, J||2023|
|O, P, Q||2026|
|T, U, V||2028|
|W, X, Y, Z||2029|