Copyright 2019 Simon Armitage.

The Laureate’s Library Tour


“From A to Z, wherever invitations and opportunities take me.”

The Poet Laureate has announced his ten-year tour of the UK’s libraries.  Over a week in each spring for the next decade, Simon Armitage will 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.

Can you help?

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 we will need to be creative about the poetry reading but please don’t let that stop you suggesting a visit and event.

“Does your library’s name or location begin with the letters A or B?”

Simon Armitage will use the alphabet to navigate from year to year.  So, if your library’s name or location begins with the letters A or B, do get in touch if you would like him to help celebrate your library during the A-B Libraries Tour in 2020. This will take place during the week Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 20 inclusive. 

If your library’s name or location starts with C or D, then you may be interested in the Spring 2021 Tour when invitations open for that (later in 2020). And so on.

Please check the alphabet chart at the end below to find out when Simon Armitage could be coming your way.

“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.”

Again, do get in touch with your suggestions.

Poet laureate Simon Armitage announces a ten-year tour of the UK's libraries. Invite him to your library here:

Posted by Faber & Faber 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 will invite a guest poet to perform on each occasion.

There will be no charge to you or your Library for the performances by Simon Armitage or the guest poet, or for their 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 of a new collection, Magnetic Field, to be published for the beginning of the tour, 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? 

If your library’s name or location begins with the letters A or B and you would like to suggest an event during the first Tour, March 16-20th, then please send an invitation to Simon Armitage via 

Please tell us:

  • who you are and 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 date(s) during the Tour week March 16-20th, 2020 inclusive.  

Simon Armitage would like to encourage libraries to find a way of including local high schools or poetry groups as part of the run-up to the event or event itself. 

There is no formal deadline. If you are reading this, then invitations for March 16-20th, 2020 are still open. Just to note: the A-B Libraries Tour will only take place during that week in March. 

3. How will the 5, 6 or 7 libraries chosen for the A-B Libraries Tour in March 2020 be announced?

The libraries will be announced on Simon Armitage’s Events webpage when the libraries concerned announce their booking information.  

4. What if our library’s name or location does not begin with the letters A or B?

“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. The C-D Libraries Tour will take place in Spring 2021. Invitations for that will open later in 2020  — and so on.

If your library begins with, for example, a Welsh letter, do let Simon know when the time comes. 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.

“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, BMarch 16-20, 2020
C, DSpring 2021
E, F, G2022
H, I, J2023
K, L2024
M, N2025
O, P, Q2026
R, S2027
T, U, V2028
W, X, Y, Z2029




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