Recession busting festival to use Ted to inspire children

ORGANISERS of a major literature festival are hoping to inspire a new generation of poets, while promoting the works of one of the upper Calder Valley’s most famous sons.

The 2011 Ted Hughes Festival, organised by The Elmet Trust, takes place around Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge from Friday, October 21 to Sunday, October 23 and has “an incredibly exciting line up for children this year”.

One of the festival organisers, Jeni Wetton, said: “Many people don’t realise how much Ted wrote for children and how seriously he took their literature.

“By providing such wonderful writers and storytellers for the children at this year’s festival we hope to honour this aspect of Ted Hughes’ legacy and stimulate the next generation of writers.

“To this end we have kept ticket prices very low for this ‘recession busting’ festival with two of the children’s events absolutely free. We want all the children in the Calder Valley to grow up with a sense of what a remarkable literary legacy surrounds them and aid them to see the beauty in the moors, rivers and woods that they are growing up with. Who knows one day we may have another poet laureate from the valley.”

Anne Fine, a distinguished writer for both adults and children, will top the bill as she presents prizes to the winners of the Ted Hughes Young Poet’s Award in the Ted Hughes’ Theatre, at Calder High School, Mytholmroyd, from 7pm on Friday, October 21.

Anne, who has twice won one of Britain’s most coveted award for children’s literature - the Carnegie Medal - will also read from her own work.

Anne said “I’m delighted to be coming back to lovely, lively Hebden Bridge to be part of The Elmet Trust’s splendidly valuable and remarkably varied contribution to encouraging creativity.

“Nothing is more important than helping young people see the possibilities within themselves and all around. The arts deepen understanding, encourage self-knowledge, widen experience and enrich all our lives.”

Mark Hinchliffe, poet and one of the festival directors, hopes that by promoting Ted’s work locally it “will inspire younger people who live in the valley to live more actively and creatively”, and that is something echoed by Hebden Bridge-based storyteller, Ursula Holden Gill, who will lead a storytelling walk entitled “Gnoming in Nutclough” on Sunday, October 23.

Children’s writer Margaret McAllister, author of over 20 books for children, including The Mistmantle Chronicles, the Hammy, the Wonder Hamster series and many titles for the Oxford Treetops series, will also be attending this year’s festival. On Saturday, October 22 she will be Spinning Stories for children at 10am in Mytholmroyd Library.