Win tickets to Little Frankenstein at this year’s Ilkley LitFest

Parents! If there is one event your little one MUST  attend at this year’s Ilkley Literature Festival, it is Lempen Puppet Theatre Company’s Little Frankenstein.

As official reviewer of the festival, the Pickled Egg has seen a number of Lempen Productions, each one of them absolutely spell binding – and this one promises to be a belter.

We have TWO FREE tickets up for grabs for this production (Saturday, Oct 11 at 5pm-6pm) but hurry! Entries must be in by Oct 1.

All you have to do to win the golden tickets, is tweet us a picture of your child reading a book written by one of this year’s children’s authors: Caryl Hart, Yasmeen Ismail, Petr Horacek, Kjartan Poskitt, Michale Morpurgo etc.

We will choose a winner and post the photograph on this site.

Little Frankenstein tells the story of a semi famous puppeteer called Frank Stein who has had enough of his badly made puppets. He’ll never be really famous because his puppets keep falling apart. Taking inspiration from scientist Doctor Frankenstein, and will a little help from the audience, he creates a new real live puppet that is destined to change his life forever……

Tweet us at The_Pickled_Egg including @ilkleylitfest #puppetcomp in your tweet.

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Rodolfo reveals his top five of the fest!

Hurry folks! There are still some juicy tickets left for this year’s Ilkley Literature Festival events but don’t leave it too late or you will definitely regret it!

We have been bringing you the top five festival events from reviewers, the Grove Bookshop and festival organisers. This week Rodolfo Barradas, Festival Assistant and Fringe Coordinator, picks his top 5 events from the programme:

Young Engima
Sunday 5 October, 5pm, Ilkley Playhouse, £5/3
A showcase of Black and Asian writers who indentify as LGBT+, I’m really excited to hear from some of the most talented and inspiring young writers working in the North.

Kirsty Wark: The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle
Sunday 12 October, 1.30pm, Kings Hall, £12/10
Not only is she one of our most respected journalists and broadcasters, but Kirsty Wark’s debut novel is a wonderful piece of fiction and I can’t wait to hear about her influences.

Bryan and Mary Talbot
Sunday 12 October, 4.30pm, Ilkley Playhouse, £6/4
I am a big fan of graphic novels and the Talbots are at the forefront of their move into the mainstream so it’s very exciting to be welcoming them to the Festival and learn more about how they create their award winning books.

The Disappearance Boy: Neil Bartlett
Tuesday 14 October, 7.30pm, Ilkley Playhouse, £6/4
Neil Bartlett’s latest novel transports you into the heart of 1950′s variety theatre -  a vivid and exciting world that I absolutely loved reading about.

Publish or Be Damned: Publishing By and For Muslims
Sunday 19 October, 6.30pm, St Margaret’s Hall, £5/3
The publishing of books by and for Muslims is an area I know very little about, but I am fascinated to learn more.
Book online at
Box Office: 01943 816 714 (Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm, Sat 10am – 1pm Sat)

Illustrator Jason Cockroft on ‘The true magic of storytelling’

Where would we be without the wonder of picture books? As Ilkley Literature Festival prepares for its opening exhibition: Dinosaurs, Trolls and Dunderheads, based on the work of award-winning illustrator David Robers, we asked  Leeds-based illustrator  Jason Cockroft to share his views on the importance of reading to young children.

“So what is your earliest memory? Don’t worry, it’s not a trick question. Think back. It might be the memory of a first pet, or that hour you spent lost in a supermarket, the tumble in the park that left the small insistent scar on your knee. Or it might be something less fixed, less concrete, an altogether more elusive memory.

It might be a voice, for instance, or a series of voices. The voices your mother or your father adopted when reading you your favourite book as a child. One of those memories that surprise you. One you don’t know you have until you open that same book as an adult when it’s your turn to read to your own children, and you find yourself imitating the familiar, heartening voices heard in youth. Because, of course, you know how Huck Finn really sounds, you know Gandalf’s gruff voice, Moominmamma’s soft encouraging tone.

You couldn’t mistake it. You know because you grew up with these voices. And they all sound like your mother or your father. Remember?  

Anyone who watches the TV news understands the academic importance of reading to our children, but for a moment let’s forget about the material benefits, and remember the simple wonder of it all. The true magic of storytelling.

In the past, it may have been The Tiger Who Came To Tea or Winnie the Pooh. My own memory is my grandfather reading The Wind In The Willows to me. My sister’s rather more unconventional start in books was our father reading excerpts from The Encyclopaedia of American Crime (But that’s – literally – a whole different story!).

Now children – and their parents – are overwhelmed with a variety of extraordinary picture books to entertain and bedazzle and soothe. Julia Donaldson’s Gruffalo. Yasmeen Ismail’s adorable Specs for Rex. Lauren Child’s Charlie and Lola. Emily Gravett’s Wolves. And none of these books would be as seductive without the wonderful illustrations that accompany them.

As Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, ‘-what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice, ‘without pictures or conversations?’ We could as easily say, without a voice to guide us and remain with us, as we give voice now to those same beloved characters for our own children, continuing those stories for a new generation.         

 So think again – what is your earliest memory? There’s a good chance it’s a voice as familiar as that of your ma or pa.”

(Jason Cockcroft is a writer, illustrator and daydreamer. His new book, ‘Katie McGinty Wants A Pet’, published by Little Tiger, will be out next spring.)

Poet in Residence picks up the pace at this year’s festival

Introducing Kim Moore! – Ilkley Literature Festival’s Poet in Residence.

Kim promises to add a new dimension to the festival and will be involved in all sorts of poetic shenanigans from mixing words to music to literally giving poetry fans a run for their money! (up Ilkley Moor to be precise!) Here she tells us why poetry is such an important form of communication.

“I’m really looking forward to being Poet in Residence at Ilkley Literature Festival this year.  Being a Poet in Residence is basically a dream job for me – and I’m aiming to spend my time at the festival going to events, reading, talking and writing poetry.

One of the most enjoyable things about applying for the post was coming up with ideas for the residency.  I wrote down a whole list of possible events, thinking that the lovely Rachel Feldburg, the Director of Ilkley Literature Festival would ignore the difficult-to-organise ideas.  But she has been brilliant – so I will now be reading alongside Haworth Brass Band which I’m really excited about. 

I’m also leading a group of workshop participants on a five mile run up on to Ilkley Moor. When we get back I will then run a workshop about writing about the body.  Rachel has been really supportive of everything I’ve wanted to do at the festival and I’m full of admiration for the organisation levels required to put something like this together.

Poetry is exciting because it doesn’t matter if you hear a good poem twice, or three times, or four times.  For someone who gets bored really easily, that is so important!

In my ‘other’ life, I work as a part time peripatetic brass teacher for Cumbria Music Service.  I travel round to different schools teaching whole classes, small groups and individuals. 

I also conduct two brass bands, the ‘Barrow Shipyard Junior Band’ which has 38 members, and ‘Brasstastic’ – a primary school beginner band with about 15 members.  I play the trumpet in a soul band called ‘Soul Survivors’ and in the South Lakes Brass Ensemble.  My other hobby is running which I absolutely love and I try and run at least every other day.

So three days a week I have my ‘brass teacher’ hat on and for the other two days I have my ‘poet’ hat on, which involves hopefully writing poetry but also reading, writing reviews, articles and running a weekly Young Writers workshop for the Wordsworth Trust. 

Ilkley based illustrator tweets top three speakers at Lit Fest

Ok so we asked the the wonderfully talented Jason Cockcroft (who illustrated one of the Harry Potter books among many others) to tweet us his top three authors at the year’s Ilkley Literature Festival.

Above is his reply. That man has good taste!


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