Todmorden Book Festival celebrates the written word, with book-related events that stimulate, inspire and challenge audiences. The programme focuses on the work of new and established writers from across the region and the UK, as well as the work of international authors, with fiction, non-fiction and poetry events for adults and children, reflecting the rich industrial and cultural heritage of the region and exploring individual and collective stories.
It’s an absolute joy to welcome you to the first ever Todmorden Book Festival. It was such an honour when, last year, I got an email asking if I’d consider coming over to Todmorden to have a meeting about becoming the patron of a new festival that was then just an idea rather than this solid object of words and ideas that you hold in your hand now. I was shown around the town as though I were a minor royal and, even though it’s a town I’ve been to before, I began to see things in a new way.
The way the landscape intersects with the industrial, how waterways and roads run alongside and underneath each other, how everyone, in every place, wanted to talk, and swap stories. That’s what we’re here to do, swap stories, to continue to build a sense of ourselves, our home, our being, by telling the stories of what made us, and where we think we’re going. Stories of being on the doorstep of the natural world, stories of industrial rise and decline and regeneration, stories of what it’s like to be a border town, Yorkshire and Lancashire folding out like pages from either side of a Todmorden spine.
So come and join us, get on the train or the bus or just walk down the street and then come back next year, and the next year, and bring your kids, and your grandkids, walk down every street in Todmorden as I did that day I came to meet the festival team; look at the familiar as though you’re seeing it for the first time, and then write about it.