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Monday 14 October – Monday 21 October 2019

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About the festival

This is far more than just your average literature festival – it’s the ideas bit that makes the difference, and we’ve got hundreds. Eight days of inspiration covering literature, drama, music, comedy, dance, current affairs, creative writing and spoken word. You have all the ingredients for a fabulous festival.

It’s all been organised by Rochdale Borough Council funded by ticket sales and the Maskew Bequest, with valued support from JGM Agency. The festival team are excited to be working with a range of local organisations who share our passion for the written and spoken word. This year, as last, we have an exciting range of ‘Generation Z’ events – look out for the logo! Although open to all adults, these are aimed especially at young people aged 14 to 25. Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival is grateful to Arts Council England for supporting our Generation Z programme.

Generation Z blue logo. Arts Council England logo.

We want everyone to try something different, get the reading habit, but most of all, enjoy our fabulous festival.

Sponsor the Festival – your business can share the success

As a sponsor your company will realise tangible marketing benefits in return for your investment. For more information, please download our sponsor pack (2MB pdf).

The story so far

Our strong line-ups over the last few years have secured our great reputation, with Dame Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Callow, Willy Russell, Owen Jones, Gyles Brandreth, Jenny Eclair, Alastair Campbell, Tony Walsh, Ed Byrne, Simon Armitage, Dom Joly, Joanne Harris, Helen Lederer, Mark Steel, Lucy Spraggan, Gervase Phinn, David Starkey, Bonnie Greer, Terry Waite, Alan Johnson and Lemn Sissay being just some of the high-profile names who have taken part.

2018 programme (3MB pdf)

2017 programme (3MB pdf)

2016 programme (2MB pdf)

2015 programme (4MB pdf)

2014 programme (915kb pdf)

2013 programme (4MB pdf)

Festival highlights

2017 festival video

2016 festival video

2015 festival video

2014 festival video

2013 festival video

The Maskew story

It’s all thanks to the generosity of Annie and Frank Maskew, a Rochdale couple who shared a passion for reading and thinking, and who met in the original Rochdale Library in the 1950s. They left a sum of money to be used on resources and events related to literature and philosophy to ensure classic works are available for future generations.

In addition to this festival, special events are held throughout the year and the Maskew Collection of English Literature and Philosophy resources is housed at Rochdale Central Library.

Annie and Frank were a truly inspirational couple, devoted to inspiring others with their love of literature. We think Annie and Frank would have been proud to see people of all ages coming to their beloved hometown to enjoy the festival.

We really hope you enjoy this year’s programme.

Festival Team

Rochdale Libraries

Rochdale Libraries

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Our partners

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