Honouring Ted’s literary legacy

Ted Hughes.
Ted Hughes.

This year’s Ted Hughes Festival will mark a special anniversary - the tenth year since the foundation of the Elmet Trust.

The trust is run by a small but enthusiastic group of volunteers who are determined to ensure that the literary legacy of the Mytholmroyd-born poet endures through exhibitions, walks - and the annual festival.

The Ted Hughes Birthday Dinner and the Ted Hughes Festival are now regular features of Yorkshire’s programme of cultural events.

In 2015 the Elmet Trust became a charity, with the long-term ambition of creating a Ted Hughes Centre in Mytholmroyd.

This year’s festival has attracted a line-up of top Yorkshire poets including Julie Deakin, Ed Reiss, John Duffy, Carola Luther and Stephanie Bowgett.

The festival will get underway on Wednesday, August 17 when the guest speaker at the Ted Hughes Birthday Dinner will be writer and historian Dame Marina Warner, who was a long-standing friend of the former Poet Laureate. THis is sold out.

Other events in this year’s festival include:

Friday, August 19: exhibition of Leonard Baskin prints, Heritage Quay, University of Huddersfield, 6pm and 7.15pm.

Saturday, August 20: The Poetry Cafe with readings by Stephanie Bowgett, John Duffy, Julia Deakin, 11.30am and Nigel King, Carola Luther, Ed Reiss, 1.30pm, plus winners of the Ted Hughes Young Poets Award, announced by Anne Caldwell, and winners of the Elmet Poetry Prize 2016, announced by Steve Ely, 4.45pm, and followed by a talk on ‘Ted Hughes, the Mexborough Years’, refreshments will be available, St Thomas’s Church, Heptonstall.

Sunday, August 21: Ted Hughes Walk and screening of ‘Sacred Place’ with Nick Wilding, meet at Heptonstall Museum, 11am. £5, pay on the day. There will also be an exhibition at Hebden Bridge Visitor Centre inspired by Ted Hughes’ ‘Remains of Elmet’.

l Ted Hughes was born in Aspinall Street, Mytholmroyd in 1930 and went to Burnley Road School until the age of seven when his family moved to Mexborough.

l As a child he spent hours exploring the countryside of the Calder Valley and the landscape informed much of his later poetry.

l Hughes went to Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he met the American poet Sylvia Plath. He married her in 1956 and the following year his debut collection ‘The Hawk in the Rain’ secured his international reputation.

l He was Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in October 1998.

Details from www.theelmettrust.orgted-hughes-festival