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Simon Armitage announces H-K Libraries Tour

By Faber Editor, 18 January 2024

Each spring this decade, Simon Armitage will give readings in libraries across the UK, from the flagship libraries of big cities to the smaller ones that serve rural and remote communities. Using the alphabet as a compass, his journey will celebrate the library as one of the great and necessary institutions.

Join Simon on the next leg of his ten-year adventure, from 5–12 March 2024, for a series of free live poetry readings in libraries, with different special guests in each location.

‘I want to celebrate the physical space of libraries and take my work back into places that have given me so much.’

‘I want to celebrate the physical space of libraries and take my work back into places that have given me so much.’

The H to K Libraries Tour launches in Harlesden Library, Brent, and will visit a variety of libraries during the week, calling on the reading group in HMP East Sutton Park Library in Kent, then stopping in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, The Hive in Worcester (renowned as Europe’s first fully integrated public and university library), Kirkcudbright in rural Dumfries & Galloway and Haltwhistle, Northumberland.

The launch at Harlesden Library showcases Somali folklore and history through poetry and dance. Simon Armitage is joined by Asha Lul Mohamud Yusuf and her translator, the poet Clare Pollard, for their bilingual reading from The Sea-Migrations: Tahriib (Bloodaxe/Poetry Translation Centre), named Poetry Book of the Year by the Sunday Times in 2018.

The week includes a performance with BAFTA and Grierson-nominated Welsh poet, novelist and playwright Owen Sheers and one of the Representing Wales poets, Bethany Handley, at Haverfordwest’s The Riverside Library. The evening will open the new exhibition that celebrates the life and work of Dylan Thomas, with a particular focus on his poetry and iconic play for voices, Under Milk Wood. The exhibition is hosted by Pembrokeshire Library Service in association with the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Other guests reading with Simon along the way include Worcestershire’s current Young Poet Laureate Amelie Simon and Lydia McMillan, one of Scotland’s Next Generation Young Makars.

The tour’s finale on 12 March at Haltwhistle Library is a joint celebration of Northumberland Libraries’ centenary and the tenth anniversary of Northumberland National Park as an International Dark Skies Park. This performance features award-winning poet Katrina Porteous who writes from a deep commitment to place and community, often using Northumbrian speech, and Dr Sheree Mack, the first writer-in-residence at Northumberland National Park.

For further information on the Laureate’s Library Tour and how to book, visit www.simonarmitage.com. The events are free of charge but booking is essential.