Marsden-based Poet Laureate Simon Armitage will headline the award-winning Huddersfield Literature Festival in 2024.

Simon will give a poetry reading followed by a performance with his band LYR at the Lawrence Batley Theatre on Thursday April 11.

The festival will run from April 18-28 2024, after securing a 30% increase in Arts Council funding following a very successful 2023 festival and two award wins in the past year.

Winner of the Accessible and Inclusive Award at the prestigious Yorkshire Post Tourism Awards (2022), HuddLitFest2024 will offer a wide representation of authors and performers.

Featured novelists will include Costa Prize winner Monique Roffey for her new novel Passiontide and acclaimed local author Sairish Hussain who follows The Family Tree with a new novel Hidden Fires.

Comedian and actor Helen Lederer will entertain with stories from her memoir Not That I’m Bitter and Alex Wheatle MBE will discuss his memoir Sufferah: Memoir of a Brixton Reggae Head.

Prof Audrey Osler will explore ideas around migration, identity and belonging in Where Are You From? No, Where Are You Really From? and poetry events will include the launch of new collections by Steve Ely and Rose Condo.

A partnership with MACFEST will see a music and poetry celebration of the 13th century Persian philosopher-poet Rumi, and a performance of Disunited Jukebox will bring to life specially commissioned contributions from Neil Gaiman, Mary Talbot and Ken MacLeod among others, in a contemporary anthology chamber opera.

Online events will feature Emma Donoghue, whose novel is based on the life of the young Anne Lister (Gentleman Jack), a celebration of the centenary of the birth of James Baldwin in partnership with Kirklees Local TV, and a series of creative writing workshops.

Children will enjoy free eco-craft and crime-busting workshops, along with the chance to meet The Tiger Who Came to Tea and to find out about space exploration with children’s author and illustrator Kate Pankhurst.

Community projects will range from specially commissioned activities with Dark Horse Theatre and Give… a few words to projects with Conscious Youth and Aspire.

There will also be an expanded Schools Programme of workshops and activities. Firm favourites such as the Stafflex Free Family Day, Poetry Slam and Polari LGBTQ+ literary salon will return, along with discussion topics, family events, creative writing workshops and wellbeing activities.

Many of the live events will be hybrid, delivered in partnership with Kirklees Local TV, demonstrating the festival’s ongoing commitment to accessibility.

Festival director Michelle Hodgson said: “Our 2024 festival is shaping up to be one of the best. Increased investment from the University of Huddersfield and the Arts Council has had a real and tangible effect on what we can deliver.

“As the cost-of-living crisis deepens, we will continue to offer many free and low-cost events, including online events, which we hope will encourage even more people to engage with the festival.”

Events will be available to view and book on the festival website