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Tickets are selling fast for this year’s Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival.

The 8-day festival which runs from Monday, 15 October 2018 to Monday, 22 October 2018, will feature internationally acclaimed poet Simon Armitage CBE, television presenter and triathlete Louise Minchin, actress, author and presenter Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE, writer and broadcaster Stuart Maconie, and women’s rights activist Dr Helen Pankhurst, amongst others.  

Simon Armitage CBE will be reading extracts from his most recent poems – The Unaccompanied documents a world on the brink. Full of his dead-pan wit, you can expect an insightful and bold new piece of work from one of the UK’s greatest living poets.

Louise Minchin will be talking about her life and new book Dare to Tri – the story of her journey from the BBC Breakfast sofa to representing Great Britain at the World Triathlon Championships.

Multi-talented Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE is known to millions for appearing in the BBC television series Play School and Play Away. She’s also a successful businesswoman, writer and award winning producer. Her successful book Coming to England charts her challenging experiences in Britain. 

Stuart Maconie will be sharing stories and insights from his retracing of the famous Jarrow March, as explored in his latest book Long Road from Jarrow: A Journey Through Britain Then and Now.

In the centenary of one of the most significant steps forward for women, which saw those with property gain the vote for the first time, Dr Helen Pankhurst will look at how women’s lives have changed over the last century and offer a new way forward. 

The festival also features author and poet Gervase Phinn, and The Mad Theatre Company will present their latest play – an irreverent and heart-warming look back at what life was probably like in the North West a hundred years ago. 

There’s a host of exciting children’s events to choose from. Hidden treasure tours, puppet shows, children’s author storytimes, Dennis the Menace cupcake making and even a silent disco. Some activities are free, and ticketed shows are no more than £4, so it's good value too.

Over 1,300 tickets have already been sold for the festival, which covers drama, comedy, poetry, spoken word, visual arts and children’s shows. For young people aged 14 to 25, there’s a series of ‘Generation Z’ events. 

See the full line-up and book tickets (external link) 

The festival is aimed at celebrating and promoting the Maskew Collection of classic literature and philosophy at Rochdale Central Library, encouraging people to engage with books and ideas. Annie and Frank Maskew, a Rochdale couple who shared a passion for reading and thinking, met in Rochdale Library in the 1950s and 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.

The festival is organised by Rochdale Borough Council, supported by the Maskew Bequest and sponsored by creative digital media company - JGM Agency.