Ilkley Literature Festival Apprentice Poet in Residence

Closed for 2021.

Ilkley Literature Festival’s Apprentice Poet in Residence role is an opportunity for a talented emerging poet at the start of their career, based in the North of England.

Ilkley Literature Festival is the longest-running literature festival in the North of England. Our 2021 Autumn programme will be a hybrid of digital and live ‘in person’ events, with the majority of activities taking place during our main festival period, 1-17 October.

Previous Apprentice Poets in Residence include Andrew McMillan – who went on to win the Guardian First Book Award; Eric Gregory Award winner Phoebe Power; Zodwa Nyoni – who went on to be Channel 4 writer in residence at West Yorkshire Playhouse; and Mark Pajak, who went on to win a Northern Writer’s Award, an Eric Gregory Award and the Bridport Prize.

You can read about the experiences of our joint 2019 Apprentice Poets-in-Residence, Genevieve Carver and Shash Trevett, on our website here.

This is a unique opportunity for a poet at the start of their career and based in Yorkshire, North East or North West England to:

  • create a commission inspired by the festival’s programme themes;
  • judge the 18-25 years category of our annual Walter Swan Poetry Prize and participate in a peer mentoring session with the winner;
  • run an online or in-person poetry/creative writing workshop for aspiring writers;
  • raise the profile of their work through the association with a prestigious literature Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.

The Apprentice will have the opportunity to be mentored by the 2021 Poet in Residence, subject to their availability over the festival dates, and will be given complimentary tickets to attend as many festival events as they may wish.

Festival Dates

Fri 1 – Sun 17 October 2021 inclusive.
Competition judging of the 18-25 years category of the Walter Swan Poetry Prize and the commission writing will take place during August-September.


ILF offers a fee of £750, will provide overnight accommodation in Ilkley as may be required, and will reimburse reasonable travel expenses to and from Ilkley.