NEWLY appointed Poet Laureate Simon Armitage will open this year's Ilkley Literature Festival.

As Laureate, the Yorkshire poet takes over from Carol Ann Duffy and follows in the footsteps of Ted Hughes, John Betjeman and William Wordsworth.

Simon Armitage first appeared at Ilkley Literature Festival in 1991. In 2012 he was commissioned to write six poems inspired by the Pennine Watershed. Carved onto stones across the upland, they form the Stanza Stones Poetry Trail from Marsden to Ilkley. His latest collection, Sandettie Light Vassel Automatic, includes the Stanza Stone poems.

Festival chairman Nigel Walsh said, ‘Simon has long been a friend and supporter of ILF. We look forward with interest to see what his tenure as Laureate will bring, and take pleasure in the privilege of having him open this year’s Festival on Friday, October 4."