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Ted Hughes Festival: three academic speakers to attend

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Ted HughesIn September Cambridge University held an international conference on the work of poet, Ted Hughes, who was born in Mytholmroyd. Speakers from that conference will be in Mytholmroyd on Saturday 20th October to join in our local Ted Hughes Festival which is run annually by The Elmet Trust.

"We are so proud to have academic speakers as distinguished as Mark Wormald, Christopher Reid and Steve Ely to visit Mytholmroyd and share their research on Ted's work with us." Elmet Trust's Jeni Wetton told the Hebden Bridge Web.

"One of the major themes at Cambridge was the importance of place in Ted's development. This is something that we appreciate in the Calder Valley as we are getting more visitors and interest in Ted's childhood in the area. People are coming to the valley to seek out places associated with his poems located in the Calder Valley.

"In the last week we have had a party of Literature students from Huddersfield University visiting Mytholmroyd and Heptonstall as well as a Ted Hughes themed walk as part of the recent walk and ride festival.

"That Ted is bringing visitors to the area is good news as we are recovering from the recent deluges. It is a privilege for The Elmet Trust to be acknowledged by such experts. We are really looking forward to sharing their knowledge with local people."

Steve Ely will talk in the Erringden Room at 4pm on Ted's time in Mexborough. "The significance of Hughes' South Yorkshire period in his development (1938-51) has been largely overlooked." said Steve Ely. "Although Mytholmroyd's formative influence on the young Hughes' imagination was immense, Hughes would not have become the poet and personality of his subsequent fame without his South Yorkshire experiences". Steve went on to say that, "The Ted Hughes Festival line up this year: academic papers, performance and the range of other activities looks first class. I am looking forward very much to taking part".

Similar sentiments were expressed by Mark Wormald of Cambridge University (who has stepped in to replace the advertised talk by Terry Gifford - who can't attend due to ill health). Mark will give a presentation at 1pm on Ted Hughes' developing ecological and environmental awareness linked to his fishing in Devon and Alaska. Many people do not realise what hard work Ted did to protect rivers and wildlife habitat and it is this aspect of Ted's life that Mark Wormald will discuss in Mytholmroyd, the place where Ted acquired his life-long love of fishing.

The other big name to appear on Saturday 20th is the academic, editor & poet, Christopher Reid. Christopher was Ted Hughes' editor at Faber & Faber for the last eight years of the poet's life and oversaw the publication of Ted's major works including Tales from Ovid and Birthday Letters. Reid went on to edit Letters of Ted Hughes in 2007. In his talk at 6pm he will reflect on what he learned about Ted, the man and the work, from both kinds of editing.

Tickets for all the speakers are on sale at Hebden Bridge Visitor and Canal Centre 01422 843831 or hebdenbridge@ytbtic.co.uk or go to www.wegottickets.com. Each event will cost £3, or £10 for an afternoon pass.

They will form part of the events in the Poetry Café at the Erringden Room, Mytholmroyd on 20th October. Scrummy cakes included! Between the talks will be poets reading from their work including Valerie Laws and Helen Burke. There will be an opportunity to purchase books by Ted Hughes and the poets reading as The Bookcase, Hebden Bridge's very own independent bookshop, will be holding a 'pop up' bookshop during the Ted Hughes Festival. See www.theelmettrust.co.uk to download the full festival brochure.

Many thanks to The Elmet Trust for this report.

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