Scarborough Literature Festival scrapped for a year

Scarborough born author Susan Hill returns for the opening talk at this year's Scarborough Literature Festival in Scarborough Library.
Scarborough born author Susan Hill returns for the opening talk at this year's Scarborough Literature Festival in Scarborough Library.

Scarborough Literature Festival – which has attracted best-selling authors and thousands of visitors – has been scrapped for next year.

Funding cuts and fears of not raising enough cash to pay for what would have been the eighth Long Weekend have been blamed for the decision.

Organisers hope to find sponsors to put on the four-day event every two years.

The event costs around £60,000 – including staff time – a year to stage. The Arts Council and North Yorkshire County Council have helped fund the past seven festivals.

Last year the county county council put in £20,000 and the Arts Council £10,000, less than other years. The rest came from ticket sales.

A county council spokesman said there was pressure on all funding and it had to review spending on the festival.

The Arts Council, which has had its funding cut, has also warned there is less money available to all organistations. It has not had an application from the festival for next year.

“We know the Arts Council faces difficult choices and that there is less money for all activities,” said Lee Taylor, who is responsible for all libraries from Helmsley to the coast.

“It was against this backdrop that we took the decision not to put on the festival next year.

“The time will give us an opportunity to review the
 festival, whether it still meets our needs and look at how we can fund it in the future and come back in 2015,” he said.

Best-sellers, Booker prize winners, politicians, film directors, actors and broadcasters have all been attracted to the Scarborough Literature Festival.

Since its launch in 2006, it has played host to the most celebrated crime writers, romantic fiction experts and novelists.

Ian Rankin, Lee Child, Michael Jecks, Graham Hurley, Susanna Gregory and David Hewson are some of the crime experts who have attended.

Scarborough-born Susan Hill, Margaret Drabble, David Nobbs, Joanne Harris, Kate Atkinson, Jodi Picoult, Barbara Trapido and David Lodge are among the literati.

Joan Bakewell, Mike Hodges, Gordon Sinclair, Lucy Worsley, Roy Hattersley, Penny Junor and Kate Adie have all been guests.

The sixth festival attracted 4,000 people. This year’s festival had sell-out events including BBC presenter Lucy Worsley and food critic William Sitwell.