Poet Laureate to visit Belper's new library

A visit by the Poet Laureate is to mark the unveiling of Belper’s new public library.

Friday, 21st February 2020, 7:12 am
Updated Friday, 21st February 2020, 12:25 pm
Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, who is to visit Belper's new library. (PHOTO BY: Bruce Rollinson)
Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, who is to visit Belper's new library. (PHOTO BY: Bruce Rollinson)

Simon Armitage, 56, who is professor of poetry at Leeds University, will visit the library on Derwent Street in a ticket-only event on Monday, March 16 (2.30 pm to 4 pm).

The library, which will replace the current one on Bridge Street, is set to officially open later in the year.

It is part of a wider development by Derbyshire County Council that will also include a new care centre for older people, the Ada Belfield Centre, next door.

Armitage announced last year that he would be embarking on a national tour, called the A-Z Libraries Tour, giving readings in libraries across the UK. The idea was to work through the alphabet and visit venues representing each letter.

The council asked for Belper to be included, even though the library was not yet fully ready, and it was delighted to have the application accepted. Now, developers of the building are pulling out all the stops to ensure the event can be hosted.

Coun Barry Lewis, the council’s leader, said: “Hosting the Poet Laureate on his national tour is a real coup.

“People attending will get a sneak preview of the new facility, find out what’s on offer and be able to spread the word before it officially opens to the public.

“This event is the shape of things to come at the new library, and reflects our commitment to the service and the wonderful and diverse range of events and activities that are happening at our libraries across the county.” 

An announcement about the official opening date of the library and the Ada Belfield Centre will be made in the next few weeks. 

Entry is free to the Simon Armitage readings, but places are limited, so people will need to book a ticket by going online to www.eventbrite.co.uk

Armitage will be reading from his new book, ‘Magnetic Field: The Marsden Poems’, and also telling brief stories around the poems before taking questions from the audience.

Born in Huddersfield, the poet was jobless after leaving university and decided to train as a probation officer. 

But then he began writing poetry more seriously and had his first collection published in 1988. He is also a playwright and novelist.