How it began
Otley Word Feast began when friends and Otley residents Ruth Blackwell and Sandra Burnett met for lunch in July 2011. One topic of conversation was the success of the recent 2011 Otley Walking Festival. Ruth, Chair of this popular Festival, mentioned that visitors from all over had come to take part, and brought added benefits to the commerce of the town.
Besides the Walking Festival, Otley hosts a range of events: Agricultural Show, Carnival, Cycle Race, Street Festival, Vintage Transport Extravaganza, Folk Festival, Beer Festival, Science Festival, Victorian Christmas Fayre. Was there room for another festival?
It didn’t take much deliberation to realise a celebration of the written and spoken word, which would showcase local talent and provide writing workshops covering a range of genres, could fill a gap in the town’s event calendar.
It was important to both Ruth and Sandra that the name of this event should reflect the history of Otley as a market town since medieval times and so the idea of Otley Word Feast was born and immediately found itself being nurtured into being by a group of five enthusiastic local writers.
These five writers formed the organisation and its committee and have been working hard ever since to get Otley Word Feast up and running.
Here they are:
Back row: Jane Kite, Sheila Collins. Front row: Wanda Phillips, Glenis Burgess, Sandra Burnett