Inspiration

Yorkshire Authors

Yorkshire has captivated the imagination of many writers. The Brontë sisters are indelibly linked to the dramatic, highly atmospheric moors around Haworth. J. B. Priestley hailed from Bradford. You can see a statue of the prolific writer outside the city's National Media Museum. Here's a selection of Yorkshire's most famous writers.

The Brontë Sisters

Anne, Charlotte and Emily are known worldwide due to their passionate literary classics. Born in Thornton, Bradford, they later moved to Haworth where the majority of their work was written.

Joanne Harris

Born in Barnsley and now living in Huddersfield, Joanne was a teacher for 15 years, during which time she published three novels including Chocolat (1999).

Mike Pannett

Author of four books that recount his experience as a rural beat officer in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire.

Kate Atkinson

Born in York, Kate's first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the 1995 Whitbread Book of the Year. Since then, she has published another six novels, one play, and one collection of short stories.

Margaret Drabble

Born in Sheffield and attended school in York. Her third novel, The Millstone (1965), brought her the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1966, and Jerusalem the Golden won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1967.

Barbara Taylor Bradford

Ten of her books have been made into mini series and television movies. The No. 1 best-selling author of women's fiction over the last 30 years.

J. B. Priestley (1894 - 1984)

On leaving grammar school Priestley worked in the wool trade of his native city, but had ambitions to become a writer. He was to draw on memories of Bradford in many of the works he wrote after he had moved south.

Gervase Phinn

With his keen ear for the absurd and sharp eye for the ludicrous, Phinn has delighted audiences with tales of his experiences as a school inspector and is probably best known for his autobiographical novels: The Dales Series.

Susan Hill

Born in Scarborough, her novels are written in a descriptive gothic style, especially her ghost story The Woman in Black, which was written in 1982. The novel was turned into a play in 1987.

Barry Hines

This Barnsley born author wrote the 1968 novel A Kestrel for a Knave, on which the 1969 drama film Kes was based on. Both the book and the film provide a portrait of life in the mining areas of Yorkshire.

Winifred Holtby (1898 - 1935)

Born to a farming family in Rudstone, East Yorkshire, Holtby was a prolific journalist. Holtby's most important book was South Riding, published posthumously in 1936. The book is set in the fictional South Riding of Yorkshire: the inspiration being the East Riding rather than South Yorkshire.

Yorkshire in verse

Join us in our poet's corner, as we uncover a stellar line-up of Yorkshire's best writers of verse.

Andrew Marvell (1621 - 1678)

From Winstead, near Hull, Andrew Marvell is said to be one of the 17th century's great metaphysical poets. His best known piece of work being the poem, To His Coy Mistress.

Ted Hughes (1930 - 1998)

Born in Mytholmroyd, near Hebden Bridge, he lived here until 1937. He wrote a number of poems about his early life in the area. Hughes, consistently described as one of the 20th century's greatest English poets, was also a prolific children's author and translator. He was married to the poet Sylvia Plath and became
Poet Laureate in 1984.

Caedmon

The now ruined Whitby Abbey was established in 657 by Abbess Hilda. From about 670AD it was the home of Caedmon, an Anglo-Saxon herdsman and the first English poet. Caedmon put into English passages from the Scriptures, and wrote the devotional Hymn to Creation.

W H Auden (1907 - 1973)

Born in York, he published about four hundred poems. His poetry was encyclopaedic in scope and method, ranging in style from obscure 20th century modernism to ballads and limericks.

Ian McMillan

Born in Barnsley he is a British poet, journalist, playwright and broadcaster who has continued to live in Darfield. He started performing on the live poetry circuit in the 1970s. He has had several volumes of poetry published for both adults and children and is an enthusiastic advocate of poetry.

Our adopted poets...

Philip Larkin (1922 - 1985)

During the thirty years he spent in Hull, Larkin produced a significant body of poetry. In 2003, almost two decades after his death and despite controversy about his personal life and opinions, Larkin was chosen as "the nation's best-loved poet" in a survey by the Poetry Book Society, and in 2008 The Times named Larkin as the greatest British post-war writer.

Sylvia Plath (1932 - 1963)

The American born poet, novelist and short story writer, described Heptonstall as ‘wild and lonely and a perfect place to work', and at least one of her poems (November Graveyard) seems to refer to it. Sylvia responded to Haworth and the Brontë legacy in several poems written after walking the area.

Yorkshire playwrights

Yorkshire has been inspirational to a number of world famous playwrights. We find out more about the peoplewho bring northern grit to the big stage...

Alan Bennett

The renowned dramatist and actor, was born in Leeds and went to Oxford and became part of the university review ‘Beyond the Fringe', produced for the Edinburgh Festival of 1960. Alan Bennett's play, The Madness of George III, dramatises the monarch's real-life struggle with porphyria-induced insanity, and his treatment by, among others, Dr Francis Willis. Some say this treatment took place in Ravenscar, in the house that is now the Ravens Hall Hotel. The spot is breathtakingly beautiful.

John Godber

Born in West Yorkshire near Pontefract. In 2005, he won two BAFTA'S for a film he wrote and directed on location in Hull. His plays are performed across the world, Bouncers being the most popular. A playwright with a passion for Yorkshire...

Alan Ayckbourn

One of the most prolific and widely performed of English language playwrights and a highly regarded theatre director. He was the artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, where he continues to premiere the majority of his work - predominantly in the world-famous Round auditorium.