Matthew Hedley Stoppard book launch at Otley Courthouse

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Poet Matthew Hedley Stoppard.

Matthew Hedley Stoppard: Book Launch & Folk Revue at Otley Courthouse, 12 November 2021 Tickets from £12 — Book now

Join Otley Town Poet Matthew Hedley Stoppard in the Courthouse for the belated in-person launch of his second poetry collection The Garland King, out with Scarborough’s Valley Press. Forward Prize winner and Radio 4 poet in residence Daljit Nagra says of Matthew’s poetry: “I love the unusual combinations of phrase, the constantly shifting and startling imagery, and the depiction of ordinary lives and imaginary moments with genuine vigour.”

Creative writing lecturer at Manchester Writing School Helen Mort says: “The Garland King is singular, exciting, wry and anarchic – working-class history meets modern anxiety.”

Matthew Hedley Stoppard was born in Derbyshire in 1985. After a brief career as a journalist, he now works as a librarian, and lives in Otley, just north of Leeds, with his wife and two sons. His work has been published by Cake and Magma, among others, and his debut solo collection, A Family Behind Glass, came out with Valley Press in 2013, and was included in the Guardian‘s Readers’ Books of the Year. His latest title, The Garland King, came out last year during lockdown, when he shared an online launch event with fellow Valley Press poet Anne Caldwell. The new book is described as creating “an uncanny space where traditional customs and modern anxieties mix” – Morris dancers, for example, melt in the midst of a climate emergency in one of the pieces, while a mummer mismanages his depression after his child is diagnosed with cancer.

Manchester Literature Festival regular Kate Fox says: “Stoppard’s words weave a maypole whirl between grit, imagination, wit and surrealism, in a way which is both deeply relatable and beautifully strange … they do a vital, joyful job in drawing attention to bruised performances of English folk myths, and a working-class masculinity trying to escape its moorings.”

Creative writing lecturer at Manchester Writing School Helen Mort says: “The Garland King is singular, exciting, wry and anarchic – working-class history meets modern anxiety. Matthew’s poems upend the everyday and examine what falls from its pockets; to say that he finds poetry in these things would be patronising: the poetry is there all along. The trick’s in knowing how to listen, how to report back. Reader, you’re in safe hands.”

In this event, Matthew will be accompanied by music and dancing, and will be joined by acclaimed singer Stephanie Hladowski, BBC Folk Award-nominated duo Louis Campbell and Owen Spafford, and Border Morris side Wharfedale Wayzgoose. The evening will be a celebration of British folk culture, featuring contemporary poetry, evocative instrumental music, seasonal songs and lively traditional tunes.

You can get 20% off copies of The Garland King purchased at the evening.

Matthew Hedley Stoppard: Book Launch & Folk Revue at Otley Courthouse, 12 November 2021 Tickets from £12 Book now

Where to go near Matthew Hedley Stoppard book launch at Otley Courthouse

Yeadon Town Hall
Event venue
Yeadon Town Hall

Live music, comedy, theatre and market stall holders all share the stage in Yeadon Town Hall’s packed cultural programme.

The Wheatley Arms

Standing in the leafy village of Ben Rhydding, the Wheatley Arms offers fantastic contemporary accommodation in a traditional Yorkshire inn.


Rajshahi has been serving up authentic Indian food, packed with soul and flavour, for decades, winning over the hearts and bellies of the locals.

Ilkley Lido
Ilkley Lido

Incorporating a tennis courts and a bowling green, Ilkley Lido is a grade II listed outdoor pool, with a stunning view of the moors.

Ilkley Cinema

Ilkley Cinema combines relaxed and sociable spaces, state of the art screening technology, and a great programme of indies.

Ilkley Library

Ilkley Library is one of the older institutions in the town. They regularly host literary events as well as bringing books and services to the community.

Ilkley Playhouse

The Playhouse has a well established season of productions, also used as a venue for events, including the popular Ilkley Literature Festival.

Bed & Breakfast
The Crescent Inn

The Crescent Inn is a comfortable and cosy, pub style bed and breakfast that takes pride in championing local goods.

Grove bookshop
Grove Bookshop

Grove Bookshop has been an integral part of Ilkely town centre for decades, feeding the town’s enthusiasm for literature.

Ilkley Manor House
Ilkley Manor House

Visit the collection of Roman artefacts in one of the oldest buildings in Yorkshire, or host a particularly special occasion at Ilkley Manor House.

Tinker Gallery

Ilkley’s contemporary art gallery, set up by artist Joanne Tinker, is a studio space in combination with a gallery.

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