Doubt hangs over the future of Ilkley's famous Literature Festival following a scathing attack by Bradford City Council.
The Festival, opened by W H Auden in 1973 has been an annual two week event since 1988,
attracting important international literary figures to the spa town, participating in over 180 events.
Council leader Ron Greenwood has threatened to withdraw public funds supporting the event accussing it of being 'elitist':
"It may well attract a lot of visitors and add millions to the local economy but continued funding is a contradiction of Conservative policy. We can't be seen to support this venture at the same time as we're closing libraries and reducing teaching staff, can we?" he stated.
"In ten years time it'll be obsolete anyway" he added.
Rachel Feldberg, festival director, is currently in talks with Council representatives:
"We believe the Festival must continue at all costs and as such we've offered a compromise that includes setting up a fringe 'Illiterature Festival' in order to make it attainable to all, where celebrities could stand on a stage pointing at things and audiences would be invited to participate in a mass 'crayoning-in'."
A decision is expected by March 2012.