Author Imogen Clark reveals her favourite things about Yorkshire
- Credit: Imogen Clark/Lake Union
Imogen Clark is the author of six novels about families and secrets, and has sold over a million copies of her books. With a mother from Yorkshire and a father from Lancashire, there was always a mini War of the Roses running in her home as a child, but Yorkshire finally won when the family moved to Ilkley as Imogen turned seventeen. She has lived in Yorkshire ever since.
Something in Yorkshire that makes you smile?
The people because they always smile at me. I spend a lot of time in London, and you do well to get a stranger to acknowledge you at all down there, let alone smile and say ‘good morning’. It’s a different story up here and I love the open friendliness of Yorkshire folk.
A place you love to eat?
I recently discovered Brooks in Ilkley when I went there for a quiet celebration to mark the launch of my latest book. They serve delicious Asian-inspired tapas and lovely wines which is perfect for a great night of conversation with friends.
A place to take friends?
Whenever people come to visit, I always take them to Saltaire. I find the history of the village so intriguing, and visitors are always delighted by the streets being named after Sir Titus Salt’s relations. No trip is complete with a tour around Salt’s Mill. With its huge David Hockney galleries, the wonderful book shop and all the other quirky businesses that thrive in there, there’s something for everyone, and you can round the day off with delicious cake and coffee in Salt’s Diner.
A childhood memory?
I didn’t live in Yorkshire as a young child, but my grandparents lived in Bradford and I remember trips to the city with them. I was fascinated by the trolley buses, and was constantly being told to watch out for them so there was always a sense of peril! We also had an annual trip to see Father Christmas in Brown Muffs. That was a real treat.
A cultural go-to?
As a writer, I have to choose one of the many literature festivals that run in Yorkshire. My hometown of Ilkley boasts the oldest literature festival in the North, having been set up by W H Auden in 1973. It’s always fun spotting celebrities in the town when the festival is on. But my favourite is the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. The entire festival happens in The Old Swan, the hotel where Agatha Christie turned up after she disappeared, and it’s such a friendly event with writers and readers alike all mingling at the bar and chatting.
Around five years ago I rediscovered the joys of long-distance walking when I undertook The Dales Way with a friend. We did it backwards, walking from Bowness to Ilkley because it seemed more satisfying to go to The Lakes and walk home. Since then, I have tramped across much more of beautiful Yorkshire Dales National Park, but I still have quite a lot to see!
A Place for Indulgence?
This has to be Rudding Park Spa in Harrogate. My husband and I had our wedding reception at Rudding Park, but it was so long ago that there weren’t any bedrooms there then, let alone the Spa. Things are very different these days, but whenever I am treated to a day in the spa it always reminds me of our wedding. It’s such a beautiful spot.
A Yorkshire view that inspires?
I can walk to the top of Beamsley Beacon from my house and during lockdown I often took myself up there to clear my head or think through a tricky problem with a plot. On a clear day you can see for miles and miles from the top with both Upper and Lower Wharfedale below you. If the sun is shining, it’s even better because the colours of the fields and moorland are breath-taking.
I’m never happier than when…?
I’m by the sea. Whether I’m eating fish and chips on the front or striding out over the cliffs, having the rush of the waves in my ears and the salty air in my nostrils is definitely where I’m at my happiest. If I can arrange it so that my husband and children are there too then that is pretty much perfect for me.
Three words that sum up your best Yorkshire Life?
Smiles. Moors. Books
Impossible to Forget, is published by Lake Union.