Idea of the day at the online York Festival of Ideas: This Golden Fleece. Talk is sheep at 6pm, 11/06/2020

Wool Britannia: This Golden Fleece author Esther Rutter weaves her way through Britain’ s knitting history this evening at the York Festival of Ideas

WOOLLY thinking will be encouraged at the online York Festival of Ideas this evening.

At 6pm, author Esther Rutter will weave a journey through Britain’s long history of knitting in her talk This Golden Fleece.

Esther grew up on a sheep farm in Suffolk, learning to spin, weave and knit as a child. On re-engaging with that past, over the breadth of a year, she travelled the length of the British Isles to discover the fascinating stories of communities whose lives were shaped by wool, knitting them together in her book This Golden Fleece (Granta Books).

Esther unearthed tales of mill workers of the Border countries, English market towns built on profits of the wool trade and the Highland communities cleared for sheep farming. She also found tradition and innovation intermingling in 21st century knitwear industries.

Esther, who read English at Magdalen College, Oxford, is writer-in-residence at the University of St Andrews (2017-2020) in the School of Geography and Sustainable Development.

She also works as a freelance project manager for UNESCO, developing cultural engagement projects in collaboration with Edinburgh’s City of Literature Trust.

Join Esther this evening, albeit remotely, for her discussion of the craft and history of knitting, exploring wool’s influence on our landscape, history and culture. Admission is free but booking is required at

Brought to you remotely by the University of York, York Festival of Ideas is brimful of ideas until June 14, gathered under the new umbrella of Virtual Horizons. For full details, visit