There are now literary festivals throughout the year in the UK, and in most areas of the country. The largest ones include:
In addition there are many festivals that concentrate on the work of a single writer, such as the Wordsworth Festival in January or the Dylan Thomas Festival in November.
There are also festivals celebrating a particular genre or type of writing, such as the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival or the Clerkenwell experimental writing festival (both in July).
Below is a selected list of literature festivals in the UK, together with links for further details (copy and paste into your browser).
We also list a number of other festivals that may be of interest for combining with a literary tour. These include The Chelsea Flower Show and The Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair. For further information or help with any arrangements, please contact us
A residential course of lectures, surgeries and workshops at the Thistle Hotel in Grasmere
LSE Literary Festival
23 Feb - 28 Feb 2015
The Seventh LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival features over 35 different events with more than 70 speakers including: Ian Bostridge, David Crystal, Anne Fine, John Gray, Tom Holland, Andrew O’Hagan, Will Self, Elif Sharak, Raja Shehadeh, Owen Sheers, and Ali Smith.
Takes place on the LSE Campus in London. All events are free (!), but you need to book. More info: LSE Space for Thought Festival
The Independent Bath Literature Festival
27 Feb - 8 March 2015. A programme featuring over 100 different literary events, from debates and lectures to readers' groups, workshops and films in venues throughout the city.
Words by the Water
4-13 March 2016. At the Theatre by the Lake, Keswick. The north-west of England's premier festival of words and ideas, in 2016 featuring amongst many others James Naughtie, Howard Jacobson, Richard Dawkins, Melvyn Bragg and James Rebank
Info and Booking: Words by the Water
Write by the Beach
12 March 2016. At Angel House, Brighton. From inspiration to publication: a one-day event designed by writers for writers at all levels. A full day of insider sessions will cover: plot, screenwriting, characters, crime fiction, editing, pitching, how to get published and much more.
Info and Booking: http://www.beachhutwritingacademy.com/
Essex Book Festival
Comprising 60+ events in over 30 venues across the county, including theatres, libraries, schools, universities, through to cafes, art galleries, and excitingly for 2015, the train on Southend Pier! 2015 authors include Shami Chakrabarti, Alistair Carr, Dame Stella Rimington, John Hegley, SJ Watson, Rachel Lichtenstein, Jessie Burton and many more.
Suffolk Libraries Bookfest
6 - 22 March 2015. A NEW festival, launching in 2015. Includes Alison Weir and Kate Williams, Luke Wright, Kate Hamer and many more. See www.suffolklibraries.co.uk/bookfest for details.
Chagword Literary Festival
13 - 15 March 2015. Dartmoor's literary festival in 2015 includes Deborah Moggach, Andy Mulligan, Sandra Greaves and Blake Morrison. Also a poetry competition. See www.chagword.com for details.
Aldeburgh Literary Festival
5 - 8 March 2015. Including Helen Macdonald on H is for Hawk, Kate Mosse, A N Wilson, Adam Crick. see www.aldeburghbookshop.co.uk.
13 March - 8 April 2015. This, the sixth Oswestry Literary Festival, celebrates words written, spoken and sung and features, amongst others, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, Alastair Campbell, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Dame Stephanie Shirley and crime novelist Sophie Hannah.
Oundle Festival of Literature
Events are now spread out over the year as opposed to one weekend, but children's literature events are focused on one week in March. See more at www.oundlelitfest.org.uk.
North London Literary Festival
New annual festival held at Middlesex University in Hendon
www.northlondonlitfest.com / facebook.com/nllf13
King's Sutton Literary Festival
A weekend festival in this charming village close to Banbury, Oxfordshire
The FT Oxford Literary Festival
The Festival presents over 200 authors, covering all areas of writing, plus events for children.
The Greatest Adventure: Love in the Time of Tinder
29-30th April 2017. Brought to you by the organisers of HowTheLightGetsIn, the world's biggest philosophy and music festival, this weekend philosophy retreat in Hay-on-Wye will feature a stellar lineup of philosophers, psychologists, scientists and authors. Featuring debates, talks and workshops, this event seeks to revive serious discussion on the philosophy of love and redefine romance for the digital age.
Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetry
Trinity College, Cambridge. Takes place each year towards the end of April http://www.cccp-online.org.uk
The Festival presents a wide variety of writers over three days in Cambridge towards the end of April each year.
Stratford Upon Avon Literary Festival
The Stratford upon Avon Literary Festival takes place at the end of April/beginning of May. The festival programme includes author events, workshops, performance poetry and lively panel discussions.
Books By The Beach Scarborough Festival
Be inspired and entertained by a rich and varied programme. There is something for everyone at Books by the Beach: Scarborough Book Festival
Contact details:- website: www.booksbythebeach.co.uk
Colonsay Book Festival
On the beautiful island of Colonsay.
Wise Words Festival, Canterbury
9 days of thought provoking talks, walks, performances, workshops, music and poetry, taking place in the Secret Garden in Canterbury.
30th April - 8th May 2016. More info at Wise Words Festival
The Charleston Festival
A literary festival at Charleston, country home of Bloomsbury artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell
Fowey Festival of Words and Music
Lincoln Book Festival
The Boswell Festival
The world's only biography festival, named after that magnificent rogue James Boswell, takes place at Auchinleck House, his ancient seat in Ayrshire.
University of Warwick Book Festival
This up-and-coming festival. Takes place at the University of Warwick Arts Centre
The Hay Festival
One of the largest and most famous literary festivals in the UK, in the ‘Book’ town of Hay-on-Wye.
The world's biggest philosophy and music festival, with over 700 events planned for 2016, including 'Dreaming the Future' on Saturday 28th May with Natalie Bennett, Maajid Nawaz, Roger Scruton, hosted by Mary Ann Sieghart.
This year's theme is 'The Known, the Strange and the New', looking for the strange in search of the new. Takes place at Hay, 26th May - 5th June 2016. More info and tickets at https:/howthelightgetsin.iai.tv
Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival
2015 festival includes readings, workshops, talks, film, music, theatre, exhibition and even a 'poetry walk'. The line up includes Eliot winners David Harsent and Sinead Morrissey, plus Matthew Sweeney, Matthew Francis and Carrie Etter.
29 - 31 May www.bodminmoorpoetryfestival.co.uk
Word – University of Aberdeen Writers Festival
Wealdon Literary Festival
The first Wealden Literary Festival – a two-day event celebrating landscape, nature and place -- is to be held on June 18 and 19 2016 in the heart of the Garden of England at Boldshaves, Woodchurch. The brainchild of outdoor and sustainable environment enthusiasts Laura and Andrew Willan, the festival includes talks by Thomas Pakenham, Patrick Barkham, Miriam Darlington, Esther Woolfson and Adam Thorpe.
Info & tickets: www.wealdenliteraryfestival.co.uk
A general arts and music festival with some literary events
Althorp Literary Festival
The Althorp Literary Festival takes place over a weekend in early June. See: http://www.spencerofalthorp.com/literary-festival
University of East Anglia's Festival of Literature for Young People, aiming to inspire young people to read for pleasure, develop a love of books, and to discover the power of writing.
In 2016 features David Almond, Chris Riddell, Celia Rees and Alexander Gordon Smith amongst many others
20th-24th June 2016. See https://www.uea.ac.uk/fly/home
Worcestershire Literary Festival
An array of spoken word events, seminars, theatre performances, and more, to inspire, entertain, and educate.
See the programme at http://www.worcslitfest.com
Chalke Valley History Festival
Growing history festival, now sponsored by the Daily Mail
See the programme at http://www.cvhf.org.uk
TS Eliot Festival
9th & 10th July 2016 in the grounds of Little Gidding, which inspired Eliot's final Quartet. Organised by the Eliot Society and featuring a range of events including discussion of the Four Quartets and, on the Sunday, a special reading of Little Gidding.
Details and booking: www.eliotsociety.org.uk/festival-2016/
Early July. A festival of opera, music and literature
Dartington Hall Festival - Ways With Words
A ten-day literary festival set in the medieval courtyard at Dartington Hall, Devon
Harrogate Crime Writing Festival
Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate
Presents many leading UK and international writers of crime fiction
The Ledbury Poetry Festival
Indie Lit Festival
23 July 2016. Free event bringing together indie authors from around the UK. Includes talks, workshops and readings. At St James Hall, Bradford.
More info: ukindielitfest2016.wix.com/indiefest
John Clare Festival
The John Clare School, Helpston nr Peterborough
The festival is a celebration of the life and works of John Clare
Stratford-on-Avon Poetry Festival
Samuel Beckett Festival in Fermanagh, with wide-ranging Beckett related line-up of events, often including readings on the Island of Devenish.
Edinburgh International Book Festival
13-29 August 2016: A host of literary events in the beautiful Charlotte Square Gardens in central Edinburgh, featuring leading Scottish and international authors. The varied programme covers poets, politicians, historians, journalists and children's authors, and Unbound, a free cabaret-style evening event ensures that the literary fun runs far into the night.
Llangwm Literary Festival
Pembroke's newest literary festival, taking place in the village of Llangwm, 12-14 August 2016. Amongst varied events and workshops, writers appearing include Griff Rhys Jones, Ben Rawlence, Diana Darke, Jo Mazelis and Ferdinand Mount.
5-7 August 2016 in Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire.
Europe's first ongoing festival celebrating the link between nature and writing. NiddFest features talks by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, John Lewis Stempel (author of Meadowland), BBC gardening presenter Christine Walkden and music from Mercury-nominated singer Kathryn Williams, amongst many other events.
For details see www.niddfest.com
23-25 September 2016. Chatsworth - Art Out Loud, in its second year, is a festival of talks by artists, curators and writers. Brilliant ceramicist and author, Edmund de Waal; Julia Peyton-Jones (The Serpentine Galleries); Maria Balshaw (The Whitworth Gallery); Peter Frankopan (author); garden designer, Dan Pearson and the Duke of Devonshire are included in the line-up of over 20 speakers.
Details at Chatsworth Festival
Festival of Writing in York
Now in its sixth year, this festival is for writers of novels and non-fiction to meet with publishing professionals, literary agents and book doctors in prep for eventual publication. Normally gathers 300+ writers from across the country and abroad.
Borderlines Carlisle Book Festival
Interesting mix of events including a crime writing workshop and talks and readings by a wide range of writers
Bristol Poetry Festival
Vibrant celebration of poetry
Graham Greene Festival
Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival
Festival in the home of `London lit
Soho Literary Festival
Chiswick Book Festival
Scotland's national book town
Bournemouth Literary Festival
A world or words in Bournemouth
Henley Literary Festival
Festival of reading in Leicester, taking place in a wide range of events in city centre venues including author readings, urban poets, bands and comedians.
Cheltenham Festival of Literature
A long-established literary festival with upwards of 400 speakers
Tears in the Fence Poetry Festival
Poetry festival of the long running poetry magazine 'Tears in the Fence'. This festival revives the spirit of the Wessex Poetry Festival and features readings, talks and music.
Takes place in Dorset, this year (2015) over the weekend of 23-25 October.
Manchester Literature Festival
Runs through October and November and presents a wide array of events
London Literary Footprints Festival
A series of 50 walks and talks celebrating London books and authors, including readings of books at the locations they were set in, authors speaking at London locations and walks on literary themes.
Lanark Book Festival
1 - 4 October 2015 This festival features a host of well-known Scottish authors, including Alistair Moffat and Christopher Brookmyre. From Scottish Fiction and History, to Whisky, Food and Drink – there will be a session for everyone to enjoy.
Frinton Literary Festival
Beverley Literature Festival
Offering a programme featuring over 40 contemporary writing events. Information at: http://www.bevlit.org
Guildford Book Festival
A wide-ranging festival featuring a broad range of fiction writers, journalists, biographers and personalities
Burnham Market Book Festival
Wimbledon Book Festival
A festival in early October which offers a diverse range of readings and book events at a selection of venues in Wimbledon
Inverness Book Festival
Gwyl Daniel Owen Festival
Mold Yr Wyddgrug
Includes readings, walks, music and writing competition.
Peak Literary Festival
Held annually in the spring and autumn (May and October/November) in the Peak District National Park
Dylan Thomas Festival
27th October - 9th November at The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea.
Aldeburgh International Poetry Festival
Bridport Literary Festival
8th - 15th November 2015
At venues all around town. 2015 Line up to be announced. More information at www.bridlit.com
Petworth Literary Festival Weekend
Line up includes: Andy McNab, David Starkey, AN Wilson, Alan Johnson, Terry Waite, Lauren Child, Jane Hawking, Irma Kurtz, Simon Cooper, Peter Hennessy, Christian Hill, Michael Billington and John Suchet. Also a special spoken performance by Ruth Rosen and Tobias Churton to celebrate the work of William Blake.
11th - 14th November 2015
Includes a wide range of exciting and stimulating sessions, with writers include Louis de Bernieres, Bruce Robinson and Linton Kwesi Johnson. All completely free!
Hampstead Arts Festival
London History Festival
Richmond Upon Thames Literature Festival
Runs through November. Highlights in 2014 include Sheila Hancock, journalist Peter Snow, Dr Irving Finkel and British designer Emma Bridgewater.
Cambridge Winter Literary Festival
30th November 2014. More details:
Southwold Literature Festival
6 - 10 November 2014. Part of the Ways with Words series of literature festivals, held in the seaside resort of Southwold, Suffolk
RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London
A showcase for the world’s most talented garden designers
The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair
Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London
Features over 90 of the world’s leading dealers
LAPADA Antiques And Fine Art Fairs
May: LAPADA@TheRoyalAcademy, 6 Burlington Gardens
Please note: Every effort has been made to ensure information is correct at time of posting, but if you are making your own arrangements to attend please check dates and programme details beforehand with the festival concerned.