Literary festivals in the UK

There are now literary festivals throughout the year in the UK, and in most areas of the country. The largest ones include:

  • The FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival, at the end of March
  • The Hay Festival, in late May
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival, in August
  • Cheltenham Festival of Literature, in mid October

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.

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


Wordsworth Trust - Weekend Arts and Book Festival
A residential course of lectures, surgeries and workshops at the Thistle Hotel in Grasmere


LSE Literary Festival
LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival, in partnership with the Times Literary Supplement. Takes place on the LSE Campus in London. All events are free (!), but you need to book. More info: LSE Space for Thought Festival


Words by the Water
At the Theatre by the Lake, Keswick. The north-west of England's premier festival of words and ideas.
Info and Booking: Words by the Water

Write by the Beach
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:

Essex Book Festival
Comprising 60+ events in over 30 venues across the county, including theatres, libraries, schools, universities, through to cafes, art galleries.

Suffolk Libraries Bookfest
Launched in 2015. See for details.

Chagword Literary Festival
Dartmoor's literary festival. See for details.

Aldeburgh Literary Festival

Oswestry Litfest
Celebrates words written, spoken and sung. See

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

North London Literary Festival
New annual festival held at Middlesex University in Hendon /

King's Sutton Literary Festival
A weekend festival in this charming village close to Banbury, Oxfordshire

FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival
Attracts a wide range of major writers to speak and read from their work, as well as a creative writing workshop.


The FT Oxford Literary Festival
The Festival presents over 200 authors, covering all areas of writing, plus events for children.

Abergavenny Writing Festival
Three packed days and evenings of talks, workshops, storytelling, readings and performances at the Kings Arms Hotel and other venues in Abergavenny. 11-13 April 2019

Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetry
Trinity College, Cambridge. Takes place each year towards the end of April

Cambridge Wordfest
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:

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.
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
Fowey, Cornwall

The Independent Bath Literature Festival
A programme featuring over 100 different literary events, from debates and lectures to readers' groups, workshops and films in venues throughout the city.

Lincoln Book Festival

HowTheLightGetsIn Festival
The world's biggest philosophy and music festival takes place bi-annually in Hay on Wye and London, bringing together a signature blend of debates, talks, comedy and performance. Festival-goers will meet the planet's greatest thinkers, from philosophers to Nobel prize winners, from the most perceptive novelists to the most incisive columnists.

The London festival takes place at Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath - in September. More info

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.

Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival
Includes readings, workshops, talks, film, music, theatre, exhibition and even a 'poetry walk'.


Word – University of Aberdeen Writers Festival

Swaledale Festival

Wealdon Literary Festival
The brainchild of outdoor and sustainable environment enthusiasts Laura and Andrew Willan, the festival includes writers, environmentalists, makers, and nature activities.
Info & tickets:

Grassington Festival
A general arts and music festival with some literary events

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. See

Worcestershire Literary Festival
An array of spoken word events, seminars, theatre performances, and more, to inspire, entertain, and educate.
See the programme at

Chalke Valley History Festival
Growing history festival, now sponsored by the Daily Mail
See the programme at 

"This first summer month..." A Celebration of the world famous mystical masterpiece The Ruba'iya't of Omar Khayya'm at St Ehelburga's Centre for reconciliation and peace.


TS Eliot Festival
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.
Details and booking:

Buxton Festival
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
Events bringing together indie authors from around the UK. Includes talks, workshops and readings.
More info:

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


Happy Days 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
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, takes place in the village of Llangwm. Details:

Takes place in Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire.
Ongoing festival celebrating the link between nature and writing. For details see 


Festival of Writing in York
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

Soho Literary Festival

Chiswick Book Festival

Festival of Writing in York
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.

Budleigh Salterton Literary festival
18-22 September 2019, a wonderful and varied line up by the sea in Budleigh Salterton, including: Dame Hilary Mantel, Robert Harris, Cressida Cowell, Jenny Eclair, James Runcie, Kirsty Wark, Joanne Harris, Louis de Bernières, Tom Holland, Susie Orbach and many more…

Cliveden Literary Festival
at Cliveden House, the famous (infamous?) stately home in Berkshire.  Has a stellar lineup of speakers, and described by Ian McEwan as "Probably the world's best small literary festival."
More information and tickets:

Wigtown Festival
Scotland's national book town

Bournemouth Literary Festival
A world or words in Bournemouth

Henley Literary Festival

Everybody's Reading
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

Manchester Literature Festival
Runs through October and November and presents a wide array of events

Cuckfield Book Festival
Like all the best things, Cuckfield Book Festival was born out of a discussion over a glass of wine one summer Friday evening. Takes place in Cuckfield, West Sussex. 5-7 October 2018. More information at

Berwick upon Tweed Literary Festival
The Small and Friendly Festival in a Historic Walled Town. 2019 dates: October 17-20. For more information:

Loogabarooga Festival of Illustrated Children's Literature 
in Loughborough 18-24 October 2017
With Waterstones Children's Laureate, Lauren Child on the Wednesday with Charlie and Lola parties and many more fun events on this and following days.

Frinton Literary Festival

Beverley Literature Festival
Offering a programme featuring over 40 contemporary writing events. Information at:

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

Wirral Bookfest

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
At The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea.


DIVA Literary festival
The inaugural DIVA Literary Festival and Awards are taking place at the Hilton Metropole, NEC Birmingham on 3-5 November 2017.
Programme aims to reflect the diversity of the LGBT community, providing a platform for the voices and experiences of queer people. Authors include Val McDermid, Stella Duffy, Kiki Archer, VG Lee, Mari Hannah, Clare Ashton, Veronica Fearon, Lucy Sutcliffe, Karen McLeod and many more.
More info & Booking:

Aldeburgh International Poetry Festival

Bridport Literary Festival
At venues all around town. More information at

Petworth Literary Festival Weekend
Always an interesting and varied line up:

Literary Leicester
Includes a wide range of exciting and stimulating sessions, all completely free!

Hampstead Arts Festival

London History Festival

Richmond Upon Thames Literature Festival
Runs through November.

Cambridge Winter Literary Festival
More details:

Southwold Literature Festival
Part of the Ways with Words series of literature festivals, held in the seaside resort of Southwold, Suffolk

Other Festivals of Interest

RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London in May
A showcase for the world’s most talented garden designers

The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair
Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London in June
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.

Contact us about literary festivals

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