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.
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: 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.
Suffolk Libraries Bookfest
Launched in 2015. See www.suffolklibraries.co.uk/bookfest for details.
Chagword Literary Festival
Dartmoor's literary festival. See www.chagword.com for details.
Aldeburgh Literary Festival
Celebrates words written, spoken and sung. See www.oswestrylifest.co.uk
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
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.
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.
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
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
The world's biggest philosophy and music festival returns, bringing its 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.
This year's theme is 'Darkness, Authority and Dreams', exploring the threats to society looming on the horizon. Speakers announced so far include Noam Chomsky, Sophie Fiennes, Polly Toynbee, David Nutt.
Takes place at Hay, 25th - 28th May 2018. More info and, for a limited time, early bird tickets available from https:/hay.htlgi.iai.tv
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. http://www.boswellbookfestival.co.uk
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'. www.bodminmoorpoetryfestival.co.uk
Word – University of Aberdeen Writers 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: www.wealdenliteraryfestival.co.uk
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 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
"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, London June 28th 2018 at 8.00pm.
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: 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
Events bringing together indie authors from around the UK. Includes talks, workshops and readings.
More info: http://www.ukindielitfest.com
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
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: www.llangwmlitfest.co.uk
Takes place in Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire.
Ongoing festival celebrating the link between nature and writing. For details see www.niddfest.com
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
Cliveden Literary Festival
at Cliveden House, the famous (infamous?) stately home in Berkshire. 29-30 September 2018. Has a stellar lineup of speakers, and described by Ian McEwan as "Probably the world's best small literary festival."
More information and tickets: http://clivedenliteraryfestival.org
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
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 Cuckfieldbookfest.co.uk
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.
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. www.loogabarooga.com
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
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: www.divaliteraryfestival.com
Aldeburgh International Poetry Festival
Bridport Literary Festival
At venues all around town. More information at www.bridlit.com
Petworth Literary Festival Weekend
Always an interesting and varied line up: http://www.petworthfestival.org.uk
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: http://www.cambridgeliteraryfestival.com/
Southwold Literature Festival
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 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.