floating book in shelves by jaredd-craig-unsplash.-

Book and literary festivals in the UK

I’m a big reader (in volume rather than quality, life’s too short to just spend time reading books you ‘should’ be reading, rather than those you want to). But I’ve never been to a book festival. I do have one locally I’m planning to visit one year, but there’s plenty of literary festivals around the UK which cover many genres and are open to anyone – often for free. Some ticketed.

Which country reads the most? India seems to come out on top for number of books an average person reads a week, and also the amount of time spent reading. Although there do seem to be a lot of gaps in the various websites due to lack of consistent sources (I do wonder whether the numbers include for study as well as leisure)

Biggest book festival in the world? Jaipur Literature Festival – world’s largest free literary festival, held annually with international guests, writers and performances (held in Janury)

Largest book festival in Europe? Frankfurt Book Fair – which is a trade fair for books.

If you’re in (or visiting) the UK, here’s the annual rotation of larger literary festivals in the UK. For both general festivals, and where they have book festivals for children. If you want to know more, always sign up to their newsletters for the latest news.

book festivals in the uk

Literary festivals 2024 in the UK

Oxford Literary Festival – 16 to 24th March 2024. Held in colleges and historic venues across the city centre.

Chipping Norton Literary festival – Usually in April.  

The Bath Festival – 17 to 26th May 2024. Get to see the city through the gorgeous historic venues.

Hay festival – 23 May to 2nd June 2024, not only the literature and arts festival, but also lots of bookshops to visit! Also Hay Festivals in Peru, Mexico, Spain and Colombia

Stoke Newington literary festival – Usually early June.

Bradford Literature Festival – 28 June to 7 July 2024 for the 10th anniversary year. Known for its inclusivity  

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate 18-21st July 2024.

Edinburgh International Book Festival – 10th to 15th August 2024. Venues are moving in 2024 to a new venue at Edinburgh Future’s Institute.  

Bloody Scotland, Stirling – 13th to 15th September 2024. Crime writing festival with a fun side (including a football match!)

Wigtown Book Festival, Scotland – 27th September to 5th October 2024. More than 30 family events, alongside the main programme, and YA sessions.  

North Cornwall Book festival – 27th to 29th September 2024.  

Edinburgh Womens Fiction Festival – 27th to 28th September 2024, new literary festival celebrating writing for, by, and about women.

Burford Literary festival – 3 day festival usually in September.

Noirwich Crime Writing Festival, Norwich – dates not released for 2024, but usually in September.. A fast growing crime writing and reading festival, main venue University of East Anglia  

Henley literary festival – 28th Sep to 6th October 2024. Over 100 talks, performances and conversations, many held online as well as in person. Pop up events also happening.  

Birmingham Literature Festival – 3rd to 6th October 2024. Venues are Birmingham REP theatre, The Exchange on Centenary Square and the Roundhouse. There’s a number of walking events around the city.  

Guildford book festival – 6th to 20th October 2024.  

Cheltenham Literature Festival – Usually early to mid October.  

Black British book festival – Usually October with events around the UK.  

Durham Book Festival – Usually in October. Takes place at Gala Durham, Clayport Library and Collected Books.  

Ilkley Literature festival – October  

Berwick literary festival – usually held in October.

London Literature festival – 23rd October to 3rd November 2024 at the Southbank centre,

Wimbledon Book Fest – 17th to 31st October 2024, held at Wimbledon High School, Wimbledon Library, and New Wimbledon Theatre.  

Stroud Book Festival – 6th to 10th November 2024.

Tring Book Festival – held in November. Venues across Tring and nearby area.

Words by the Water festival, Cumbria – brings together readers and writers in the 10 days programme but was cancelled last year due to cost of living crisis. Look out for this potentially returning in future.

floating book in shelves by jaredd-craig-unsplash.-

Children’s books festivals in the UK

Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank London (February), includes theatre and other events by authors.

Oxford Literary Festival (March)

Essex book Festival (March) – uses a mix of venues, and options to participate in the Passport to Learning scheme, where stamps can be collected for attending events.

Shropshire bookfest (May) – only exclusively children’s literary festival in the UK

Hay Festival (May) – kids programme ‘Haydays’.

Barnes Children’s literature Festival (May). They also do outreach to state primary schools in London.

Chiddingstone Literary Festival (May) – more intimate setting, talks, theatre performances, workshops etc.

Pop up Festival (June)  – a national schools literature programme, with authors and illustrators going into schools, libraries, museums and galleries in England and Wales.

Edinburgh International Book Festival (August) – tented village in the middle of Edinburgh. The Children’s festival offers over 200 events.

Henley literature festival (September)

Bath Children’s literature festival (Sep-Oct) – largest dedicated kids literature festival in Europe.

Cheltenham Literature Festival (Oct) – programme for families and young readers

Appledore book festival (September/October) – 10 day event, including a schools week.

Ilkley literature children’s festival (October) – aimed at 3-12 year olds.

London Literature festival (October) – ties in with half term. As well as for younger children, there’s also a Young Adult programme.

Northern Children’s book festival (November) – 2 weeks of book based activities across the north east region.

Are there any other literary festivals around the world I should add to my list, or others in the UK?

Love it? Then share it

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *