Cliveden House Hotel near London

The Best Literary Festivals of 2021-2022

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Reading glasses at the ready; there’s plenty for book-lovers to celebrate at these literary festivals

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Calling all lit-lovers; you might have missed your favourite literary festivals in 2020 (amongst other things…), but they’re back with a bang for 2021. Here’s what not to miss. 

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Best Literary Festivals of 2021-2022

Petworth Festival

Sebastian Faulks

Sebastian Faulks by Still Moving

When? 29 October – 7 November 2021

Where? West Sussex

What? You can always guarantee a star-studded line-up of guests at this illustrious literary extravaganza. This year’s event features names like Gyles Brandreth, Joan Bakewell, Sebastian Faulks and Max Egremont, plus fun events for children including a Harry Potter wand making session and a quiz hosted by Andrew Pettie, the author of Listified, Britannica’s much-loved book of 300 lists.


Cheltenham Literature Festival

When? 2022 dates TBC

Where? Select venues across Cheltenham

What? The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is the UK’s oldest literary festival. Each year’s fantastic line-up welcomes some of the best and brightest of the literary and entertainment spheres for an exciting programme of over 500 workshops, interviews and debates. Highlights for this year included Booker-winning writer Bernardine Evaristo and Talk Art podcast hosts Russell Tovey and Robert Diament.


North Cornwall Book Festival


When? 2022 dates TBC

Where? St Endellion Church, Port Isaac

What? North Cornwall Book Festival offers something slightly different. As an independent, locally-run literary festival, this largely unknown event may not pull some of the bigger names you’ve seen at the country’s larger literary celebrations, however, for what it lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in passion and authenticity. With an abundance of workshops, readings and performances on offer across the weekend, this is certainly not one to miss.


DESIblitz Literature Festival

Saima Mir

When? 2022 dates TBC

Where? Birmingham

What? DESIblitz Literature Festival is a celebration of the exceptional writing coming out of South Asia and its Diaspora. This year’s line-up included Sarfraz Manzoor, author of new book They: What Muslims and Non-Muslims Get Wrong About Each Other; writer Tahmima Anam, internationally acclaimed poet Imtiaz Dharker; and novelist Saima Mir, whose Bradford crime novel is currently being optioned for TV.


Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

When? July 2022

Where? Harrogate

What? This award-winning festival celebrates crime fiction at its best. Curated by chair Ian Rankin, the 2021 line-up featured Richard Osman with the second instalment of The Thursday Murder Club series, espionage expert Mick Herron and Shetland author Ann Cleeves, among many other top names.


Queen’s Park Book Festival

When? 2022 dates TBC

Where? Queen’s Park, London

What? Queen’s Park Book Festival boasts a wonderful literary history as a home to authors, artists, poets, and actors, carrying on this legacy by creating a platform for other young aspiring writers to be discovered. Visitors this year enjoyed talks from the likes of Annie Mac, Anita Sethi, Ingrid Persaud, John Mullan, and Posy Simmonds, as well as performances from local poets and parties in the evenings.


Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival

When? 21 – 24 October 2021


What? Previous speakers have included a host of literary icons, such as Louise Minchin, Sir Tim Waterstone, and Tom Bradby. In 2019, former Prime Minister David Cameron appeared for an exclusive conversation with James Langlade, the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent, discussing his controversial memoir For the Record. 


Cliveden Literary Festival

Cliveden House Hotel near London

When? 23 – 24 October 2021

Where? Cliveden House, Buckinghamshire

What? Situated amongst the spectacular surroundings of British country estate, Cliveden House – renowned for its literary salons since 1666, favoured by the likes of Alexander Pope and Sir Winston Churchill – this historic literary festival is not one to be missed. This year’s star-studded line-up features Emerald Fennell, Lionel Shriver, Dan Jones, Elif Shafak and many more renowned thinkers and writers.


Essex Book Festival

When? 6 June – 29 August 2021

Where? Online and in venues across the county of Essex

What? Essex Book Festival organisers have given the go-ahead for this year’s event, which is set to take place between June and August. A statement on the festival website has declared that a number of events will continue to take place online, but that it is hoped in-person events can also take place, including a compelling programme of author/artist walks across the county in partnership with three Essex Book Camps. Expect enthralling outdoor talks, workshops, performances and more.


Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival

When? 13 – 14 March 2021 / 15 – 19 September 2021

Where? Devon and the South West

What? If you can’t wait until September for this year’s Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival, you’ll be pleased to hear that you can join the event’s Online Spring Weekend next month, with guest appearances from the likes of journalist Tim Marshall, President of the Royal Society of Literature, Marina Warner, author and illustrator Sophy Henn.


London Literature Festival

When? 21 – 31 October 2021

Where? South Bank Centre

What? There’s always a heavy-weight line-up of the biggest authors and speakers at the capital’s most talked-about literary festival of the year. Previous speakers have included the likes of Hilary Clinton, Philip Pullman and Tom Hanks take to the stage for individually-ticketed events. Stay tuned for what is sure to be an equally sensational 2021 line-up.


Henley Literary Festival

When? 2 – 10 October 2021

Where? A series of fantastic venues including Phyllis Court and The Hibernia at Hobbs Boat Yard.

What? Henley Literary Festival returns this autumn with what is sure to be an impressive line-up of speakers, workshops performances and Q&As with a long list of illustrious authors. Previous guests have included Mary Berry, Nadiya Hussain, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Julian Clary to name a few.



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