Cliveden House Hotel near London

Literary Festivals To Get Excited For In 2023

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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 book lovers: there’s plenty to be excited about on the 2023 literary calendar. Here are the literary festivals not to miss in the New Year. 

Literary Festivals To Get Excited For In 2023

  • July: Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Petworth Festival
  • September: North Cornwall Book Festival, Cliveden Literary Festival
  • October: Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival, Cheltenham Literature Festival, London Literature Festival, Henley Literary Festival, Queen’s Park Book Festival
  • November: DESIblitz Literature Festival

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

When? 20–23 July 2023

Where? Harrogate

What? This award-winning festival celebrates crime fiction at its best. Curated by chair Denise Mina, 2022’s line-up included The Girl on the Train author Paula Hawkins, Lynda La Plante and Michael Connelly, writer of the acclaimed Harry Bosch series. Festival favourite Val McDermid also returned with her New Blood panel, showcasing four exciting debut crime writers to look out for. Keep your eyes peeled for news about 2023.

How? harrogateinternationalfestivals.com

Hugh Bonneville

Gavin Bond

Petworth Festival

When? 12–29 July 2023

Where? West Sussex

What? You can always guarantee a star-studded line-up of guests at this illustrious literary extravaganza. The 2023 lineup is yet to be announced, but the 2022 instalment featured a whole host of big names, from Hugh Bonneville to Ben Okri and Kate Mosse, Charlotte Mullins discussing the power of art, Michael Parkinson on the world of sport, Andrew Gimson on being Boris Johnson’s biographer, and much more.

How? petworthfestival.org.uk

North-Cornwall-Book-Festival2

North Cornwall Book Festival

When? 21–24 September 2023

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.

How? ncornbookfest.org

Cliveden House Hotel near London

Cliveden Literary Festival

When? 30 September–1 October 2023

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, highlights included Succession‘s Brian Cox on becoming Logan Roy, expert panels on Putin’s Russia, and Louise Perry on the sexual revolution.

How? clivedenliteraryfestival.org

Susie Dent

John Lawrence

Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival

When? 19–22 October 2023

Where? Harrogate

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. In 2022, speakers included Susie Dent, David Lascelles, Stephen May and more.

How? harrogateinternationalfestivals.com

Cheltenham Literature Festival

When? 6–15 October 2023

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 2022 included Stanley Tucci, Kamila Shamsie, Ian McEwan, Mary Berry and many more top names.

How? cheltenhamfestivals.com

Greta Thunberg

Kim Jakobsen To

London Literature Festival

When? 2023 TBC (in 2022, the London Literature Festival took place between 20–30 October)

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. The equally sensational programme for 2022 includes Graham Norton, Anne-Marie, Malorie Blackman, plus a panel of climate voices hosted by Greta Thunberg. Keep your eyes peeled for 2023’s announcements.

How? southbankcentre.co.uk

Henley Literary Festival

When? 2023 TBC (in 2022, the Henley Literary Festival took place between 1–9 October)

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

What? Henley Literary Festival returned this autumn with an impressive line-up of speakers, workshops, performances and Q&As with a long list of illustrious authors. Highlights included David Dimbleby, Ella Mills, Lenny Henry, Rosemary Shrager, Jenny Packham, Mel C and many more big names. Stay tuned for details of the 2023 event.

How? henleyliteraryfestival.co.uk

Queen's Park Book Festival

Queen’s Park Book Festival

When? 2023 TBC (in 2022, Queen’s Park Book Festival took place on 17 & 18 October)

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 had the chance to see names like Robert Harris, Clover Stroud and Juliet Rosenfeld, plus Oskar Jensen and Dr John Woolf discussed the hidden stories of marginalized Victorians.

How? queensparkbookfestival.co.uk

Saima Mir

Saima Mir

DESIblitz Literature Festival

When? 2023 TBC (in 2022, the DESIblitz Literature Festival took place from 12–25 November 2022)

Where? Birmingham

What? The DESIblitz Literature Festival is all about celebrating British South Asian talent in the books sphere. In 2022, it featured a mix of in-person and digital events, from author talks to panel discussions and workshops. The line-up included the likes of Ready Steady Cook chef Romy Gill, author Saima Mir, DJ Tommy Sandhu and children’s author Bali Rai. Budding writer? A whole host of literary names also took to the stage to discuss their top tips for getting published.

How? desiblitz.com

Featured image: Cliveden House Hotel