The C&TH Guide To Cheltenham Literature Festival 2023

By Olivia Emily

8 months ago

LITerally the best line-up ever?

The best in the literary business will return to Cheltenham very soon for the 10-day The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2023, a mixture of ticketed talks, free family activities and enlightening events. Here’s everything you need to know before you go.

Cheltenham Literature Festival 2023

Cheltenham Literature Festival

The History of Cheltenham Literature Festival

Founded in 1949 by Spa Manager George Wilkinson and author John Moore, the Cheltenham Literature Festival is the oldest literary festival in the world (though it is slightly pre-dated by the Cheltenham Music Festival, which formed in 1945). Moore served as the festival’s first director, booking actor Ralph Richardson and poet Cecil Day-Lewis for the first edition, the former being born in Cheltenham and the latter teaching at Cheltenham College. It has grown to become one of Britain’s most prestigious literary events, with renowned authors, thinkers and artists flocking from across the globe to host talks, workshops, debates and readings.

It’s not just literature, but film, dance, visual arts and the spoken word are all well represented at this 10-day festival, which takes over the spa town’s pretty Montpellier Gardens, with events also taking place at Cheltenham Town Hall and Imperial Square.

Cheltenham Literature Festival

What To See In 2023

It’s another stellar line-up at Cheltenham this year, with the return of the Lit Crawl bringing the festival into the town for free, as well as free entertainment in The Huddle, and the Wild Wood activities for families to get stuck into.

As for talks, our top picks include:

  • Now You See Me: 100 Years of Black Design, hosted by Péjú Oshin and Charlene Prempeh, delving into the impact of Black designers across every industry
  • Dinner with Michel Roux as he shares the mouth-watering everyday recipes he enjoys cooking and eating with family and friends
  • The Year In Books with an expert panel featuring Sunday Times Literary Editor Robbie Millen, book journalist and author Caroline Sanderson, journalist and editor Sarah Shaffi, and award winning author and Founder Director of the Women’s Prize, Kate Mosse
  • The World in 2050; Peter Frankopan and his panel of experts discuss how we might build a peaceful, green and healthy future
  • On the Farm with Julius Roberts – a two course seasonal lunch and glass of wine with the chef as he shares stories from the farm
  • Queer Love, Actually: YA writers discuss the rise of LGBTQ+ fiction
  • Everyday Action, Everyday Change: a family-friendly event exploring how we can make the world more equal.

See the full lineup and purchase tickets at

Cheltenham Literature Festival


Festival Village, Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 1UL


6–15 October 2023


Book your tickets at