2022’s Best Literary Festivals Across London and the UK to Book Now
Calling all book lovers; there’s plenty to be excited about on the 2022 literary calendar. Here are the literary festivals not to miss this year.
Literary festivals place throughout the year in the UK. Many are small local events featuring local authors and writing workshops and others are huge affairs that attract the big names in literature, media and show business.
Celebrate the power of the written word at these mind-expanding literary fests!
Southbank Centre | Literature & Poetry events this April
Out-Spoken Masterclass: Sat 9 Apr, 1pm
Part of Out-Spoken | St Paul’s Roof Pavilion, Level 6, Blue Side, Royal Festival Hall
Will Harris, the author of RENDANG, leads this month’s poetry workshop, taking poets of all abilities through writing exercises modelled on his own approach.
This three-hour session gives poets of all abilities the chance to gain new insights into the methods and approaches of acclaimed writers. Will Harris is a London-based writer. His debut poetry book RENDANG (2020) is published by Granta in the UK and Wesleyan University Press in the US. It was a Poetry Book Society Choice, shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize and won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.
Out-Spoken: April | Thu 21 Apr, 7.45pm
Location:Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
Witness the reveal of this year’s winner of the Out-Spoken Prize For Poetry, with Hannah Lowe, Yomi Ṣode, Seán Hewitt, Nikita Gill and Martha Sprackland.
The evening consists of performances from six shortlisted poets in each category – page, performance and film.
The event also features performances from the 2020 winners: Kym Deyn, Marissa Mireles-Hinds and Jasmine Gardosi.
As ever, the night is hosted by Joelle Taylor, with Sam ‘Junior’ Bromfield spinning the best in reggae, soul and R&B throughout the evening.
Oxford Literary Festival 2022
The Oxford Literary Festival will return in October 2021 with a series of events leading up to a 10-day Oxford Literary Festival 2022 between Friday 25 March and Sunday 03 April 2022.
The Oxford Literary Festival is a world-class literary event that brings together leading authors and public figures in a magnificent setting in the central university area of Oxford each year.
The festival events mostly take place around two vibrant hubs in Oxford City Centre namely the Blackwell’s Marquee, next to the Sheldonian Theatre, Bodleian Library and Weston Library, and Worcester College, in Walton Street. There is a ten-minute walk between the two hubs.
See full list of remaining events here
Breaking The Maafa Chain | Anni Domingo Interviewed by Valerie Brandes
Friday, 1 April 2022
Shakespearean actress Anni Domingo talks about her debut novel, Breaking The Maafa Chain, and about the challenges of re-evaluating the realities of the past in historical fiction.
The novel is a telling of the true story of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, who was sold into slavery, rescued from execution, and became Queen Victoria’s goddaughter and a prominent abolitionist. It follows Bonetta’s life in Victorian England and the life of her sister, who is sent to America as a slave. Domingo will talk about diversity in historical fiction and about becoming an author in her seventies.
Domingo is an actress, director and writer who has worked in radio, television, film and theatre. She recently toured Robert Icke’s The Doctor to Australia. She also lectures at St Mary’s University in Twickenham, Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, and at RADA. Here she talks to Valerie Brandes, chief executive of her publisher, Jacaranda Books.
(image: Dr Anni Domingo | Valerie Brandes founder &CEO of Jacaranda)
For full details and last minute tickets here
Stratford Literary Festival
A major literary festival based in Stratford upon Avon that runs events across 8 days in May, then a shorter series of events in the Autumn. The festival run events in schools and projects in the community with older people. There will also be writing workshops in prisons to enable prisoners to keep in touch with their children.
See all upcoming events here
Cathy Rentzenbrink – Writers’ Workshop: Life and Memoir Writing| Wed 4th May 2022
Location: Stratford Library, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6PZ
If you’re planning a memoir as a legacy or something you can share with children and grandchildren, where do you start? One of the country’s leading memoirists in a stimulating workshop at this year’s Stratford Literary Festival, that will give you impetus and encouragement. It’s suitable either as a jumping off point or as an injection of energy into an ongoing project.
Cathy Rentzenbrink is an acclaimed memoirist whose books include The Last Act of Love and Dear Reader. In 2021 she published her first novel Everyone is Still Alive, and she has a book about how to write a memoir called Write It All Down. All welcome.
Full details and tickets here
Jim Al-Khalili OBE – The Joy of Science | Wed 4th May 2022
Location: Crowne Plaza Hotel Stratford-upon Avon, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6YR
Today’s world is unpredictable and full of contradictions, and navigating its complexities is far from easy. One of the UK’s leading science broadcasters gives us eight short lessons on how to unlock the clarity, empowerment, and joy of thinking and living a little more scientifically.
A theoretical physicist, Jim is a multiple award-winning science communicator renowned for his public engagement around the world. He is a recipient of the Royal Society Michael Faraday medal, the Institute of Physics Kelvin Medal and the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication and is a regular presenter of TV science documentaries. He also hosts the long-running weekly BBC Radio 4 programme, The Life Scientific.
Full details and tickets on upcoming event here
The Bath Festival
The Bath Festival celebrates music and books in a beautiful city.
The festival returns from the 13 – 21st May 2022!
Bath Festivals is a charity that brings some of the finest international musicians, speakers and writers to entertain audiences, in the beautiful venues and spaces of the Bath world heritage city.
By creating innovative and diverse programmes, the festivals held inspire and provide unique experiences for residents and visitors to Bath.
Collection events taking place at the Bath Festival:
- Rising Classical Music Stars
- A Collection for the Curious Mind
- Poems, Prose and Music
- Art of Expression
- Brought Together for Bath
- New Talent
- Mind and Body
- Bath Focus
- Fabulous Fiction
- Love and Laughter
- Current Affairs
- Creative Writing
- Sharing Stories
Read more on each of the collection events here
To sign up to email updates and to be the first to find out about the latest news on the upcoming Bath Festival, click here.
Classical Music Rising Star – JENEBA KANNEH-MASON | Tuesday 17 May 2022
Location:The Holburne Museum
At 19 years of age Jeneba is the third member of the extraordinary Kanneh-Mason family to reach the final stages of BBC Young Musician of the Year. Still a student at the Royal College of Music she is already developing a remarkable career including a debut at the 2021 BBC Proms with Chineké Orchestra. Her programme ranges from the elegance of Mozart to the virtuoso fireworks of Scriabin and Liszt.
Full details and tickets here
For full details on the upcoming Bath Festival this Spring/Summer and to book your tickets click here.
Hay Festival | 26 May – 5 June
Hay Festival is one of the worlds’ leading art and literature festivals, bringing readers and writers together to share stories and ideas in events live and online. The festivals inspire, examine and entertain globally, inviting participants to imagine the world as it is and as it might be.
Nobel Prize winners and novelists, scientists and politicians, historians, environmentalists and musicians take part in the Festival’s global conversation, sharing the latest thinking in the arts and sciences with curious audiences. A wide programme of education and outreach work runs alongside all of the Festival’s events, supporting coming generations of writers and culturally hungry audiences.
Earlybird events for Hay 2022 | Events taking place live from 26 MAY – 5 JUNE 2022
Shakespeare’s Globe on Tour | JULIUS CAESAR
Friday 27 May 2022, 7pm–9pm | Venue: Hay Castle
A new collaboration with Shakespeare’s Globe brings nine performances of Julius Caesar to a specially commissioned open-air theatre at the newly renovated Hay Castle. The travelling company of actors will bring to life Shakespeare’s political thriller with a stripped back production made fresh for our world today.
Book tickets here
Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism
Saturday 28 May 2022, 2.30pm | Venue: Festival Friends Stage
One of the world’s most exciting and original economists, Mariana Mazzucato calls for new levels of boldness and experimentation to be applied to the biggest social and political issues of our time: inequality, disease and climate change.
Mazzucato argues we need to rethink the capacities and role of government within the economy and society, launching new ‘missions’ that require and incentivise innovation in all sectors to achieve a common goal. Her ‘mission-oriented’ approach means fundamentally changing the relationship between public and private, making them together more genuinely purpose-driven. By equipping government with the tools, organisation and culture it needs to drive social missions on a scale not seen before, we can aim for changes that really matter to people and the planet.
Bernardine Evaristo| MANIFESTO
Saturday 4 June 2022, 4pm | Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
The powerful, urgent manifesto on never giving up from Booker Prize-winning trailblazer, Bernardine Evaristo.
Bernardine Evaristo’s 2019 Booker win – the first by a Black woman – was a revolutionary moment both for British culture and for her. After three decades as a trailblazing writer, teacher and activist, she moved from the margins to centre stage, taking her place in the spotlight at last. Her journey was a long one, but she made it, and she made history.
Manifesto is Bernardine Evaristo’s intimate and inspirational, no-holds-barred account of how she did it, refusing to let any barriers stand in her way. She charts her creative rebellion against the mainstream and her lifelong commitment to the imaginative exploration of ‘untold’ stories. And drawing deeply on her own experiences, she offers a vital contribution to current conversations around social issues such as race, class, feminism, sexuality and aging.
Tickets available online at the moment are for attending in-person only – online tickets will be available for some events on release of the full programme in April.
To receive updates, sign up here.
See the full line up for the upcoming festival here
Cheltenham Literature Festival | Literature, 7 – 16 October 2022
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.
Still leading the way in celebrating the written and spoken word, the world’s first literature festival will Read the World, presenting the best new voices in fiction and poetry alongside literary greats and high-profile speakers. The Festival’s pioneering mix of in-person and online events won it a coveted FutureBook 2020: Best Lockdown Event award and its Literature for Schools programme inspires a love of books in thousands of school children.
In 2021 launched a three-year theme for the Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival called Read the World, this will continue to feature in our 2022 Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival.
This is your passport to a world of ideas bringing together an international cohort of writers and thinkers. At the Festival we will be looking to books to help us understand more about the world, taking in the key issues of the day and exploring different perspectives and cultural norms from around the globe.
Through reaching out internationally and working in partnership with international literature festivals, universities and think tanks we promise to bring you one of our most diverse programmes to date presenting the very best in new writing.
Building on the success of last year’s Full Scale Festival we will be featuring talent from across the globe online and in-person.
Full details of our 2022 Read the World Programme will be announced soon. Click here for full updates.