Book Festivals and Events

Book Festivals and Events

If you love reading books but have yet to visit a book festival or even a bookshop event, you are missing out!

With Hay Festival running from 26th May to 5th June and Monty Lit Fest running 10th – 12th June this year, I am very lucky to have two literature festivals in Mid Wales coming up in quick succession.

Hay Festival is a massive literature festival set in the town of Hay-on-Wye. The town itself is known for its numerous book shops and every May the Hay Festival moves onto a field on the edge of the town with authors, publicists and book lovers all descending upon it. Imagine it as the Glastonbury of the book world! It’s a great chance to see authors from far and wide and hear them talk about their work. Many of the authors also engage in book signings, and, if you’re lucky, you may also see them mingling with us readers as they too enjoy the festival.

Quentin Blake at Hay Festival in 2013.
Quentin Blake at Hay Festival in 2013.
Patrick Ness at Hay Festival in 2013.
Patrick Ness at Hay Festival in 2013.

Fear not, if you can’t make it to Hay Festival, you can purchase an online festival pass to watch the events streamed live as they happen. 75 of the 374 events have been carefully selected for readers to watch from the comfort of their own homes or wherever they may be. Online pass holders can also watch the events on replay until midnight on 6th June (just in case you’re busy when they are live-streamed).

Held over 3 days (Friday 10th – Sunday 12th June), Monty Lit Fest is a smaller affair held just down the road from me in the beautiful town of Montgomery. Founded in 2018, Monty Lit Fest is already attracting top authors. From bestselling crime writers such as Janice Hallett and Sophie Hannah to bestselling local authors such as Mike Parker and local poet/artist/writer Frieda Hughes, as well as several writing workshops. This will be my first year of attending, but I’m sure it won’t be my last!

Another brilliant literature festival I would recommend is Harrogate Crime Writing Festival held in July. Those interested in writing their own crime thrillers can take part in various workshops on “Creative Thursday”, followed by an evening of awards and partying. Friday to Sunday is full of events with top authors and experts, you can even join an author dinner and crack a murder mystery case! I sadly won’t be attending this year, but I have attended in the past and have thoroughly enjoyed myself. It is a fantastic opportunity to mingle with fellow crime thriller readers and authors alike.

No Cunning Plan - Tony Robinson
An Evening with Tony Robinson (Booka Bookshop)
An Evening with Damon Hill
An Evening with Damon Hill (Booka Bookshop)

If you can’t afford or get to a literature festival, then check out events held by your local bookshop. Booka Bookshop in Oswestry regularly holds author events at their shop and various venues around the town. I’ve attended many of them including Shetland Tea & Murder Mystery with Ann Cleeves, evenings with F1 drivers such as Damon Hill, Mark Webber and Johnny Hebert, as well as TV stars such as Michael Palin, Louis Theroux and Tony Robinson. My most recent event was An Evening with Lucy Easthope, author of When The Dust Settles, last month. It was a thoroughly interesting and eye-opening evening as Lucy talked about her job as the country’s leading authority on emergency planning and disaster management.

Do you attend book events? Do you have any lined up?

30 comments

  1. Carol says:

    I’ve only attended a small book event some decades back, but these big festivals sound marvelous. Enjoy the coming summer months filled with authors and new books.

  2. Jo says:

    They sound really interesting. I’ve never attended any sort of book festival or even an event at a book shop, but it would be right up my street.

  3. It’s fantastic how Covid has opened up the online world for events such as this, Nikki. It’s possibly the only positive to come from the virus but it’s a good one. These events sound great, and I know my daughter listens to storytelling sessions and the like to support writers and performers.

  4. We have Aye, Write! going on at the moment, but so far the things I have wanted to attend have been at inconvenient times. Next weekend is my last chance. Last year, it was all digital and I watched quite a few events. Even better, for a couple of years I volunteered at it and got to see loads of things that I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen.

  5. Kris P says:

    We have one big book festival in Los Angeles every year. It used to be held at UCLA (my grad school alma mater) but has more recently moved to USC. Traffic into both university areas is a nightmare so I wish they’ve run some of the presentations online. Have a great time!

  6. Jodie says:

    These sound like great book events! I haven’t attended any recently but I certainly have been attending online events. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Lauren says:

    I have never attended an event or festival to do with books! They sound like a lot of fun and a great way to meet other like-minded people. Thank you for sharing.

    Lauren x

  8. Lisa says:

    I used to attend the Bath Literature Festival and the Bath Children’s Literature Festival but I haven’t been to any events for some years now. Hay looks like a good line up, hope you enjoy it!

  9. jeanie says:

    I’ll go to readings at book stores but we don’t have any book festivals around us. I’ve always wanted to go to Hay on Wye — even without the festival. These look like they’d be wonderful events. I’d especially like to go to a mystery book fest!

  10. Ann says:

    I’ve always loved books and reading but although I have been to Hay-on-Wye more than once, I have yet to visit it during Hay Festival.
    What a pity though, that we’ll be arriving just over the border in Shrophire only matter of days after the Monty Lit Fest … xxx

  11. CherryPie says:

    I hope you enjoy the upcoming festivals. I have never attended a festival but I have attended a book launch event where the author sent me tickets to attend. That was something quite special 🙂

  12. Yvonne (@Fiction_Books) says:

    I haven’t attended any bookish events in person, although I have checked out a few of the online events over the years.

    We have visited Hay-on-Wye many times though, as we used to live up that way, near to Burford. Sitting here thinking about it, I realise that was actually MANY years ago now – how time flies. Methinks a return trip must be due by now!

    Enjoy all your planned events 🙂

  13. Book festivals are wonderful. I haven’t been to a book shop event for ages, but last one I went to was amazing. Thanks so much for the info on Hay-on-Wye. I will certainly make a note of that for our travel plans.

    -Soma

  14. Anca says:

    I love the idea of a book festival, but there are quite far from me and more on fiction, which is not the kind of books I read. Maybe next year I will think of visiting one, just for fun.

  15. lisl says:

    I guess from this that you are a big reader, Nikki. In this area Bath Children’s Literary Festival will be held in September this year

  16. I’ve sadly never attended a book festival and I don’t have a local bookshop, other than charity bookshops, WHSmith’s and a recently opened small Waterstones, to do events like that.

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