Whether you love novels, children's books or poetry, you'll be well catered for this autumn with a wide variety of events taking place across the UK
If you love reading, then you've probably spent plenty of time during lockdown getting stuck into some riveting books.
While we have no doubt that would've been a wholly enjoyable experience, now that things are starting to reopen, you have the chance to get out there and really indulge your passion. Throughout the autumn, there are numerous literary events happening across the UK, enabling you to discover the latest titles, attend readings and listen to your favourite authors discussing their work. You never know, you might even be inspired to write a book of your own...
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Chiswick Book Festival
This popular festival in west London will be welcoming back live audiences this year, with a smorgasbord of literary favourites set to talk about their latest books. With the likes of Bonnie Greer, Dr Amir Khan, Gyles Brandreth and Clare Balding all having signed up for the event, there'll be something for everyone. There will also be an evening dedicated to local authors promoting their latest offerings.
Queen's Park Book Festival
18 & 19 September
The only London book festival to be held in a public park, this event is as idyllic as it is inspirational. This year, the tomes being discussed focus on everything from football to fashion, cookery to current affairs – and there will even be some stand-up comedy thrown in for good measure. The weekend will be rounded off by an after-party on the Sunday, with DJs providing some late-summer sounds.
DESIblitz Literature Festival
18 September – 1 October
Committed to “encouraging the creation and development of the arts, especially among British Asians from South Asian communities,” DESIblitz Arts now hosts its own annual festival. This year, events will take place either at venues across Birmingham or online, with highlights including conversations with authors Tahmima Anam and Sarfraz Manzoor, and workshops on publishing your own work.
North Cornwall Book Festival
Photo: North Cornwall Book Festival
Cornwall is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year, but there's an extra motive for heading to the south west this week – the annual North Cornwall Book Festival is taking place in the tiny hamlet of St Endellion. Alongside a varied programme of talks, writers' surgeries and concerts, there will be a 'Padstow Bookseller' marquee, food and drink stalls, plus a portrait gallery.
Bath Children's Literature Festival: Reading is Magic
27 September – 1 October
Following its absence in 2020, the popular Reading is Magic festival returns this year – albeit in an online capacity. Over five days, some of the UK's most talented authors, performance poets and illustrators will be beamed into homes and schools across the nation, to help stimulate children's imaginations. Not able to watch it this week? Don't worry – you can stream the content till the end of the year.
Henley Literary Festival
If you thought Henley-on-Thames was only famous for its Regatta, think again! Held at various venues in the Oxfordshire town, as well as online, the Henley Literary Festival always attracts an impressive line-up of guests. And this year is no different, with Ruby Wax, Ed Miliband and Jenny Packham just some of the names who are set to appear.
Cheltenham Literature Festival
One of the world's first – and biggest – literary festivals, this 10-day event traditionally welcomes bookworms from across the globe. This year's programme includes appearances from a long list of top names, including Sebastian Faulks, Richard Osman, Jonathan Dimbleby and Strictly's Shirley Ballas, as well as workshops and discussions on a wide range of topics.
Wells Festival of Literature
Taking place in Cedars Hall, a state-of-the-art performance venue located in the leafy grounds of Wells Cathedral School, this festival has been inspiring book buffs for nearly 30 years. This year's highlights include John Simpson discussing his new novel, Our Friends In Beijing, and Emma Young talking about her extraordinary tome Super Senses: The Science of Your 32 Senses and How to Use Them.
Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival
Now in its 11th year, this festival sees bookworms flock to the North Yorkshire town for four days of word-related fun. As yet, there are no details of who'll be appearing at host venue the Crown Hotel. But with past participants including the likes of former PM David Cameron, British Army veteran Simon Weston CBE and BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin, we reckon you won't be disappointed.
London Literature Festival
Taking place at London's Southbank Centre, this annual festival is always carefully curated to offer something for all interests and age groups. This year's programme – stretching over 11 days – will see authors, poets, celebrities and commentators dealing with the theme of friendship. With everyone from comedian Jack Dee to neuroscientist Anil Seth in tow, it'll make you think, laugh and maybe even cry.
Cliveden Literary Festival
23 & 24 October
Cliveden House in Berkshire – former home of the Astor family – provides the majestic backdrop for this annual extravaganza, once described by author Ian McEwan as “probably the world's best small literary festival”. McEwan won't be in attendance this year, but there will be more than enough speakers to keep you entertained, from Antonia Fraser to Michael Gove, David Baddiel to Kate Mosse.
Stratford Literary Festival
Where better to celebrate literature than in the birthplace of one of the world's most famous writers – William Shakespeare? The programme for this year's Stratford Literary Festival hasn't been announced yet, but with past events offering a variety of bestselling authors, celebrities, workshops, discussions and children's activities, it's definitely one to pencil into your diary.
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Photos: Getty Images, unless otherwise stated