Popular Book Festivals in the UK – Literary Festivals for Readers and Authors

The UK has many literary festivals you can attend, both as a reader and as a writer or author. There will be speeches, lectures, interviews and meet and greets. It is a great series of opportunities for any reader to meet their favorite author or just enjoy days of discussions and lectures on all kinds of topics.

Here are some of the biggest and most interesting literary festivals in the United Kingdom.

Hay Festival

The Hay festival has many events that take place during the entire year, the trick being that they are global events, and not just in the UK. There are, however, two festivals that regularly take place in the UK and those are the Hay-on-Wye festival and the Hay Winter Weekend.

The Hay-on-Wye festival takes place during the start of June, every year, since 1988. Hay-on-Wye is a small town in Wales, known for its attraction to bibliophiles. The town is known for its antiquary bookshops, having more than two dozen of them. The festival attracts around 80,000 people over a period of 10 days. It is a favorite for many in the UK and often called “the Woodstock of the mind”.

The Winter Weekend festival takes place in Hay-on-Wye but during late November. It is usually 4-days long and a smaller version of the larger festival. It is also a more intimate experience, where the focus is on the festivities, among other things.

Ways With Words Festival

Ways With Words is a festival that first took place in 1991. To the organizers of the festival, it became obvious that just one venue was not going to satisfy the many visitors that came to the first festival at Darlington Hall in Darlington in 1991. Since 1991, they added many annual festivals, the most popular one still being the Ways With Words in Darlington. Other than that, their goal is to give attention to both written and spoken word, inviting authors and readers to listen, talk, argue and enjoy.

Words by the Water is another of their festivals, which takes place in the Lake District. It is a ten-day event, just like the main Ways With Words festival, but is situated near a lake, giving it a special atmosphere. The goal remains the same, it just takes place at a different time of the year.

They also organize events for painters, in Italy, though.

Stoke Newington Festival

The Stoke Newington Literary Festival is an annual event which takes place in London. Compared to the previous two festivals, this one is a bit younger. The first festival took place in 2010 and ever since, it has been one of the most favored summer literary events. While the venue might not attract nearly as many visitors as the Hay Festival, it still does a great job of being thought-provoking, a great place for a conversation or argument, as well as simply put, fun.

Even though the UK has a lot of literary festivals, so many that you could spend the entire year traveling from place to place, enjoying the words of others as you go, these three festivals are among the most notable ones. They take place in a different time of the year so you can plan your schedule ahead and visit all three of them.

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