Whether you are a publisher, author, or book lover, it is great to reach out to see and meet your most beloved authors. Book festivals offer wonderful networking opportunities and we have listed here the ones that we attend, and can therefore recommend.
The Berlin International Literature Festival that has around 180 events and is one of the most popular. The programme includes author interviews, political debates, film adaptations, and children’s literature. It brings together new and traditional streams of literature from around the world. It is usually held every September.
In the USA, one of the largest festivals is the Brooklyn Book Festival. It is the largest free literary event in New York, attracting thousands of people for a week in September. It is primary held for children and young adults, to get them into books and reading. Events are held around several blocks in the city.
The fantastic Buenos Aires International Book Festival is the most important festival in the Spanish-speaking world, and one of the world’s top five literary events. The 20-day festival takes place in late April every year and attracts over a million visitors. There are close to 500 exhibitors at the Argentine Rural Society which makes this literature event a little more interesting.
Held in Washington, DC on the west coast of the USA is The Library of Congress National Book Festival. It is held each August in the National Convention Center and its theme is to encourage young adults and children to spend more time reading. Many of the 40 authors that attend write exclusively for children.
The LA Festival of Books is the most popular book festival on the east coast of the USA. Held in California, it takes place for two days each April, and over 150,000 attend who are involved in literature or are book lovers. Most events are free of charge and held at the University of Southern California.
Cheltenham Literature Festival is held in the heart of the Cotswolds in the city of Cheltenham every October. 130 events are held over ten days and due to the central location, it attracts many leading artists, writers and poets. The #chetlistfest hashtag trends extensively throughout the festival.
One of the most personal crime festivals is the Theakston Old Peculiar Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, sponsored by the local brewery. It is held at the Swan Hotel where Agatha Christie stayed when she famously went missing in 1926. This annual event attracts leading crime writers such as Val McDermid, Lee Child and John Grisham, and runs over a long weekend every July (a week or so before New York’s Thrillerfest).
The Edinburgh International Book Festival is held in Charlotte Square Gardens every Summer for 3 weeks. The festival began in 1983 as a registered charity, and has grown each year to around 900 events. It has spilled over into city locations, which has made the event more interesting, some of which are outdoors to make the most of the August weather.
For the last two weeks of May, in a tented village below the Brecon Beacons, some of the world’s best writers come together for the Hay Festival which is one of the longest running and largest literature festivals in the world. Nestled in the Welsh mountains, guests have included Bill Clinton and Desmond Tutu. Spin offs of the Hay Festival include festivals in different countries including Columbia (Jan), Spain (September), Mexico (Sept), and Peru (Nov).
Oxford Literary Festival is held in the university town of Oxford, usually at the end of March for ten days. They have a programme for children and young people, as well as other events from leading global authors, including a good selection who write non-fiction. There are also tours of Harry Potter inspired buildings and TV filming locations such as those used for fictional detectives such as Morse.
The Sydney Writers Festival runs from the end of April to early May, and is a week of 300 plus events held at the Carriageworks arts hub. Each year, a central theme is chosen, and the events run around that theme featuring Australian and international writers.
One of the largest literature festivals in the world and attended by some of the top crime and thriller writers in the world is Thrillerfest. Held every summer (usually in July) in the city of New York at one of the top hotels. This five day event consists of paid pitches between agents, authors and publishers, author interviews, networking events, and prizegiving ceremonies.
Vancouver International Writers Festival is held every October on the beautiful Granville Island and has been running for over 30 years. It has enjoyed appearances from internationally known authors including JK Rowling and Salman Rushdie.
The annual Winchester Writers Festival offers three days of talks and workshops for writers at all levels of experience, working in a wide variety of forms and genres, including contemporary fiction, writing for children or young adults, fantasy, crime fiction, historical fiction, poetry, short fiction and script. It is held every June at the University of Winchester, as well as at locations around the city including the famous Winchester Cathedral.