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The literary festivals you cannot miss this autumn

The Althorp Literary Festival

There are around 350 literary festivals that take place throughout the year in the UK. While many are small local events featuring local authors and emerging talent, others attract well-established names in literature, publishing and show business.

Below, we've picked the must-visit literary festivals taking place this autumn that are within easy reach of Oxford. You'll also find details of upcoming literary festivals taking place across Oxfordshire at the bottom of the page.

Whichever type of literary festival you choose to attend, you are sure to find something that interests you and the entire family.

Marlborough Literature Festival - 26 to 29 September 2019

Marlborough Literature Festival
Image: Marlborough Literature Festival

The 10th Marlborough Literature Festival brings together some of the UK's finest writers in this historic market town to celebrate the best writing in all its forms, and to demonstrate that books and reading can bring people together, whatever their views. The 2019 Marlborough Literature Festival programme includes some of the UK's established authors like crime writer Ian Rankin, as well as new and emerging talent. Other events include author talks, workshops, performances, visits and competitions. Full tenth year programme sis available at marlboroughlitfest.org

Bath Children’s Literature Festival - 27 September to 06 October 2019

Bath Children’s Literature Festival
Image: Bath Children’s Literature Festival

Bath Children’s Literature Festival 2019 – Europe’s largest dedicated children’s literature festival is returning on Friday 27 September – Sunday 6 October with a vibrant array of talks and activities for children. Artistic directors, John and Gill McLay, have secured a world-class line up which thrilled young book lovers. Putting fun and laughter first, the festival is a chance for children and young people to meet the creators of their literary heroes, see illustrations come to life and fuel their imaginations. For festival line-up and tickets, visit the festival website at bathfestivals.org.uk/childrens-literature

Cliveden Literary Festival - 28 & 29 September 2019

Cliveden Literary Festival 2018
Image: Cliveden House

Cliveden is the magnificent English country house with a unique and extraordinary history of politics and intrigue, aristocracy and espionage, sex and scandal. The Cliveden Literary Festival evokes the spirit of the great writers and potentates who have stayed in this magnificent country house over the last 3 centuries. Panel topics and sessions for this year’s festival include global power, conflict & conspiracy, the art of the novel, Victoria’s legacy, the secrets of the universe and the secrets of the mind. Festival speakers include Professor Brian Cox, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, and BBC presenter Emily Maitlis. The full list of speakers is available at clivedenliteraryfestival.org

Birmingham Literature Festival - 03 to 13 October

Birmingham Literature Festival
Image: Birmingham Jewellery Quarter by Verity Milligan

The Birmingham Literature Festival brings together writers, artists, commentators, readers, and thinkers - to share, learn, connect and enjoy 10 days of great creative writing. And with events about sex, politics, the supernatural, grief, real-life parenting, the Windrush scandal, activism, mental health, LGBTQ+ culture, dystopian stories, exile and disconnection, murder and true crime, democracy, feminism, masculinity, money and psychology - to name a few - everyone is sure to find something which intrigues and excites them. Visit the festival website for full programme and tickets.

Cheltenham Literature Festival - 04 to 13 October 2019

Cheltenham Literature Festival 2018
Image: Cheltenham Literature Festival

Established in 1949, The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is one of the oldest literary events in the world. For ten days every Autumn Cheltenham is transformed into a literary lover’s dream as it welcomes over 600 of the world’s finest writers, actors, politicians, poets and leading opinion formers to help celebrate the joy of the written word. Alongside a programme of nearly 500 debates, interviews and workshops, the festival also hosts Book It! - a festival within a festival for families and young readers. The full line-up for the 70th anniversary of the world’s oldest literature festival is available at cheltenhamfestivals.com.

The Althorp Literary Festival - Autumn 2020

Althorp House
Image courtesy of Althorp House

The Althorp Literary Festival has hosted countless bestselling authors, writers, entrepreneurs and thought-leaders who provoke debate, laughter and enthusiasm. The festival takes place against the backdrop of one of England’s most beautiful private, historic houses, and final resting place of Princess Diana. And it continues to attract international acclaim, hosting a stellar line up of authors and celebrities such as chef, writer and The Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith; historians Dan Snow, Dan Jones and Helen Rappaport; author of the hugely successful Sharpe novels, Bernard Cornwell; politicians and authors Paddy Ashdown and Kenneth Baker; and acclaimed mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington. The 16th Althorp Literary Festival will take place in Autumn 2020.

Literary festivals in Oxfordshire

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