Lancaster Literature Festival

Polly Checkland Harding
Sarah Hall. Photo by Richard Thwaites.
Author Sarah Hall. Photo by Richard Thwaites.

12 — 21 March 2021 Entrance is free — Visit now

Lancaster Literature Festival celebrated its 40th anniversary in style in 2019, cementing its status as one of the oldest literature festivals in the country with appearances from writers including Sarah Moss and Ian McMillan, as well as the illustrator of a new coffee table edition of J. K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Run by a volunteer board, the annual festival brings a full programme of literature events to venues across Lancaster every year. There are talks, readings, walks, exhibitions, workshops and more to be found in Lancaster Castle, The Gallery at The Dukes and even Lancaster’s Pizza Margherita.

Authors speaking and appearing at past festivals include the award-winning poet and writer Jackie Kay – the Scots Makar or national poet laureate for Scotland since 2016 – acclaimed poet and essayist Kathlyn Jamie, and poet, critic, editor, playwright and novelist Sean O’Brien, thrice winner of the Forward Prize and author of The Drowned Book and The Beautiful Librarians. There are also regular appearances from figures in the publishing industry, such as Kevin Duffy of Bluemoose Books, a multi award-winning independent publisher which is based in Hebden Bridge. Novels published by Bluemoose Books have won the Walter Scott Prize, Portico Literature Prize, the Guardian’s Not The Booker prize and The Northern Writers Award.

Alongside the annual festival, the Lancaster Litfest team is regularly involved in other wider projects, such as Walking Solo, a podcast based on walks taken in and around Lancaster by Polly Atkin and Jenn Ashworth. Litfest also runs the Litfest International Book Club, a friendly and open monthly discussion of the best works of contemporary fiction in translation – such as Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan, which won France’s prestigious Prix Renaudot in 2015. Better still, sessions are often attended by the writers, translators and editors of the books themselves.

12 — 21 March 2021 Entrance is free Visit now

Where to go near Lancaster Literature Festival

Fairfield Social Club

Launching in spring 2024, Fairfield Social Club is a multi-purpose site next to Angel Meadows Park in the Green Quarter.

The Coro

Nestled in the heart of Ulverston, a rural market town on the fringes of the Lake District, stands The Coro —an esteemed historic hub for arts, culture, and entertainment

Sam Read Bookseller

Award-winning small bookshop in the Lake District. Est. by Sam Read in 1887. Run by Will Smith and Polly Atkin.


Capri serves up homely, family-style Italian food in North Yorkshire.

Manchester Wine Tours

Manchester Wine Tours is a relaxed, fun wine tour, taking in four or five venues across three hours, plus six high-quality glasses of wine.

Juno Books

Friendly local queer and intersectional feminist bookshop in Sheffield. Visit for interesting fiction and non fiction books.

The Dusty Miller

Family friendly pub situated in the beautiful village of Mytholmroyd.

Winckley Square
Winckley Square

Hosting a variety of year-round events, from guided walks to jazz evenings, Winckley Square is a Georgian square packed with history in Preston city centre.

What's on: Literature

Writer Nicholas Royle. Photo by Zoe McLean
Ghosts at the Old Library

Levenshulme Old Library has commissioned brand-new festive ghost stories from six writers for three special atmospheric lantern-lit reading events after hours in the Carnegie building.

from £10
LiteratureWest Yorkshire
Poetry at the Dusty Miller

Poetry at the Dusty Miller is a brand-new night with invited readers, organised by Carcanet-published Carola Luther and Judith Willson in the Coiners’ Room in the Mytholmroyd pub.

free entry
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Verbose at The King’s Arms

One of Manchester’s longest-running monthly spoken word and live literature events, Verbose welcomes two invited headliners to the stage each month, plus a selection of open mic performers.

free entry

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