Litfest 2024 at various venues and online

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Hannah Lowe. Credit Lealle Brady
Hannah Lowe. Credit Lealle Brady

Lancaster Literature Festival - Litfest 2024 at The Storey Creative Industries Centre, Lancaster 15 — 26 March 2024 Entrance is free — Visit now

Lancaster’s annual literature festival is back, celebrating 45 years with a full programme as spring unfurls – and with it the fabulously accessible chance to come along either in person or virtually from 15 to 26 March.

From fiction, poetry and nature writing to history, ideas and storytelling, Litfest is the place to discover new works and explore topical issues. Once again being run as a hybrid event, you can book an in-person spot to one of the welcoming Lancaster venues (check the programme before setting off) or you can join online via Litfest’s online streaming platform Crowdcast – whichever suits you and wherever you are in the world! Tickets are free or choose Pay What You Can (“Donation” on Eventbrite; recommended price of £5) – donations are gratefully accepted.

Prose will be explored in depth on Sunday 17 March, when SFF writer and Lancaster University lecturer Oliver J Langmead will be chatting to author Okechukwu Nzelu about his books Here Again Now and the Betty Trask Award-winning The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney, and poet-turned-novelist Andrew McMillan will be talking about his freshly out debut Pity to Lancaster University lecturer in creative writing Zoe Lambert.

This year’s theme is ‘Connected Histories’, which Sathnam Sanghera will address in the inaugural Lancaster History Lecture, presented in partnership with Lancaster University, drawing on his new book Empireworld and discussing the legacies of the British Empire. Josephine Quinn will explore How the World Made the West (rather than the other way round) while David Kynaston will take audiences back to the mid-Sixties with his latest book A Northern Wind.

Poetry takes centre stage on the final weekend, when Poet in Residence Hannah Lowe – whose latest collection, The Kids, won the Costa Poetry Award and the Costa Book of the Year 2021, was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize – will compère a gala poetry reading from the Histories Poetry Map, with contributions from selected contributing poets. The ever-popular poetry schedule (Saturday 23 March, The Storey) will also feature 2023 King’s Poetry Medal winner Mimi Khalvati, Eric Gregory Award winner Emily Hasler, Northern Writers Award winner Mark Pajak and Don Paterson, who has won many awards, including the Whitbread Poetry Prize, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Costa Poetry Award, all three Forward Prizes and the TS Eliot Prize (twice).

Eoghan Walls – who teaches English literature and creative writing at the University, and has published two poetry collections with Seren, The Salt Harvest and Pigeon Songs, and the novel The Gospel of Orla (Seven Stories) – will be hosting a special poetry pamphlet event featuring 10 readers from a public callout, each presenting their new or in-progress short collections.

Younger members of the family are also catered for, with a Family Story Hunt as well as the inaugural weekend’s Children’s Festival, featuring the likes of Matt Goodfellow and Sophie Anderson, this year’s Litfest Reader in Residence.

Lancaster Literature Festival - Litfest 2024 at The Storey Creative Industries Centre, Lancaster 15 — 26 March 2024 Entrance is free Visit now

Where to go near Litfest 2024 at various venues and online

Lancaster Library

Sitting in the heart of Lancaster is the Lancaster Library. When not serving its usual function, this beautiful space is occasionally transformed into an unlikely gig venue.

Castle View contemporary cottage, Lancaster
Castle View

Right in the heart of Lancaster, this contemporary cottage with one bedroom and a double sofa bed, a huge copper bath and a wood burner is situated in a peaceful walled oasis.

Lancaster Castle Lancashire
Tourist Attraction
Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Castle’s origins date back almost 1,000 years. This Grade 1 Listed Building occupies a city-centre hilltop location on the site of three successive Roman forts.

The Music Room from Atkinsons Coffee Roasters Lancaster
Café or Coffee Shop
The Music Room

The Music Room from Atkinsons Coffee Roasters is a cafe situated on a Grade II listed Georgian pavilion with sun trap outside seating.

Filbert's Baker artisan bread in Lancaster
Filbert’s Bakery

Filbert’s bakery is a family owned bakery that provides delicious fresh bread every morning along with breakfast goods, cakes and savouries.

An interior shot of the arches within Lancaster Priory
Lancaster Priory

Lancaster Priory Church is a vibrant, open and inclusive church at the heart of Lancaster. Music, education and community are at the heart of their mission.

Judge’s Lodgings, Lancaster, Lancashire
Judges’ Lodgings

The Judges’ Lodgings is the oldest town house in Lancaster, whose exhibitions and events bring the stories of the city to life.

Bar or Pub
The Stonewell Tap

The Stonewell Tap is a lively craft beer bar on Church Street, Lancaster, which boasts 16 craft beer taps and 4 real hand-pulled ale pumps.

Bar or Pub
Aquila Pizza

You can order online or over the phone to get your pizza fix. With regular deals on multiple pizzas and breads available for delivery and collection across Lancaster and Morecambe mid-week and weekends then keep your eyes on Aquila’s website and social channels.

The Herbarium

This plant-based cafe and bar serves delicious vegan breakfasts and coffees in the day, before transforming into a fantastic dinner venue in ‘Herb after Dark’.

The Storey Gardens

The Storey Garden is a hidden garden in the centre of Lancaster. The garden was created in 1998 by a dedicated team of gardeners, craftspeople, builders and artists.

What's on: Literature

LIVEwire at The Edge

Following sold-out shows in 2019 and 2021, LIVEwire is back at The Edge this March, and again in June, with an electric line-up.

from £13.00
2024 Northern Publishers' Fair
Northern Publishers’ Fair 2024 at Central Library

Join readers and writers alike at this free event celebrating independent publishing. Peruse books from 16 publishers across genres including literary fiction, genre fiction, middle-grade and children’s, poetry and memoir.

free entry
Carrie Etter
Poets & Players at Burgess Foundation

It’s the second Poets & Players of 2024, back at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation with an afternoon of words and music, featuring readings by Peter Sansom, Carrie Etter and Anita Pati.

free entry
Jason Allen-Paisant
Jason Allen-Paisant at Manchester Poetry Library

Head to Manchester Poetry Library for the first of three events in its brand-new spring/summer poetry reading series – which not only features prize-winning poets but is also completely free.

free entry

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Festival-goers at Green Island
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Gazing longingly towards the good times that will accompany the surely imminent sun, we take a look at the best music festivals coming up in Manchester and Salford.