Are you an avid reader or an aspiring author hoping to get published?

Literary festivals are great to attend if you love reading quality books, discovering new literary gems, debating literature, networking, meeting famous authors or wish to establish valuable connections in the industry to get your book published.

Literary festivals are exciting yearly events where a variety of people from the publishing industry gather. Attendees usually include famous authors, avid readers, publishers, literary agents, booksellers, distributors, and book buyers.
Attending a literary festival is not only a great opportunity to network, it’s also fun!

Most literary festivals host dynamic and lively debates, enlightening discussions, creative writing workshops, lunches with famous authors, as well as networking and book signing events.

Interested in attending a literary festival? Check out our list of the 15 major literary festivals which take place around the globe.

  1. Sydney Writers Festival

The Sydney Writers Festival is a non-for-profit organization with programming driven by the ideas and issues that animate all types of literature. The festival hosts over 300 events for 100,000 participants. Previous attendees include Gloria Steinem, Neil Gaiman, and Alice Walker, among novelists, publishers, screenwriters, musicians, nonfiction writers, scientists, and journalists.

The staff behind the festival are interested in and committed to providing opportunities for children of all ages to engage with books and stories through a variety of literary experiences. In addition to the yearly festival in May, they present a Children’s Festival of Moving Stories with free events for children and families in November.

Location: The heart of the festival is at Walsh Bay, but stretches across Sydney from the Opera House and Sydney Town Hall into suburban Sydney and the Blue mountains.

Event Duration: April 20 – May 6, 2018

Entry Fees: There are numerous free events with limited seats that need to be reserved in advance. Ticket prices and booking details vary for each event.

  1. Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts

Hay Festival brings readers and writers together to share stories and ideas in sustainable events around the world. The festivals inspire, examine and entertain, inviting participants to imagine the world as it is and as it might be. Past participants include Nobel-Prize winners and novelists, scientists, politician, historians, and musicians. Events include forums with the goal of introducing a dynamic exchange of ideas, bookshops where participants can buy festival books and meet authors, wine tastings, lectures, and workshops.

There are seven locations, each with high quality local and seasonal foods, exhibitors that reach the thousands of visitors to the festival site, and authors that are paid in either cash or wine.

Location: The Hay Festival takes place in Mexico, Spain, Denmark, Peru, the UK and Colombia.

Event Duration:

Queretaro, Mexico: September 7 – 10, 2017

Segovia, Spain: September 22 – 24, 2017

Aarhus, Denmark: October 26 – 29, 2017

Arequipa, Peru: November 9 – 12, 2017

Winter Weekend, UK: November 23 – 26, 2017

Cartagena, Colombia: January 25 – 28, 2018

Wales, UK: May 24 – June 3, 2018

Entry Fees: Fees vary by location. Some events are free while others require inexpensive tickets that can be bought directly at the corresponding venue before each event until capacity is reached.

  1. Oxford Literary Festival

The Oxford Literary Festival hosts numerous events, such as guided literary walks, lunches and dinner parties with prominent authors, and creative writing courses. Additionally, the festival allows participants to meet and listen to public figures and fine writers during lectures and interviews.

As of November 2016, representatives from the literary festival released a statement announcing they’d begin paying 150 pounds ($196.32) to all authors speaking at the 2017 festival and festivals thereafter.

Location: The heart of the festival takes place around two hubs: The Blackwell’s Marquee, and Worcester College in the UK. Both are a ten-minute walk away from each other. More than 250 events also take place in venues including the Bodleian Library, the Divinity School, the Sheldonian Theatre, and Exter, Jesus, and St. John’s Colleges.

Dates: March 17 – 25, 2018.

Entry Fees: Tickets can be bought online, at the telephone box office, or in person up to one hour before the event. The booking fee is 1.50 pounds ($1.96). Most events range from 8 pounds to 25 pounds per person ($10.47 to $32.75, respectively), save for the one day creative writing workshop which costs 75 pounds ($98.16).

  1. Edinburgh International Book Festival

The Edinburgh International Book Festival is a non-for-profit that began in 1983 as a biennial festival. In 1997, it became a yearly celebration for a range of participants: novelists, poets, scientists, philosophers, sportsmen, illustrators, comic creators, historians, musicians, biographers, environmentalists, economists, Nobel and Booker prize-winners. Up to 220,000 people have visited the festival in recent years.

This year, they’ll be welcoming around 1,000 authors in over 800 events. In addition to workshops and panel discussions, the festival hosts high profile debates and discussions where writers from all over the world can gather to witness audience members and authors exchange thoughts and opinions on some of the world’s most pressing issues.

Location: The historic Charlotte Square Gardens in Georgian New Town, Edinburgh, UK

Dates: August 12 – 28, 2017

Entry Fees: The price varies from event to event, but the range is 5 pounds to 15 pounds ($6.54 to $19.63) for full price tickets. Disabled persons, students, jobseekers, and people under 16 or over 60-years-old can purchase discounted tickets. Some events are free.

  1. Berlin International Literature Festival

Founded in 2001, the Berlin International Literature Festival is focused on contemporary developments in prose and poetry from all around the world. Authors are encouraged to present their work in their mother tongue, followed by the reading of the German translation which is done by actors. Presenters and translators are available in order to smoothly make discussions between presenters, authors, and the audience possible.

The festival features writers from most continents who perform readings and speak in panel events. Other events include bookshops, reflections, and special panels on science and the humanities, and new German voices. They will also have a special day for Graphic Novels.

Location: Berlin, Germany

Dates: Sept 6 – 16, 2017

Entry Fees: The range for a single ticket is 4 euros up to 12 euros ($4.61 to $13.84), including concessions. A day pass costs 18 euros ($20.76). A festival pass costs 80 euros ($92.25).

  1. Wordstock: Portland’s Book Festival

The Wordstock Festival is an annual celebration of literature that will feature 48 onstage events, pop-up readings, an extensive book fair, live music, workshops, and more for attendees of all ages. More than 100 authors, 70 vendors, and 15 writing workshops have been present in past festivals.

Location: Portland Art Museum and neighboring venues, Portland, Oregon

Dates: November 11, 2017

Entry Fees: Tickets will go on sale in September, and will cost approximately $15 to $18.

  1. Cambridge Literary Festival

Established in 2003, the Cambridge Literary Festival delivers two festivals every year featuring high-profile participants across the worlds of literature, media, science, history, politics, poetry, philosophy, and children’s authors. In 2013, the festival became a registered charity.

Authors who attend are offered 100 pounds plus accommodation where requested.

Location: Venues include the Old Divinity School, Palmerston Room, Blue Room & Union Chamber, and The Fitzwilliam Museum, all in Cambridge, UK

Dates: Winter Festival: November 25 – 26, 2017; Spring Festival: April 3 – 8, 2018

Entry Fees: Entry to all events requires tickets that can be bought here. People aged 25 and under can buy half-priced tickets on the day of the event.

  1. George Town Literary Festival

The George Town Literary festival is an annual literary festival, and the only literary festival funded by the state government in Malaysia. They invite writers, novelists, spoken word artists and more from diverse writing disciplines to celebrate poetry, prose, and spoken word. Participants are encouraged to engage in topics and themes that are crucial to the world we live in, and can do so at the festival.

Location: George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Dates: November 24 – 26, 2017

Entry Fees: Check their website for updated information on tickets and fees.

  1. Beast Crawl Literary Festival

Beast Crawl Literary Festival is an annual literary festival open to the public for free. They feature more than 150 writers in a single night, spread out over three hours and nearly 40 local galleries, bars, restaurants, cafes, and storefronts. All are welcome to attend: poets, writers, essayists, spoken word artists, musicians, performers, storytellers, and anyone interested in the literary world.

The festival is split into four separate legs, the first starting at 5:00pm. The first three legs has multiple reading events, while the fourth leg is an after party that lasts from 9:00pm to 12:00am. Events during these legs include poetry, prose, slam, storytelling, and memoir readings, discussions on diversity in literature, open mic readings, and more.

Location: Oakland, CA. All the different venues can be found on their website.

Dates: September 2, 2017

Entry Fees: Free

  1. Brooklyn Book Festival

The Brooklyn Book Festival is the largest, free literary event in New York City with more than 300 authors and 200 booksellers present annually. They host both national and international literary stars and emerging authors. This year, they will feature Jessica Abel, Joyce Carol Oates, E. Lockhart, and more.

The entire festival will take place citywide. Saturday, September 16 is Children’s Day located at MetroTech Commons, Brooklyn. Lastly, a literary marketplace will take place on Sunday, September 17, at the Brooklyn Borough Hall and in the vicinity. 

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Dates: September 11 – 17, 2017

Entry Fees: Free

  1. Paraty International Literary Festival (FLIP), Brazil

Since 2003, FLIP aims to offer a cultural manifestation in Paraty every year. With a focus on diversity, activities they host combine children’s literature, performance, debates, and the performing and visual arts. All programs maintain their founding principles: originality, intimacy, informality, the unique encounter between writers and the public and, above all, actions of permanence.

They wish to bring up a new generation of authors alongside established ones, while also paying homage to Brazilian authors. In the past, authors such as Toni Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Bill Clegg, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Jhumpa Lahiri have attended FLIP.

Location: On the banks of the Perequê-Açu River, Paraty, Brazil

Dates: July 26 – 30, 2017

Entry Fees: Visit their tickets page for details on entry fees and how to buy tickets. Students, teachers, individuals over 60, individuals who come from low income families, and individuals with special needs are eligible for discounts.

  1. Washington Island Literary Festival

Washington Island Literary Festival is a small conference for those who love to read and who wish to write. It lasts three days, over a weekend, and consists of discussions and workshops on poetry, memoir, prose, and fiction overall.

Location: Washington Island, Wisconsin

Dates: September 22 – 24, 2017

Entry Fees: $125 for full festival registration, early bird price of $112.50 until August 1st. Optional 9:30 am Sunday Brunch with authors at Hotel Washington costs $30 per person. Single Day Only options cost $90, early bird price $81 if received by August 1st. Optional workshops with authors cost $75 for the first, and $65 for each additional workshop.

  1. Zee Jaipur Literature Festival

The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is the world’s largest free event of its kind. It’s a festival for humanitarians, historians, politicians, and business leaders. The founders of the festival believe free and egalitarian access to these renowned thinkers and writers is a powerful statement in a country where access to such individuals remains the privilege of a few. They provide a potentially life-changing opportunity for audiences from Rajasthan, across India and the world to learn from and exchange ideas with contemporary literary stalwarts.

In the past ten years, they have garnered 846,000 participants, 1,874 speakers, and foot traffic from great thinkers, Nobel laureates, debut novelists, Booker prize winners, and local language writers. The festival features live music sessions and interactive workshops for all.

Location: Diggi Palace, Jaipur, India

Dates: January 24 – 29, 2018

Entry Fees: Free

  1. Irrawaddy Literary Festival

The Irrawaddy Literary Festival was launched in 2013 as a festival with an entirely philanthropic venture, its primary objective being to connect long-silenced Myanmar writers with the international literary community. With that objective in mind, they welcome local crowds as well as international visitors to partake in panels for literary exchange.

Location: Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel, Mandalay

Dates: November 3 – 5, 2017

Entry Fees: Free

  1. UK Indie Literary Festival

Debuting in 2016, the UK Indie Literary Festival is a non-profit festival, with the purpose of promoting indie authors to smaller publishing house and allowing writers to reach new readers. Participants are able to meet and talk to authors from around the country, learn about being an indie author and how to become a published author, take part in workshops, listen to readings by attending authors, and enter competitions to win signed books.

Location: Bradford, UK

Dates: August 26, 2017

Entry Fees: Though the event is free, you still need to obtain entry by registering here. Booking a ticket gives you a chance to win a signed copy from an attending author.

Alyssa Vigorito

Alyssa Vigorito

Writer at NY Literary Magazine
Alyssa is set to graduate from Fairfield University in 2019 with a major in English and a minor in Digital Journalism.
Currently, she's the Marketing Director and Web Editor for her University's student-run literary magazine, 'The Inkwell.' She's also a contributing writer for the magazine and has numerous poems published in their issues.
Alyssa Vigorito