What's On in Literary England 2017

Fri, 02/06/2017 - 14:33


Continued from 2016

Strange Worlds: Visions of Angela Carter at the RWA, Bristol
Until 19 March
The Royal West of England Academy presents a major exhibition which brings together art and literature to explore the enormous impact of author, journalist and magical realist Angela Carter - one of the most distinctive literary voices of the last 100 years. Alongside painting, sculpture, drawing and film, the show includes illustrations from Carter's books, manuscripts, photographs and personal artefacts, giving a compelling insight into her visual imagination.


Jane Austen Among Family and Friends, The British Library, London
10 January – 19 February
To mark the bicentenary of the death of one of England’s most-loved writers, Jane Austen, the British Library is bringing together writings from Austen’s formative teenage years for the first time in 40 years. The British Library is uniting the three treasured notebooks that Austen kept of her teenage writings, which include “The Beautiful Cassandra”, a story dedicated to Austen’s sister, and a spoof history of England featuring illustrations of the Kings and Queens by Cassandra Austen. The exhibits reveal family joys and sorrows which shaped the writer: one letter tells of Austen’s sorrow on the death of her father, while a poem expresses the joy Austen felt on the birth of her nephew.

JRR Tolkien in Staffordshire, Stafford Library, Staffordshire
10 January – 27 February
This touring exhibition focuses on JRR Tolkien’s Staffordshire connections, particularly the time he spent in Staffordshire during the First World War. Copies of original artwork, such as domestic scenes and landscapes drawn in Staffordshire by Tolkien in 1918, are included along with photographs loaned by the Tolkien Estate and Bodleian Library. Admission is free.

Charles Dickens Christmas walk, Museum of London
14 January
Explore the Victorian London of celebrated author Charles Dickens and discover the inspiration for his characters such as Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger. Priced at £20 per adult, book in advance.

Oodles of Doodles for World Book Day, The National Centre for Children’s Books, Newcastle
14 January – 26 March
In celebration of 20 years of World Book Day, some of the UK’s leading illustrators – from budding artists to iconic illustrators – have been asked to ‘Doodle Something Booky’, as part of the birthday festivities. More than 40 top children’s book illustrators have contributed to the exhibition including Nick Sharratt, Axel Scheffler, Emily Gravett, Cressida Cowell, Chris Riddell, Steve Antony, David Roberts and Guy Parker-Rees – to name a few.

Medieval Manuscripts of Cirencester Abbey 900, Corinium Museum, Gloucestershire
16 January – 21 May
Revel in this rare opportunity to see the Abbey 900 manuscripts, which were housed in Cirencester Abbey Library at its Dissolution in 1539 before being displayed in the Cotswolds market town. Loaned to the Corinium Museum by the Bodleian Library and Jesus College Oxford, the centuries-old manuscripts will form part of the major celebrations to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the founding of Cirencester’s Augustinian Abbey of St Mary, by King Henry 1 in 1117. These year-long celebrations will include concerts, photography and flower competitions, guided walks of the abbey, athletics events, performing arts and two re-enactments.

Kipling on Film Exhibition, Bateman’s, East Sussex
26 January – 5 March
From some of the earliest silent films at the dawn of the cinema age to the most recent 21st century Hollywood blockbusters, Kipling has featured in generations of cinema experiences. This exhibition will uncover the fantastic portrayals of Rudyard Kipling's literary works by the movie industry from the short films of 1915 to the darker 2016 Computer Generated Image (CGI) masterpiece of The Jungle Book.  Examples of movie posters will be on display, including the ones for Alexander Korda's 1942 version of The Jungle Book and a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production of Captains Courageous. With a strong sense of nostalgia and a fascinating insight into Kipling's literary works that have been transformed by film, this exhibition is a must for those who enjoy film and Kipling. Normal admission charges apply.


Imbolc: Celtic Spring Festival, Waterlooville, Hampshire
4 February
Hosted by professional storyteller Jonathon Huet, the afternoon’s entertainment will include stories, poetry, singing, a crackling fire and a warming meal – all included in the ticket price of £12. What better way to celebrate the past and look to the future?

Storyfest at the Eden Project
11-19 February
The wonderful world of children's books will be celebrated at the Eden Project with StoryFest this February half-term. Roald Dahl themed interactive workshops, crafts and games will be combined with immersive theatrical experiences and creative writing sessions, together with special guest appearances from the world of children’s books including John Dougherty, author of children's book series Stinkbomb & Ketchup-Face, and Martin Brown, illustrator of the first Horrible Histories books. Activities will be included in the admission fee.

Purbeck Literary Festival, Dorset
16 – 25 February
Explore the landscape through literature at Purbeck’s fourth literary festival. They’ll be creative, comedy and blog writing workshops, poetry, performances and events featuring the works of Enid Blyton, T.E. Lawrence, Thomas Hardy and contemporary authors, many of whom lived in or were inspired by Purbeck.

Arnold Bennett: In Life and Art, Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
18 February – 2 July
Dipping into the museum’s world-class Arnold Bennett collections of artworks, personal possessions and clothing, photographs, documents and ephemera, this exhibition creates new perspectives on the man, his life and times, marking the 150th anniversary of his birth.It will draw on many of the artefacts, watercolours and other Bennett materials held in the Museum’s collection, many of which have not been on public display before.

Bears! exhibition at Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, Newcastle
18 February 2017 – February 2018
Get set to embark on a bear-illiant teddy bear adventure with a brand new exhibition inspired by the clawsome world of Bears! in children’s literature. Visitors are invited to bring in their teddy bears from home and take them on a journey through the exhibition, which includes a bear trail to discover more about bears in books. With Otto, the Book Bear by Katie Cleminson as the guide, you will be able to introduce your bears to children’s book bears old and new. See illustrations and preparatory artwork from the creators of many of your favourite bear books, including Jon Klassen, Anthony Browne, Lucy Letherland, Jackie Morris, Petr Horacek, Dave Shelton, Jim Field, David Litchfield, Helen Cooper, David Melling, Rebecca Cobb, Sav Akyuz and Jane Hissey.

Love of a Lifetime: Beatrix Potter Guided Walk, Cumbria
19 February
Walk in Beatrix Potter's footsteps with this guided walk around the village and nearby countryside of Near Sawrey, which Beatrix Potter described as "a perfect little place". The walk is approximately 2.5 miles and is priced at £12 for adults and £6 for children.

UEA Spring Literary Festival, University of East Anglia
22 February – 3 May (select dates)
The University of East Anglia's (UEA) first literary festival took place in 1991 and over the last twenty two years has welcomed a host of award-winning authors, journalists, illustrators, scientists, economists, broadcasters and more. The UEA hosts two literary festivals each year; one in the spring and the other in the autumn. This spring, guests such as Lionel Shriver; Elif Shafak; Louise Doughty; George Saunders; and Michael Pennington will be speaking about their work, themselves and the world. Tickets: £48 / £40 concessions (all seven events), individual ticket: £8 / £4 students.

The Hypocrite, Hull
24 February – 18 March
One of the highlights of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 will be the world premiere of The Hypocrite at Hull Truck Theatre. This riotous comedy from award-winning Hull playwright Richard Bean (of One Man, Two Guvnors fame) was inspired by the life of Sir John Hotham, a historic Hull figure who in 1642 played an important role as Hull became pivotal to the start of the English Civil War.


Celebrating 20 years of World Book Day, across England
2 March  
World Book Day, the annual celebration of books and reading for children and young people, has planned an all-star line-up of authors and illustrators to help it celebrate its 20th anniversary. David Walliams, Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Julia Donaldson are among the 'national treasures' who have written new stories to mark the occasion. These authors will each contribute an official World Book Day £1 book, which children can get for free in exchange for the £1 book token available to all schoolchildren in the UK.

Words by the Water at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
3 – 12 March
This ten-day programme of literary talks, lectures, discussions, workshops, book launches and special exhibitions gives literature-lovers the opportunity to get together and share the pleasure of books, words and ideas. Situated right on the edge of Derwentwater, this striking venue brings together novelists, poets, biographers, journalists, artists, philosophers and many more to celebrate their love of words and to explore ideas new and old.

Wray Castle Children’s Book Festival, Lake District
4 – 5 March
Calling all book-lovers for a fun-filled family weekend – meet the cast of bestselling children’s authors, characters and illustrators including the Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, Philip Ardagh, Gill Lewis, Ed Vere’s Max and Steve Coles’ young James Bond. Have your wands at the ready for the magical Harry Potter event, with prizes for the best fancy dress and little ones will love the chance to meet some very special guests. As well as sessions and workshops with the authors and illustrators, there is a full programme of book themed activities taking place over the weekend at the castle, run by the National Trust festival volunteers and rangers. Wray Castle is a particularly apt spot for a children’s book festival as it was the first place Miss Potter stayed at Lake District, arguably igniting her passion and love for the countryside; a must-see location for any Beatrix Potter fans as well as little bookworms.

Quentin Blake: Inside Stories, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle
11 March – 8 July
This exhibition from House of Illustration gives a unique insight into the origins of some of Quentin Blake’s most popular creations, from his illustrations for Roald Dahls classic children’s books to The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams. Inside Stories showcases Blake’s first roughs, storyboards and finished artworks, demonstrating how his ideas evolve, as well as his use of a wide range of different techniques and media to create his distinctive illustrations, including inks, watercolours and pastels.

The Word-Hoard: Love Letters to Our Land at Wordsworth House, Cumbria
11 March – 3 September
A stunning new exhibition at Wordsworth House in Cockermouth celebrates the beauty of our landscape and the evocative language used to describe it. Guest-curated by award-winning author Robert Macfarlane, The Word-Hoard: Love Letters to Our Land features breath-taking images by his parents, Cumbrian photographers Rosamund and John. The exhibition builds on themes Macfarlane explored in his best-selling book Landmarks, responding to startling deletions from the Oxford Junior Dictionary, which ranged from ‘acorn’ and ‘bluebell’ to ‘otter’ and ‘wren’. Free with entry to the house and garden.

York Literature Festival, York
16 – 30 March
Over 40 events across the city will see York focus on the written and spoken word during this annual festival, featuring  a wide range of author-related events, workshops and talks. Performances and events include an evening with Anne Widdecombe; an exclusive launch event at the De Grey Rooms; a crime fiction panel including Sophie Hannah; and Desmond Elliott prize-winner Claire Fuller. Venues include York Theatre Royal, York Explore Library, York St John University and St Peter's School.

Chagword Literary Festival, Dartmoor
17 – 19 March
The historic market town of Chagford will be hosting the third of its literary festivals this year, aiming to promote, encourage and develop participation in the literary arts in Chagford, across all sections of the community and all age ranges. The line-up includes Michael Morpurgo with a story concert of War Horse, accompanied by National Theatre songman Ben Murray; Hisham Matar, whose book The Return was shortlisted for the Baillie-Gifford Award; Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers; and Kate Adie, author and broadcaster, known for her long service as the BBC’s Chief News Correspondent.

Shakespeare Week, across the UK
20 – 26 March
Coordinated by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Shakespeare Week introduces primary aged children to Shakespeare’s life, works and times by offering cross-curricular resources and activities to teachers and families. All participating teachers can access hundreds of resources covering the breadth of the curriculum.

Town below the Steps: A Poetry Play, Otley
21 March
Join Poetry Otley Poets and Half Moon Books at this local poetry play evening, featuring Otley Town Poet, Matthew Hedley Stoppard and many of Otley’s poets.

Knole Children’s Book Festival Weekend, Kent
25 – 26 March
The very first Knole Children’s Book Festival launches in 2017, a smashing smorgasbord of children’s authors, characters and illustrators including the bestselling Lauren Child with Charlie and Lola, Cressida Cowell and her How to Tame your Dragon series, Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell and Alex T Smith’s Claude. Don’t miss out on a a jam-packed day of storytelling, dressing up and colourful craft.

Oxford Literary Festival, Oxford
25 March – 2 April
The anticipated 21st Oxford Literary Festival will host over 350 writers who flock to the city for the packed programme of literary, political, historical, environmental and culinary talks and events. Visitors can also book to join guided literary walks, lunches and dinner parties with prominent authors. As well as its offering for adults, the Oxford Literary Festival also runs a popular programme of events for children.


Michael Morpurgo and David Almond in conversation, Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle
1 April
Two prominent names in children’s literature, Michael Morpurgo and David Almond, will come together to talk about adaptations and what it is like for an author to adapt their work for plays, film and television. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions and find more about their creative process. £10pp, suitable for ages 8+.

Alice’s Adventures Underground at The Vaults Theatre, London
15 April – 23 September
Fall deep into the Vaults, hidden beneath Waterloo station and lose yourself in a land far removed from our own with immersive theatre experience that combines music and circus acts. Tumble down the rabbit hole falling fast into Wonderland, make a series of choices; take tea at the biggest un-birthday party with the maddest of Hatters; let the Cheshire Cat take you hither or thither or join the underground movement to rise against the fearsome Queen of Hearts.

Cambridge Literary Festival, Cambridgeshire
18 – 23 April
Located in the historic and beautiful city of Cambridge, this festival provides a space for debate, diversity and creativity, encouraging children and young people to be enthused by the beauty of words. It creates a forum for authors and readers to mingle and converse, and provides opportunities for new and aspiring writers to develop their craft. Programme details to be announced.

Stratford Literary Festival, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire
23 – 30 April
Stratford Literary Festival, one of the UK's most ground breaking festivals, will celebrate its 10th birthday with a packed programme of debates, ideas, celebrity authors, book signings and workshops for people who share one passion: a love of books, writing and reading. Alongside this will run a programme of education events in Stratford and local schools, involving favourite authors, poets and illustrators, entertaining and inspiring children from two to eighteen. This year’s festival will see its largest and most diverse programme yet with events ranging from the Romantic poets to the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, wartime spies to The Great British Bake Off. Headline speakers include the queen of cookery Mary Berry, journalist and writer Andrew Marr, historians and former politicians Paddy Ashdown and Roy Hattersley, former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, former head of the British Army Richard Dannatt, Beirut hostage Terry Waite and Waterstones Book of The Year author Sarah Perry.

Books by the Beach, North Yorkshire
26 April – 1 May
Books by the Beach will be celebrating its fourth Scarborough book festival in 2017 and welcoming biographers, crime authors, poets and psychological thriller writers. Programme to be announced, but authors have previously included Joan Bakewell, Melvyn Bragg and Joanne Harris.

The first Deepings Literary Festival, Lincolnshire
28 – 30 April
The first ever Deepings Literary Festival is a festival for everyone who enjoys words – the written word, the spoken word, the recited word and the sung word too. Over three days, the Deepings will host a stellar cast of writers of both fiction and non-fiction, storytellers and folk singers. Amongst this year’s speakers will be Alison Weir, acclaimed British novelist and historian, who will speak about Fotheringhay and the fall of Mary Queen of Scots. Fans of Erica James will have a chance to have lunch with the popular author and aspiring authors can attend a workshop with novelist Louise Doughty. The star event is a black tie gala dinner with writer, broadcaster and former MP, Gyles Brandreth.

The May Festival, Shrewsbury
28 April – 1 May
This annual children’s literary festival attracts popular and respected individuals in children’s literature, hosting a wide range of author, illustrator and presenter events. Suitable for audiences from 3 years old through to teenagers, the festival offers children and their families the opportunity to see, hear and meet a leading figure in children’s literature. Stay in the family-run Edwardian Castlecote guest house for £60.00 per night for a family room.
shrewsburybookfest.co.uk; castlecote.co.uk

Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival, Kent
30 April – 2 May
Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, Chiddingstone Castle in Kent will once again welcome an impressive selection of authors covering a wide-range of topics. Highlights include Terry Waite, 25 years after his release from solitary imprisonment as a hostage in Beirut, talking about his life then and now; biographers Artemis Cooper and Adam Sisman discussing the life and writings of acclaimed travel-writer Patrick Leigh Fermor; and Radio 4 presenter of Saturday Live, Rev. Richard Coles, giving an account of life as a parish priest and broadcaster. For children, there are appearances from prize-winning authors Piers Torday and Lauren St John, poet A F Harrold and local author Christopher Lloyd. There will be a performance of The Ugly Duckling by award-winning theatre company Pericles, along with storytelling shows from Mr Dilly’s World of Wonder and Really Big Pants Theatre Company.


Plymouth Festival of Words, Plymouth
May 2017
Building on the success of Plymouth International Book Festival, the new and improved Plymouth Festival of Words will launch in May 2017, celebrating literature and ‘words’ through a diverse range of art forms. Four days of events will showcase an eclectic blend of nationally and internationally-renowned writers alongside a rich community programme involving literary groups from across the city and region. It will also incorporate the annual Gathering held by the National Storytellers Association, as well as workshops, performances and musical events. In addition to opening Plymouth History Month, Plymouth Festival of Words will bring three highly-celebrated headline acts (to be announced shortly).

Walking in the Footsteps of Tennyson, Lincolnshire
This year will see a series of special events marking the 125th anniversary of the death of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, including a ‘Walking in the Footsteps of Tennyson’ route taking place during both the Wolds Walking Festival in May.
www.woldswalkingfestival.co.uk; www.visitlincolnshire.com/content/literary-lincolnshire

Writing on the Wall literature festival, Liverpool
1 – 31 May 
This dynamic community organisation coordinates projects and events that celebrate writing in all its forms, embracing literature, creative writing, journalism and non-fiction, poetry, song writing, and storytelling. Bringing local, national and international writers from a broad and inclusive definition of writing, Writing on the Wall works to promote and celebrate individual and collective creativity.

York International Shakespeare Festival
1 – 31 May
The York International Shakespeare Festival is a major cultural venture for York and for the North of England. It emerges from a new partnership between the York Theatre Royal, the University of York and Parrabbola. The festival includes productions by major established companies delivering Shakespeare in recognisable and affecting ways alongside experimental new work challenging received ideas about specific plays and, in some cases, about the business of theatre itself. With banners throughout the city, performances on the streets, in the theatres, in churches and simply popping up where you least expect them, and with an influx of Shakespeareans from around the world, for the ten days of the Festival – York will be the city of Shakespeare.

Swindon Festival of Literature, Wiltshire
2 – 14 May
Celebrating things well-thought, well-written, and well-said, this year’s festival includes novelists, poets, politicians, travellers, scientists, sportsmen, historians, comedians, artists, and activists. Plus competitions, new events, and workshops. There will be events at midday, teatime, and in the evening, carefully spaced and placed to enable you to attend almost every one, should you have the stamina!

Chipping Campden Literature Festival, Cotswolds
9 – 14 May
The eighth independent Chipping Campden Literature Festival offers more than 30 events over six days including workshops, film, illustrated talks, interviews, readings and music. Themes for 2017 are crime, justice and forgiveness, and highlights include a crime-writing workshop with Jane Corry, discussions with MC Beaton about her latest Agatha Raisin mystery and an intriguing opportunity to meet Juke Harding – author of A Very Expensive Poison charting the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.

Restless Shadow: Dickens the Campaigner, Charles Dickens Museum, London
9 May – 12 November
This new exhibition highlights Charles Dickens’ tireless work as a campaigner through his crusading journalism and public speeches, and will showcase a largely unknown body of Dickens’ work that speaks plainly to social justice through speech-making and journalism. It will re-frame Charles Dickens, not only as a novelist who addressed social ills in his fiction, but as a literary activist who boldly and imaginatively used the available forms of print and public address to campaign around key issues of the day.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Concert, various locations
11 – 19 May
A series of screenings accompanied by live orchestras will help mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 2017. The film adaptation will be screened in High Definition on giant screens as full symphony orchestras sweep away audiences with John Williams’ unforgettable score. The series will kick off in London’s Royal Albert Hall (11-13 May) before touring cities including Birmingham (15 May), Manchester (16 May), Liverpool (18 May) and Leeds (19 May).

Kipling’s ‘Rewards and Fairies’ Weekend at Batemans, Sussex,
13 – 14 May
Have your own magical fairy adventure at Batemans with a weekend of family fun and exciting activities inspired by Kipling's Sussex fairy tale books, 'Puck of Pook's Hill' and 'Rewards and Fairies'. A good place to begin is in Puck's fairy ring of wooden toadstools. Follow the sculpture trail around the garden to find a wise tree spirit whilst you search for the hidden little homes of Puck's woodland fairy friends, and then wander into the garden and meet Mr Kipling (actor Geoff Hutchings) and listen to his magical tales.

The Mysterious Miss Austen, Winchester Discovery Centre, Hampshire
13 May – 24 July
Exploring Jane Austen’s life, work and relationship to Hampshire, this unique exhibition will include a silk pelisse coat (one of the only garments in the world with a provenance that can be traced back to Jane), first editions of her works and fascinating personal letters. The centrepiece will be five portraits of Jane, together under one roof for the very first time – including two works from the National Portrait Gallery, London and three from private collections, one of which has not been seen in public for more than 40 years. There will also be a surviving manuscript of an alternative ending to Austen’s final novel Persuasion, in her own hand (on loan from the British Library). Bringing a contemporary view, Grayson Perry’s Jane Austen in E17 vase is evidence of her lasting legacy and influence on the arts. Jane Austen 200 exhibitions will also be held in Gosport (15 July – 20 September) and Basingstoke (29 July-7 October).
www.janeausten200.co.uk; www.visit-hampshire.co.uk

Crimefest, Bristol
18 – 21 May
Whether you’re a die-hard crime fanatic or you simply like to read an occasional crime novel, this annual convention is an opportunity to celebrate the genre in a friendly, informal and inclusive atmosphere. Drawing crime novelists, readers, editors, publishers and reviewers from around the world, the programme consists of interviews with its featured and highlighted guest authors; over forty panels with more than a hundred participating authors; a gala awards dinner; and one or two surprises.

The Bath Festival, Bath
19 – 28 May
Enjoy leading thinkers and writers of contemporary fiction, alongside world class musicians, intelligent debate, science, history, politics and poetry, all set beautiful venues and across the iconic city of Bath.


Manchester Children’s Book Festival, Manchester
Dates TBC
This delightful children’s festival delivers events with children's writers, artists and performers at many of the city's major cultural and educational venues as well as an extended programme of projects and activities for schools and communities. The dates and programme for 2017 are still to be announced so keep an eye on the website for updates. 

Sitting With Jane, Basingstoke
June – September
Sitting With Jane is a public art trail of 25 ‘book benches’ in and around Basingstoke, and part of the global celebrations on the 200th anniversary of the novelist’s death. Each bench has been uniquely designed and painted by a professional artist according to their personal interpretation of a Jane Austen theme. The trail will be accompanied by a dedicated website, a free app and a trail guide. Austen was born in nearby Steventon, and lived there for nearly half her life – this is where she drafted Pride & Prejudice – visiting Basingstoke regularly to shop and dance.

Jane Austen by the Sea, Royal Pavilion, Brighton
17 June 2017 - 8 January 2018
This new display will explore Jane Austen’s relationship with coastal towns and life in Brighton during her time, to mark the bicentenary of her death. Forming part of Royal Pavilion & Museums’ 2017 Regency Season, Jane Austen by the Sea will look at the seaside context of Austen’s plots and paint a picture of the leading resort of Brighton in the early 1800s, when it was a fashionable ‘watering place’ featured in novels like Pride and Prejudice. Although there is no clear evidence that Austen visited Brighton she included it in several of her works, alongside other resorts on England’s south coast. Display highlights will include King GeorgeIV’s personal, specially-bound copy of Emma at the Royal Pavilion for the first time, a mourning brooch containing a lock of Jane Austen’s hair, one of her music books, and important rare manuscripts and letters including unfinished novel, Sanditon, set in a seaside town in Sussex. Prints, paintings and caricatures of the resorts and fashions popular with seaside visitors in Austen’s lifetime along with original Regency costumes will also be presented.

Derby Book Festival, Derby
9 – 17 June
Derby Book Festival celebrates the joy of books and reading for all ages and interests. With a programme featuring great writers, poets, historians, politicians, illustrators, storytellers and musicians, they welcome internationally celebrated, best-selling authors as well as a broad range of local writing talent and include an exciting children, families and educational programme.

Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival, West Midlands
11 – 25 June
The UK’s longest running poetry festival returns to Stratford-upon-Avon for the 64th time with an exciting line-up of readings, performances and workshops, mixing the talents of inspirational and award-winning poets with actors and musicians.

Fickle Fortunes:  Jane Austen and Germaine de Staël, Chawton House Library, Hampshire
12 June – October
July 1817 saw the death of Jane Austen and Germaine de Staël, a long-standing superstar of pan-European intellectual, political and literary life. This four-month exhibition will present items from the library’s own collection alongside rare items sourced from other international research libraries. During the exhibition, Chawton House Library will host an international conference: ‘Reputations, Legacies, Futures: Jane Austen, Germaine de Staël, and their contemporaries.’

Jane Austen Regency Week, Hampshire
17 – 25 June  
Regency Week is set to be an extra-special affair in 2017, celebrating its own 10th anniversary and commemorating 200 years since Jane Austen’s death. The nine-day festival will be packed with all things Austen, in and around the market town of Alton and nearby Chawton, the home of Jane Austen’s House & Museum and Chawton House Library, which will be hosting everything from embroidery workshops to talks on Austen as a comic muse. There will be Regency-style music, dining, drama, talks and guided walks and tours as well as Victorian cricket and a Regency Ball. The Regency Day launch on 17 June is free to attend, with other events ranging from free - £47.

Bradford Literature Festival, West Yorkshire
30 June - 9 July
Bradford Literature Festival is as much about ideas as it is about books. Join a fantastically diverse range of literary minds and discuss books by best-selling authors, poetry from an array of different cultures, and masterclasses for every writing format. The festival promises to be something for the whole family to enjoy, with creative workshops, comic-drawing, storyboarding, and theatre shows suitable for children of all ages. www.bradfordliteraturefestival.co.uk


Jane Austen Summer Ball, Bath
1 July
The ball will be taking place in the historic Banqueting Room at the Guildhall, and all ladies and gentlemen are expected to dress in the style of the Regency or 18th Century period. The tables will be decorated to reflect the Northanger Abbey theme of the 2017 festival. Tickets go on sale in February and will include dancing, entertainment and a two course buffet.

Alice Day in Oxford, Oxfordshire
1 July
A programme of events to commemorate an important moment for children’s literature and for Oxford – the creation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Details of this year’s programme are to yet be announced.

‘The Famous Five’ go on a Garden Adventure, RHS Gardens – Surrey, Devon, Essex and Harrogate
22 July – 3 September
Cue lashings of ginger beer, as Enid Blyton Entertainment and Hodder Children’s Books team up with the RHS to hold a series of events to celebrate 75 years of The Famous Five. Enid Blyton’s best-loved and phenomenally successful book series will be re-published in May 2017 with newly illustrated covers. The ‘Famous Five go on a Garden Adventure’ anniversary activity will feature across all four RHS gardens (Surrey’s Wisley, Devon’s Rosemoor Garden, Essex’s Hyde Hall and Harrogate’s Harlow Carr), bringing to life the much-loved values of The Famous Five: friendship, heroism, adventure, outdoors and daring. Each garden will offer family activities inspired by The Famous Five, including themed adventure trails and garden displays, craft workshops and storytelling.  All four gardens will also be holding a picnic party on 11th August 2017, Enid Blyton’s 120th birthday.


Cirencester children’s book festival, Gloucestershire
The inaugural Cirencester Children's Literary Festival was held in 2013, organised by Octavia's Book shop in conjunction with Gloucestershire Library Service and the Bingham Library Trust. It is back for a fifth time in 2017, programme details are to be announced.


Jane Austen Festival, Bath
 8 – 17 September
Walk the streets of regency Bath as a Georgian gentleman or literary lady, as you immerse yourself in all things Austen at The Jane Austen Festival. Previous years have seen fans donning full regency garb at the Grand Regency Costumed Promenade, meeting their very own Mr Darcy at the Country Dance Ball, and dancing their sense and sensibilities away at the Regency Costumed Masked Ball. 2017 will see the 17th edition of the annual festival, with special commemorations marking the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death. 2017’s festival programme is still under construction but will consist of over 70 events and will focus on a celebration of Northanger Abbey which is in its bicentenary year.

Arthur Rackham in Sussex: A 150th Birthday Celebration, Bateman’s, East Sussex
8 September – 29 October
To celebrate the 150th birthday of Arthur Rackham, the National Trust Bateman’s House, the former home of Rudyard Kipling, is hosting an exhibition of his works, particularly focusing on his illustrations of Kipling’s Puck of Pook’s Hill and other work in Sussex. These will be accompanied by modern art and music responses inspired by his legacy, as well as art workshops and competitions, and public talks. The wonderful illustrator of many children’s books, including Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, Wind in the Willows, and Rudyard Kipling’s Puck of Pook’s Hill, Arthur Rackham is widely considered a leader of the Golden Age of Illustration.

The International Agatha Christie Festival, Torquay
13 – 17 September
Thursday 15th September marks the birthday of the Queen of Crime, and her birthplace of Torquay will be hosting this annual festival once again, bringing together the best of crime writing from around the world. There will be book signings, readings and tours of the places that meant the most to her.

Noirwich – Crime Writing Festival, Norwich & UEA
14 – 17 September
Britain’s boldest, bloodiest crime-writing festival returns to the medieval lanes of Norwich and the atmospheric Dragon Hall. Noirwich is an annual crime fiction festival featuring the best crime authors, writing workshops and social events. The festival mixes together author talks and Q&As with workshops for aspiring writers. Whether you’re a reader, a writer or a bit of both you’ll find something at Noirwich. Each year the Fringe introduces visitors to Norwich, a fine UNESCO City of Literature, as bars, restaurants, castles and other local establishments embrace the lure of noir. The festival takes places across three unique venues in Norwich, including the 15th century, Grade 1 listed Dragon Hall.

Roald Dahl Day at the Museum, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire
16 September
Celebrate Roald Dahl’s 101st birthday at the Museum as you explore Roald Dahl’s home village on guided walks, and enjoy face painting, balloon modelling, magic, storytelling and archive talks throughout the day.

National Book Fair, York
15 – 16 September
Held over two days, the National Book Fair sees more than 220 of England’s booksellers and many dealers from overseas bring a diversity of rare and collectable books to sell, as well as posters, ephemera, manuscripts, maps & prints. Prices range from just a few pounds up to tens of thousands of pounds, and over half a million pounds worth of books are expected to be sold over the two days. There will also be bookbinders, paper restorers, calligraphers and others in the associated trades' area.

Lincoln Book Festival, Lincoln
26 – 30 September
Lincoln Book Festival is committed to marking the rich historical heritage of the city by celebrating history as part of the region’s premier literature festival. The programme every year covers a vast range of history from Roman settlers to modern history and from our own shores to the far flung corners of the world. The festival aims to appeal to people of all ages, local residents and visitors – anyone interested in the events and periods in our past that have shaped who we are today.

Bath Children’s Literature Festival, Bath
29 September – 8 October
Returning for its 11th year, Bath Children’s Literature Festival is Europe’s largest dedicated children’s literature festival, and it has the simple ethos of entertaining children and encouraging them to read.  It presents over 80 public events, from book readings to craft activities, quizzes and games. The festival regularly attracts some of the biggest children’s authors and illustrators from the UK and abroad – past contributors have included: Jacqueline Wilson, David Walliams, astronaut Chris Hadfield, Michael Morpurgo, Sir Chris Hoy, Malorie Blackman, Michael Morpurgo and Michael Rosen.


Plymouth Literature Festival, Plymouth
October, exact date TBC
Plymouth has a burgeoning literature scene with numerous writing groups and a welcoming community of live readers and performers. Plymouth Literature Festival was set up by a group of passionate volunteers who wished to fill the gap left open by the absence of the regular festival. The aim is to create a more engaging festival that highlights local talents as well as bringing in authors from further afield.

Walking in the Footsteps of Tennyson at the Wolds Words Festival, Lincolnshire
To mark the 125th anniversary of the death of Alfred, Lord Tennyson a special ‘Walking in the Footsteps of Tennyson’ route will take place during the Wolds Words Festival in October.

Unputdownable: the Bristol Festival of Literature
October, exact date TBC
Showcasing acclaimed local, UK and international authors alongside voices from across the city, Unputdownable: the Bristol Festival of Literature is a programme of events and performances celebrating creative writing, designed to inspire audiences and engage communities. Everyone has a tale, so bring your ears or bring the story you want to tell.

Manchester Literature Festival, Manchester
October, exact date TBC
Manchester Literary Festival returns with a programme of special events, new commissions, in conversations, debates, workshops and live performances across the city. Meet your favourite authors and discover the rising stars of the future. Enjoy stories from other cultures and countries in the World Literature Stand and experience first-hand the ideas of authors, poets and thinkers. 

The Times and the Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival
 6 – 15 October
Every autumn, this vibrant spa town is transformed into a book lover’s dream as over 600 of the world’s finest writers, actors, politicians, poets and leading opinion formers are welcomed to celebrate the joy of the written word. One of the UK’s oldest and most distinguished literary festivals, the event is widely seen by the UK’s publishing industry as the launchpad for its biggest books. They’ll be over 500 talks, workshops and performances touching upon subjects as diverse as history, politics, sport, food and fashion.

Guildford Book Festival, Surrey
8 – 15 October
More than 50 authors descend on the historic town of Guilford for a week of inspiration, stimulation and laughter in October. Last year’s programme included household names such as Graham Norton and Jeremy Paxman as well as top fiction writers Anthony Horowitz and Robert Harris.

Blenheim Palace Festival of Literature Film & Music, Oxfordshire
12 – 15 October
Celebrate literature, film and music against the backdrop of the masterpiece of 18th-century baroque architecture, Blenheim Palace. Most Blenheim Palace Festival events take place in rooms at the palace – the Orangery, the Marlborough Room and the Indian Room. The palace is set in more than 2000 acres of parkland and formal gardens designed by Capability Brown. Programme details are to be announced.

Dorchester Literary Festival, Dorset
18 – 22 October
The Dorchester Literary Festival, now in its third year, is an exciting cultural event for a town rich in literary associations. Picturesque Dorchester and the unspoiled countryside and dramatic coastal scenery surrounding it have inspired many of Britain’s best loved writers, including Thomas Hardy, T E Lawrence, William Barnes, Ian McEwan and Tracy Chevalier. Whether you want to hear about the latest historical, crime or romantic novels, interviews with eminent screen writers, or talks by intrepid explorers, royal biographers and eminent historians, you’re in for a treat at this festival, held in a most beautiful setting.

Harry Potter exhibition at the British Library, London
20 October 2017 – 28 February 2018
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first book in the Potter series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the British Library will host a new exhibition dedicated to the magic of Harry Potter. The exhibition will be the first of its kind to celebrate a single series of books by a living author. Exhibits will include previously unseen materials from author JK Rowling and the book’s publisher Bloomsbury, as well as magical treasures from the British Library’s own collection of wizarding books.


Humber Mouth Literature Festival, Hull
November, exact dates TBC
The 25th year of Humber Mouth Literature Festival will coincide with Hull UK City of Culture 2017. Expect poets, authors and respected musos to head up discussions, book signings, riotous children’s events and gigs. The range of tastes catered for is enormous; in 2016, the programme covered Shakespeare, crime-writing, Galician culture, Star Trek and the memoirs of a major pop journalist.
www.humbermouth.com ; www.hull2017.co.uk/discover/article/preview-humber-mouth-literature-festival-2016

Hastings Storytelling Festival: patron Sir Quentin Blake, Hastings
November, exact date TBC
This week-long celebration showcases the artistry and magic of storytelling through the spoken word, dance, puppetry, parades, theatre, talks and digital media. The programme includes stories for adults and children, a storyteller in residence and an artist in residence. Past star appearances have included David Walliams, Sujata Banerjee, Saleena Godden, Will Self, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Sir Quentin Blake, Michael Morpurgo, Billy Childish.
www.hastingsstoryfest.org.uk Hastings Hastings

Bridport Literary Festival, Dorset
5 – 12 November
The Bridport Literary Festival welcomes all those who read books and love literature. Last year’s festival was bigger than ever before with a stellar list of writers of both fiction and non-fiction. 2016’s speakers included: Alan Titchmarsh, Jeremy Paxman, Paddy Ashdown, Ben Fogle, Margaret Drabble, Janet Ellis & Nick Fisher.

Shrewsbury Festival of Literature, Shropshire
24 – 26 November
Shrewsbury Festival of Literature celebrates fiction, poetry, story-telling and non-fiction from well-known writers, as well as those whose voices are not so often heard. Their ethos is 'telling the stories within', emphasising the interest in how writers come to write particular stories at particular times.


Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring A Classic, London
16 December 2017 – 8 April 2018
The unique exhibition will explore the success of Winnie-the-Pooh and the relationships that created him, including Christopher Robin’s make-believe with his toys and the collaboration between Milne as author and Shepard as illustrator. Designed for both children and adults, the exhibition will draw on the V&A’s collection of pencil sketches, proofs, letters and photographs, and many key loans. In addition, the original manuscript of Winnie-the-Pooh from the Wren Library at Trinity College will be on display for the first time at the V&A.


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