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Spotlight On: Cornwall’s Literary Festivals

In celebration of North Cornwall Book Festival which takes place next weekend, here is a deep dive into Cornwall's literary festivals.

From Falmouth to Fowey, Bude to Penzance, make the most of what our region has to offer to the literacy world!

1. Guest Speakers

One of the top draws for visitors to Literary Festivals is to hear directly from the authors themselves – what are their methods, what tips and tricks can they share about their work? Or perhaps join in a discussion about some of their new work, with Q&A sessions. Featuring internationally acclaimed authors, it’s a perfect opportunity to develop your own style of writing, or understanding of the world of literature.

At Falmouth Book Festival, 16th – 22nd October, hear from Booker Prize winners Eleanor Catton and Ben Okri. Also appearing are James Strawbridge and celebrated novelist Louis de Bernieres.

See event listing

2. Workshops

Get involved in a variety of skills workshops, from poetry writing to creative storytelling. Whatever your preferred genre or taste, there is something for everyone to get involved in!

For those who want to take their work to the next level, learn how to navigate the turbulent waters of what you need to get your book published – either digitally or online.

Penzance Literary Festival always has a wonderful array of workshops to get involved in, this year this included a performance poetry workshop with Megan Chapman, Publishing & PR with Becky Hunter, and Be Your Own editor with Scott Pack. Penzance Literary Festival will be back from 3-6 July 2024, see here for details as they are released.


3. Live Performances

Settle in and enjoy performances of all kinds; highlights include poetry from world-renowned poets, excerpts from authors’ new work or even some comedy and live music. These performances are a great way to experience literature in a whole new way.

At North Cornwall Book Festival, 21 – 24 September, the weekend is full of performances of all kinds. On Friday renowned poet Luke Wright takes to the stage. Alongside Luke is Devon-based jazz duo, Helen Porter (piano and vocals) & James Budden (double bass), performing their original interpretations of well-known and much loved songs by Cole Porter. On Saturday Charlie Dore with Julian Littman entertain the festival. Charlie Dore’s songs have been recorded by the good and the great including George Harrison, Tina Turner, Celine Dion, Jimmy Nail and Ricky Ross, but her live shows reveal that actually she keeps the best songs for herself.

See event listing

4. Children & Young People

With dedicated children’s authors and illustrators, get your little ones involved too! Develop their literacy skills by attending a workshop, or expand their imaginations by visiting a storytelling session.

At the first ever Redruth Book Feast, Redruth Library welcomed in children of all ages for a host of workshops and readings, including Tracey Curran and Naomi Jones. We hope the Book Feast will be back in 2024 to inspire book lovers of all ages.

Each year, Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature (May 10th-18th, 2024) crown the Fowey Festival Young Writer or Young Artist of the Year. The aim is to encourage young people to engage in visual arts and creative writing, to celebrate their creativity and originality.

See event listing

5. Book Purchasing!

And of course, there are books to buy! Stock up your bookshelves and come away with an old classic or new favourite. Literary Festivals give audiences the chance to skip the big chains and buy from Cornwall’s wonderful independent book sellers. Lots of the authors will be on hand to make your new purchase extra special with a signature.

The Edge of the World Bookshop and St Ives Bookseller are just two you might see at festival this coming year. Go on, treat yourself!

Joanna Rule

Joanna is a theatre girl, loving all kinds of performance. She particularly enjoys productions telling stories of Cornish heritage and history. You can also find her exploring artists’ studios across Cornwall as part of her role leading Open Studios.