Wales is home to one of the most famous literature festivals in the world (The Hay Festival), but it is also full of other, quirkier literary festivals, in all shapes and sizes. So, to help you plan ahead, I’ve compiled a list of all the literary / book festivals taking place in Wales during 2017. I’m sure there will be other festivals that I haven’t come across, so please use the comments below to add information about anything I’ve missed out… Some of the later festivals haven’t confirmed their details yet, so I’ll continue to update this post throughout the year.
Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival
25th March – 2nd April in Cardiff
This will be the 5th year for what has turned out to be a very popular festival. Two weeks packed full of interactive, family-friendly events (they sometimes run events for adults as well) featuring well-known authors, illustrators and storytellers. My logo designer (Huw Aaron) created their logo too – and he’ll be running a cartoon workshop. See the website for details.
Edward Thomas 100
8th & 21st April in Cardiff
I’m organising some events (on behalf of Cardiff University’s Special Collections and Archives) to mark the centenary of Edward Thomas, a poet whose work has inspired and influenced the writing of many others. We’ll also be posting daily poetry prompts for #NaPoWriMo. The events are supported by Literature Wales.
8th April – A creative writing workshop
21st April – A poetry performance event including an open mic
See the Cardiff University Special Collections and Archives website for more details. #EdwardThomas100
The Laugharne Weekend
Abergavenny Writing Festival
20th-22nd April in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
Abergavenny Writing Festival took place for the first time in 2016. It is an event for anyone who loves the written word, inspiring people to get writing. Last year’s festival included a variety of writing workshops and performance events. Visit their website for more details.
Llandeilo Lit Fest
27th–30th April in Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire
The first of these took place in 2016, and they’re gearing up for another festival this year. There’ll be a book fair, as well as author readings, poetry and music. See their website for more details.
The Carnival of Words
29th April-6th May in Wrexham
The Carnival of Words is a week-long literary festival which promotes reading and writing through performance events. Visit their website for more details.
Wales International Poetry Festival
3rd – 6th May in Aberystwyth, Bangor and Caernarfon
Featuring poets from Chile, France, Galicia, India, Mexico, Scotland, Slovenia and Wales, the festival is part of Literary Europe Live, supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, and a collaboration between Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities, organised by Literature Across Frontiers in partnership with Poetry Wales, Wales Literature Exchange and Wales PEN Cymru. Visit their website for more details.
Dylan Day / Dydd Dylan
14th May in multiple locations around Wales
Dylan Day is an annual celebration of the life and work of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. It is organised by Mab Jones, and involves a wide variety of events across Wales and further afield. See the Dylan Day / Dydd Dylan Facebook Page for more details.
25th May-4th June in Hay-on-Wye, Powys
The Hay Festival is one of the UK’s biggest literature festivals. It features fiction, politics, poetry, non-fiction, drama and children’s events. I attended Hay for the first time in 2016 and you can read about my experience here. Visit the Hay Festival website for more details.
Llansteffan Literary Festival
8th-11th June in Llansteffan, Carmarthenshire
Organised by Parthian Books, featuring a variety of writers from Boyd Clack and Natalie Ann Holborow to Dai Smith and Gary Raymond. Visit their website for details.
R.S.Thomas Literary Festival (1)
9th-11th June in Aberdaron, Llŷn Peninsula
This festival celebrates the work of the poet R.S. Thomas. It takes place in the Welsh seaside town where he wrote some of his best poetry. Visit their website for more details.
Welshpool Poetry Festival
9th-10th June in Welshpool, Mid Wales
This festival will feature new, emerging and established poets, with events for children too. Their website will be updated with more information soon. In the meantime, have a look at their Facebook page, and here’s a quote from the festival organisers:
“Sophie McKeand will head up our Education Outreach Day on the Friday and will be reading with James Sheard and Deborah Alma in the evening. Helen Mort leads a workshop and James Sheard his masterclass on Saturday, followed by a lively free open mic. The festival closes with readings from Helen Mort and Luke Kennard.”
Caerleon Literature Festival
7th-8th July in Caerleon, South Wales
A small festival which begins with Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, followed by events featuring Kate Hamer, Derek John, Horatio Clare, Tom Bullough, Patrick Jones and Atilla the Stockbroker. Visit their website for more details.
Llangwm Literary Festival
11th-13th August in Llangwm, Pembrokeshire
A description from festival president Michael Pugh:
“Pembrokeshire’s newest literary festival offers a potent mix of local and international figures. Griff Rhys Jones brought hilarity last year and Diana Darke and Ben Rawlence tackled the theme of refugees. Topics are cutting edge. Lots for children and adults alike, and an art walk to showcase the village’s 12 outstanding artists “at home”. Bacon rolls in the Baptist Chapel to die for!”
Visit their website for more details.
PENfro Book Festival
8th-10th September in Rhosygilwen, Pembrokeshire
The PENfro Book Festival celebrates the quality and diversity of writing in Wales, recognising the contribution of local publishers and booksellers, and encouraging more people to enjoy the wealth of books Wales offers. Held in the glorious setting of Rhosygilwen in Pembrokeshire, the festival aims to be friendly, informal and inviting to everyone from the casual to the most avid reader. Visit their website for details.
R.S.Thomas Literary Festival (2)
15th-17th September in Eglwysfach, Ceredigion
Another celebration of the poet R.S. Thomas, based in St Michael’s Church, Eglwysfach. This one features Gillian Clarke, Ifor ap Glyn and others, alongside an open poetry competition. Visit their website for more details.
Narberth Book Fair (formally Tenby Book Fair)
23rd September 10am-4pm in Narberth, Pembrokeshire
The book fair includes opportunities to meet writers and buy books, as well as workshops and other activities. Visit Judith Barrow’s blog for more details.
Cardiff Book Festival
22nd-24th September in Cardiff
The first ever Cardiff Book Festival took place in October 2016 and was a resounding success, with a variety of readings, discussions and workshops from local writers and others from further afield. Read my review of the festival here. It’s one not to be missed! See the Cardiff Book Festival website.
Crickhowell Literary Festival
October – dates TBC in Crickhowell, Powys
A celebration of Welsh identity and culture through literature, including a focus on history. The festival began in 2015 and looks set to continue and develop. Visit their website for more details.
And plenty more…
If you’re keen to find out more about literary events in Wales, here are a few links you might find useful: