Literary Tour


11 Literary Festivals to Attend and Rejoice with Fellow Bookworms

Sleep, eat and breathe literature by attending these eleven literary festivals around the world. Whether you are a public speaker, an author or just someone with a passion for anything literary, these festivals are the perfect opportunity to hang out with fellow literati (bookworms) and immerse yourself in discussions, debates, workshops and other cultural and arts events that will blow your mind.


1. Shanghai International Literary Festival, China.


Having grown from small beginnings, this is now China’s leading English language literary festival, at which all genres are celebrated and discussed in order to create a taste for the current literary landscape. Each March, you can attend literary lunches, panel discussions, workshops, live events and readings, as well as watch some of the world’s greatest writers in conversation with one another. With a focus on fiction, literary non-fiction, poetry and children’s writing, activities also include interactive forums and sessions in other languages such as Mandarin, Italian and French, including sessions with well-known writers and Man Booker Prize winners. 




Image Via SmartShanghai


2. Kosmopolis, The Amplified Literature Fest, Barcelona, Catalonia.


Born in March 2002, Kosmopolis showcases the wild literary scene of Barcelona right from its heart at the Center de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona in the beautiful El Raval neighbourhood. Literary history runs deep through this region of Spain, which is why many of its most successful publishing houses are located here today. Barcelona’s literary brand of Gothic mystique and historical weightiness has, for eons, produced some of the best works of romance, love, betrayal, adventure, friendship, familial conflict and mystery. The city feeds the imaginations of emerging writers and those who are just passing through. Around 9,000 people attended the festival this past March and Festival director Juan Insua explained that “the goal is to think of literature as a big house with many doors; the ‘amplified’ concept relates to the fact that you can enter from a television series, a video game, a graphic novel or scientific developments”.



Image Via Culture 360


3. Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye, United Kingdom.



Image Via WeekendNotes


Hay-on-Wye is considered to be the Glastonbury of book festivals, and England’s most well-known. It began in 1988 in the small English-Welsh border town of Hay-on-Wye and has since gained a powerful reputation playing host to a rich line up of novelists, poets, dramatists, biographers, historians, artists, chefs and many more influential creatives each year around the end of May. People in attendance can kick off the Summer either by camping in some of the U.K.s most beautiful stretch of countryside or stay in one of the book-town’s many B&Bs. To top it all off, this town is also home to Hay castle, a medieval fortification built  in the 16th century, which has an outdoor public library wrapping around the castle walls.


4. Small Wonder, Charleston, Sussex, United Kingdom.


Small WOnder

Image Via Bede’s


Small Wonder is another prime example of book festivals which thrive when hosted in small, pretty towns. Ledbury hosts this ten day long festival with a heavy focus on short story and poetry writers. With an international line-up to enjoy, many days are spent at the fabled setting of Charleston House, the previous home of Victoria Bell and Duncan Grant reading, listening and making friends with fellow book lovers who are all there to share the properties significant literary heritage and the voices that travel to it each year.


5. Brooklyn Book Festival, Downtown Brooklyn, New York, United States.



Image Via LA Now


Originally established to shine the spotlight on Brooklyn’s many homegrown writers, today the BKBF has become an international literary event and is NYC’s largest free literary festival. With hundreds of book-related events for new and emerging authors to showcase their work, a lively children’s day and a festival day, the outdoor marketplace which hosts it creates a hip, urban vibe which thousands of people visit each year to hear the “Brooklyn voice.”


6. Sydney Book Festival, Australia.



Image Via City of Tongues

Beginning in 1997, this festival has expanded, now drawing a crowd of 80,000 people each year, in mid to late March. The festival involves 400 participants and presents over 300 events in renovated piers in Walsh Bay, Sydney. 



7. Berlin Book Festival, Mitte, Berlin, Germany.



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Berlin is internationally recognised as a lively cultural hotspot. Its festival of literature boasts a program in which people can attend a multitude of events with a contemporary focus, such as “reflections” in which authors, journalists and international experts from various specialist areas will all be voicing their opinions in discussions that takes on current political, social and cultural topics. ‘Science and the Humanities’ is also on the list in which scientific insights, approaches and potential solutions are discussed. Other programs include ‘Literatures of the World’, ‘Speak’, ‘Memory’ and ‘Specials’ which foregrounds new German voices. All texts presented at this festival are done so in their mother tongue, yet with presenters and translators available, discussions between presenter, author and even audience are all made possible.


8. Zee Jaipur Literature Festival, India.



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This is the largest free festival in the world. Last year, 350,000 people attended in the Northern Indian city of Jaipur. Sanjoy Roy, founder of Teamwork Arts, the festival’s organizer says “This kind of energy is difficult to reproduce because it comes from the young participants and the array of conversation on topics from cookery to math, ancient literature to modern writing. It is all about the discovery of new voices.” As the tally of literary festivals across India continues to rise, the JLF remains “magnificent and chaotic and marvellous.”


9. Miami Book Fair, Florida, United States. 



Image Via Miamiallround


The Miami Book Fair has gained quite the reputation for itself as being more of a “literary party” than anything else. This fair takes place over the course of eight days at the Watson Campus at Miami-Dade College every year in November. 250,000 people on average attend. Complete with live music and delicious food vendors, there is also a great selection of new and used books on sale and an engaging panel discussion.


10. World Voices Festival of International Literature, New York, United States. 




PEN World Voices is a week-long literary festival in New York City. The Festival was founded by Esther Allen and Michael Roberts under then PEN President Salman Rushdie. The Festival is composed of programs, readings, conversations, and debates that showcase international literature and new writers. It is produced by PEN America, a nonprofit organization that works to advance literature, promote free expression, and foster international literary fellowship. It runs for a week in April and has a focus on human rights. 


11. Wordstock, Portland, Oregon, United States



Image Via Literary Arts


In November each year, the literary arts annual celebration of books is where you can pick up information about MFA programs and writing classes, get book recommendations from your favourite authors and and attend events and talks such as ‘Border Crossing: Poetry and Place’ and ‘If You Can Make it Here: Art and Artists in New York City.’


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Junot Díaz Reveals Tour Dates for First-Ever Picture Book ‘Islandborn’

New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz is releasing his first-ever children’s book in March which celebrates cultural diversity in the U.S. and poses questions about identity and belonging. The story is told through an imaginary journey back to a young girl’s birthplace, “The Island.” Here is everything you need to know about it:


island born

Image Via Amazon


Islandborn is set to be on shelves March 13th, and it’s already generating excitement as Díaz’s readers await the chance to meet him in person on his book tour, which begins in March and ends in April. The tour will take the author to schools, libraries, and bookstores around the country. All information on the tour is in the infographic below:


Junot Diaz

Image Via Twitter


The picture book is illustrated by Leo Espinosa, who Díaz says is able to “capture magnificently the intimacy, the ternura, between little Lola, the subject of the book, and her abuela.” Of the story itself, Díaz says in an interview:


When I wrote Islandborn I thought it was about a young woman’s ability to connect to her home and her family with her imagination, but when I’d completed it I realised it was really about the ways that communities create themselves and young people play a big role in that labor.


The story begins when Lola’s teacher asks her students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from. All the kids are excited about the project except Lola, because she can’t remember the island she left when she was just a baby. She soon sees that with the help of her friends’ and family’s memories, her imagination is what will take her on an extraordinary journey back to her birthplace.


Díaz says of Islandborn that “it is a book promised all those years ago for my goddaughters and anyone who has ever wondered about their family’s ‘faraway place.'”



Image Via Remezcla


Junot Díaz is the author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This is How You Lose Herfor which his website has the most beautiful words to say:


Díaz turns his remarkable talent to the haunting, impossible power of love – obsessive love, illicit love, fading love, maternal love. In prose that is endlessly energetic, inventive, tender, and funny, the stories in This Is How You Lose Her lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of the human heart. They remind us that passion always triumphs over experience, and that “the half-life of love is forever.


Feature Image Via Twitter


Natives and Newcomers Come Together for a Star-Studded Event

On November 23rd, in a Canadian town called Saskatoon, a half-literary, half-music event called the New Constellations tour will kick off and head to thirteen cities and first-nation communities including Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa. Saskatoon is the largest city in the Canadian Province of Saskatchawan, home to 4 in 10 indigenous peoples.


New Constellations Tour

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New Constellations is the name given to this music and arts tour which is set to give its attendees “an experience they haven’t yet seen before.” What you will see is live music acts, spoken word sessions, as well as mentorship workshops which will bring together both indigenous and non-indigenous artists and organizers. All acts will be geared toward representing and mentoring the indigenous youth and as Jarret Martineau, one of the tour organisers has said, “Indigenous and non-indigenous artists rarely perform or create together, so this is an amazing opportunity to see what happens when they do.” 


Martineau is also the co-founder of contemporary indigenous record label RPM records, who has recently joined forces to plan the tour with The Basement Revue, a live event series that combines artists from different disciplines. Such artists who will be touring include Mob Bounce, A Tribe Called Red, Feist, and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.



Image Via Exclaim!


Mob Bounce is a hip-hop duo who formed back in 2010 and consists of rappers Craig Edes and and Travis Hebert. They say, “We’re really trying to be available to the next generation. I believe it all starts from connecting with the young people and being here for them when certain aspects of their creativity may be missing.” Mob Bounce will be both performing and mentoring indigenous youth who are interested in learning how to make and get their music out there, while on tour. Mob Bounce is set to release their first full LP in 2018. You can listen to the duo here on Soundcloud.


Mob Bounce

Image Via Soundcloud


Leanne Betasamosake Simpson will also be in attendance and will be hosting writing skills workshops with specific focus on poetry. She says, “The gift of reciprocity is something I plan on sharing with indigenous youth while on tour.” Leanne Betasamosake is a writer and a musician who is grateful to have had indigenous writers mentor her throughout her career. She is trying to give back to the community who helped and inspired her to form her band, f(l)ight, who released their first album last year. You can listen right here!



Image Via Leanne Betasamosake


Feature Photo by Matt Thomason Via Unsplash