November 2022



November 2022



The second International Literature Festivals Conference was held during the 2022 Ake Arts and Book Festival (22-23 November, 2023). The conference provides an opportunity to exchange ideas, examine common issues and discuss mutual challenges, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with 23 delegates attending from 23 festivals. All continents were represented, with festival directors coming from as far afield as Australia, Canada, Turkey, Norway, Portugal, Ghana, Kenya and more.


Lola Shoneyin

Ake Arts & Book Festival

Teresa Grøtan

Bergen International Literary Festival

Jean-Claude Cournand

Bocas Literary Festival

Naomi Miller

Bristol Ideas

Lyndsey Fineran

The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

Carmel Rosato

Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature

Rosalind Green

Essex Book Festival

Kenanao Phele

Gabarone Book Festival

Sumayya Jaeh Iliyasu

Hausa International Book and Arts Festival (HIBAF)

Simone Schröder

internationales literaturfestival berlin

Nora Hadjisotiriou

International Literary Festival, to the sea-girt shores of Cyprus AND International Festival for Young Poets

Nermin Mollaoğlu Demirtaş

İTEF- İstanbul International Literature Festival

Anja Bengelstorff

Macondo Literary Festival

Angela Wachuka

NBO Litfest

Rosemarie Milsom

Newcastle Writers Festival

Marit Borkenhagen

The Norwegian Festival of Literature

Yukiko Torun Maria Annette Duke Bergman

The Norwegian Festival of Literature

Martin Egblewogbe

Pa Gya! Literary Festival

Amanda Bullock

Portland Book Festival

Willemijn Lamp

Read My Word Festival

Roland Gulliver

Toronto International Festival of Authors

Ana Amaral

Words of Fire

Haley Ann Borgrud

Wisconsin Book Festival


Tuesday, 22 November

Lola Shoneyin
Poetry Interlude
Carmel Rosato
Musical Interlude

Established literary festivals have been a huge inspiration to event curators all over the world. In this session, we’ll meet the founders of some of the world’s newest festivals and hear about their activities, challenges and future plans.

Angela Wachuka
(NBO Litfest) – Kenya

Kenanao Phele
(Gaborone Book
Festival) – Botswana

Sumayya Jaeh IIilyasu
(Hausa International
Book & Arts Festival)
– Nigeria

Festival organisers have to think deeply about diversity in their programming. However, what constitutes diversity is determined by context. In this session, three festival directors share how they demonstrate diversity in their festival events.

Anja Bengelstorff
(Macondo Literary
Festival) – Kenya

Nora Hadjisotiriou
(International festival for
Young Poets) – Cyprus

Willemijn Lamp
(Read My World)

The Pandemic saw an emergence of video conferencing tools, forcing many festival directors into a steep learning curve. Are hybrid festivals the future? In this session, three Programme coordinators share their experience of hybrid events.

Lynsey Fineran
(The Times
and The Sunday
Times Cheltenham
Literature Festival)
– UK

Simone Schroder
Literature Festival)
– Germany

Ana Filomena Amaral
(Words of Fire)
– Portugal

From achieving audience growth, managing finances to  mining hidden income streams, all festival organisers have some hard-won lessons to share but there is always something to learn and adapt.


Jean-Claude Cournand (BOCAS Lit Fest) – Trinidad and Tobago

Nermin Mollaoglu
(Istanbul International
Literature Festival)
– Turkey

Marit Borkenhagen
(The Norwegian Festival
of Literature)

Wednesday, 23 November

There are many ways in which festivals can collaborate effectively. In this session, delegates will share some of the ways in which they have worked with other
festivals, whilst exploring opportunities for more  global conversations.

Teresa Grotan (Bergen International Literary Festival) – Norway

Naomi Beth Miller (Bristol Ideas) – UK

Martin Egblewogbe (Pya Gya!) -Ghana

This is probably a top priority for all festival organizers. With world economies grappling with a global crisis, fundraising can be soul-destroying. In this session, festival directors discuss some of the tricks of the trade.

Amanda Bullock (Portland Book Festival) – US

Roland Gulliver (Toronto International Festival of Authors) – Canada

Rosemarie Milsom (Newcastle Writers Festival) – Australia


Even seasoned festival directors may be missing out on the benefits of a good campaign. In this session, participants discuss how best to harness social media to maximise their success and boost their brand profiles.


Carmel Rosato