Literary News

UK Literature Festivals Get More Push Back Regarding Baillie Gifford Sponsorship And Town Library Ransacked After Book Sale

UK Literature Festivals Get More Push Back Regarding Baillie Gifford Sponsorship And Town Library Ransacked After Book Sale

Festival News:


The 2023 Durham Book Festival, taking place at Gala Durham, Clayport Library, and Collected Books from October 13th to 15th. This exciting festival spans a lively long weekend, featuring a rich program of 35 events and over 40 distinguished authors.

The festival’s primary focus centers on celebrating Durham’s history and the legacy of St. Cuthbert. Notable highlights include a special dramatic reading from Durham author Benjamin Myers’ novel “Cuddy” and an engaging event with historian Janina Ramirez. Additionally, the festival will delve into a wide range of themes, from North East politics to the NHS. Melanie Sykes will share her unique perspective as a neurodivergent individual in a predominantly neurotypical world, and Grace Dent will rejoice in the sheer pleasure of comfort food.


The 22nd annual Brattleboro Literary Festival is set to unfold in the heart of downtown Brattleboro, Vermont, from October 13 to 15. This literary extravaganza will offer a unique blend of in-person and online presentations. Renowned writers from a multitude of genres will grace the festival with their presence. Notable among them are Nin Andrews, Chen Chen, Franny Choi, Kelly Link, Angie Kim, Allegra Goodman, David Gessner, Tracy Kidder, and Angela Saini. The list goes on to include other distinguished authors, like Ewa Chrusciel, Brian Turner, and Ann Hood. As a bonus, all festival events are completely free and accessible to the public.


The upcoming Pa Gya! A Literary Festival 2023 will take place at various locations in Accra, Ghana, spanning from October 13 to 15, 2023. The encompasses a diverse program of events, readings, panel discussions, performances, book launches, literary prize ceremonies, and a host of other enriching activities. The festival derives its name, “Pa Gya,” from the Twi language, signifying “to lift up” or “to ignite a flame,” symbolizing its mission to kindle a fervor for the literary arts. Some of the speakers featured in the festival are  Orthniel Forte, Patron Henekou, Sabata-mpho Mokae, Elizabeth-Irene Baitie, Anietie Isong, Orthniel Forte, Kateryna Kalytko, Elizabeth Wanjiku, Albert Tetteh, Jeffrey Abban and many others.


The Boston Book Festival is gearing up for an exciting literary event on October 14th with a diverse array of authors in its lineup. Intriguing discussions and presentations spanning various topics, including “Understanding Knowledge” with Adam Gopnik and Simon Winchester, “Wildlife: To Honor, Respect, and Preserve” featuring Sy Montgomery and Terry Tempest Williams, and insights on “Breaking into a Publishing Career.” Among the prominent authors participating are Margot Kahn, Kelly McMasters, and Katy Kelleher. This event promises to cater to a wide range of literary interests, with titles like “Extremism: How it Grows” and “How to Be Happy”.


The Vancouver Writers Fest is back from October 16 to 22, 2023, boasting an impressive lineup of more than 125 authors from around the world. Featured authors include Naomi Klein, Cherie Dimaline, Mona Awad, and Celeste Ng. The festival will host over 85 events across Granville Island and the Lower Mainland, and it promises a diverse array of discussions, including the climate crisis with Matt Galloway of CBC Radio’s “The Current” and a conversation with the 2023 Scotiabank Giller Prize finalists. Youth events will also feature renowned authors like Jon Klassen, Kirsten Pendreigh, Crystal Smith, and Michelle Kadarusman.


From October 18 to 22, 2023, the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival will mark a significant milestone as it celebrates its 20th Anniversary. This highly anticipated event promises to be a memorable gathering of literary enthusiasts, authors, and readers alike. Over the past two decades, the festival has become renowned for its vibrant discussions, insightful talks, and a rich exchange of ideas within the idyllic setting of Ubud, Bali. The 20th Anniversary edition is featuring speakers like Maitri Fischer, Vandana Shiva, Dee Lestari, Geetanjali Shree,  Muhammad Quraish Shihab, Lala Bohang, Shehan Karunatilaka, Grace Tame, Megan Nolan and many more.

London Literature Festival (18-29 October) begins next week the Southbank Centre. The longest-running celebration of the written and spoken word of its kind in the capital marks its 16th edition, with prestigious literary names such as George the Poet, Yu Miri, Teju Cole, Sir Patrick Stewart, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kerry Washington, Jacqueline Wilson alongside rising stars.


Book News:

More than 150 authors and industry professionals, including Naomi Klein, Robert Macfarlane, Emma Dabiri, and Geoff Dyer, have signed a statement by Fossil Fuel Books (FFB) urging literary festival sponsor Baillie Gifford to cease investments in fossil fuel companies. The FFB was formed by industry professionals who initially wrote an open letter to the Edinburgh international books festival, requesting Baillie Gifford to divest from fossil fuels. The FFB is now calling on all UK literature festivals and prizes sponsored by Baillie Gifford to join the cause. Baillie Gifford sponsors several prominent literary festivals, including the Hay festival and Cheltenham literature festival, and also sponsors the Baillie Gifford prize, the UK’s leading nonfiction award. READ MORE

Meanwhile the Baillie Gifford prize shortlist has been announced featuring music, history and courageous journalism. Judges praise the final six ‘exquisite and ambitious’ works in contention for the £50,000 award for nonfiction.

Pascal Engman’s “Femicide,” translated into English by Michael Gallagher and published by Legend Press, has secured the coveted 2023 Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. More

Libyan writer and novelist Ibrahim Al-Koni has been named Cultural Personality of the Year at the 42nd Sharjah International Book Fair by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA). This recognition celebrates his significant contributions to Arab and global culture and literature, with over 40 translations of his works into various languages and inclusion in university curricula worldwide.

UK and Irish booksellers have announced the shortlists for the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, distinguished as the sole book awards featuring shortlists handpicked by booksellers. The public is now encouraged to cast their votes in multiple categories, including Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Young Adult Fiction, Children’s Fiction, and Breakthrough Author. The winners will be revealed on November 7th, during an awards ceremony hosted by Radzi Chinyanganya. Notable nominees include Barbara Kingsolver in the Fiction category and Chris van Tulleken in the Non-Fiction category.

Salman Rushdie is set to publish a memoir titled “Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder,” recounting a life-threatening knife attack he survived in August 2022. The memoir, to be released in April 2024, will delve into the traumatic events of the assault, offering a powerful and deeply personal reflection on life, loss, resilience, and the redemptive power of art. More

Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, currently imprisoned in Tehran, has been named the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. She is serving a 10-year jail sentence for “spreading anti-state propaganda.” Mohammadi’s book, “White Torture: Interviews with Iranian Women Prisoners,” is published by Oneworld. The award highlights her courageous activism in the face of Iran’s suppression of dissent and champions human rights.

Library’s book sale ends with Facebookers ransacking shelves. ‘Atrocious behaviour’ seen at £1 book sale at a town library which was “decimated” when people filled their bags with dozens of library books.

The  Times has a story about  a Dickens video game which brings the author’s words to life. Players can progress only if they say the right things to people such as Georgina Hogarth, Dickens’s housekeeper and sister-in-law, and William Wood, a mesmerist and psychiatrist who founded the Priory hospital in London. The game uses artificial intelligence to judge whether players have impressed other characters or offended them, in which case they are ejected from the game.


Author Arundhati Roy may face prosecution in India over 2010 speech. Top official sanctions case against Booker prize-winning novelist for comments about Kashmir

Sweden’s ‘queen of Noir’ Camilla Läckberg accused of using a ghostwriter. Crime novelist has been forced to deny claims that she tricked readers into buying books she didn’t write herself


Spotify’s new audiobook streaming could have ‘devastating effect’, says Society of Authors. The industry body says the music giant’s move to make more than 150,000 titles available has not been discussed with authors and may compete with sales.


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You can explore more content via the association’s website here and discuss topics in the forum with other member festivals here.