Every Autumn Cheltenham is transformed into a bookworm’s dream as it hosts the renowned Cheltenham Literature Festival. The festival has been running in Cheltenham for over sixty years, and enjoys an unrivalled setting at the heart of historic Cheltenham. Every year, the literary festival welcomes hundreds of the world’s best writers, poets, politicians, opinion formers, cultural leaders and actors; packing out the hotels in Cheltenham town centre and all eager to share their passion for the power of the written word.

cheltenham festival

A Festival With Heritage

The Cheltenham Literature Festival was established in 1949, making it one of the oldest literary events on the planet. But that doesn’t mean that there’s anything old-fashioned about this event: new voices rub along with very much established authors, creating a vibrant, pulsating atmosphere. The festival includes almost five hundred workshops, interviews and debates, alongside the fantastic Book It! – a gathering aimed specifically at families and younger readers. There are few places on earth where you’d see the Gruffalo fighting for space with a Booker Prize Winner, or a sporting legend exchanging views with the leaders of the political world.

The festival is held at various venues and hotels across Cheltenham town centre between the 4 – 12 October. Within the packed programme you’ll find hundreds of vibrant events, all designed to challenge attendees; to inspire, surprise and – above all – to stir up some passion! Included in the mix will be some fantastic Science, Comedy, Jazz and Musical events, alongside the usual effervescent mix of storytelling, fiction, poetry and history.

Featured Guests

With some of the hottest names in publishing, politics, television, radio, art, theatre and sport already confirmed, the Cheltenham Literature Festival is sure to pull in the crowds. Bridget Jones author Helen Fielding is booked to hold a headline spot, alongside such other luminaries as twee designer Cath Kidston, musician Ray Davies and former Home Secretary Alan Johnson. Other names appearing will include Mary Berry, Jeremy Paxman, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Brian May.

Central Theme

The central theme of this year’s event is the idea of memory and how this shapes us; both individually and as a wider society. With the upcoming centenary of the First World War, along with the 2013 centenary of Marcel Proust’s epic novel Remembrance of Things Past, the event theme promises to bring out some exciting debate and thought provoking opinion.

Before You Go

Make sure you get your tickets early.

A record 126,000 tickets were sold for last year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival, so demand is expected to be high this year. The programme is online, so make sure you get your tickets as soon as you can if you’re planning on attending.

Book A Hotel In Cheltenham Town Centre

The popularity of Cheltenham Literature Festival means that many of the local hotels will get booked up fast, particularly hotels in Cheltenham town centre which are close to the action. If you’re planning on going, make sure you get your hotel booked as soon as you can. The Holiday Inn Express Cheltenham is a good option if you’re looking around: the hotel is located in the middle of Cheltenham town centre so you’ll be right in the heart of it all.

Chris Mayhew lives in the Cheltenham area and loves to have a look around the literature festival every year. He would recommend the Holiday Inn Express Cheltenham to anyone looking for somewhere to stay while they are are.