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The best book festivals around the UK in 2015, starring Stephen Fry, Mary Portas and Sarah Brown
March 5, 2015 | By:
On World Book Day (5 March) Lucy Handley picks the best literary festivals for this spring, from Hexham to Hay, featuring Kazuo Ishiguro, Germaine Greer and Dan and Peter Snow
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Hay Festival runs from 21 to 31 May. The full line-up will be announced later this month

On World Book Day (5 March) Lucy Handley picks the best literary festivals for this spring, from Hexham to Hay, featuring Kazuo Ishiguro, Germaine Greer and Dan and Peter Snow.

Bath Literature Festival, now until Sunday

It’s on now until Sunday, but there are still tickets available. Catch Salon London’s Helen Bagnall and company talking about 20th-century sex, drugs and rock’n’roll in the capital on Friday night, or Sarah Brown discussing feminism in the digital age on Saturday lunchtime.

You’ll have to join the waiting list to hear The Remains of the Day author Kazuo Ishiguro, but he features at several other book events this year including the Oxford and Hay festivals. Bath Literature Festival

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Mary Portas will appear at both Bath and Oxford

Words by the Water, Keswick 6 to 15 March

With ‘science of the mind’ and ‘science of the body’ sessions, as well as talks from writers Åsne Seierstad and Blake Morrison and comedian Francesca Martinez, this promises to be thought-provoking as well as pleasing on the eye. Held at the Theatre by the Lake on Derwentwater, it’s worth making a weekend of it in beautiful Cumbria. Download the Words by the Water brochure

Oxford Literary Festival, 21 to 29 March

Join Mary Portas, Anita Anand, Philip Pullman and Alan Bennett at various venues across Oxford, including the historic Sheldonian Theatre and various colleges. There is also a film location tour, a ‘lunch with the FT’ slot with Simon Schama and a talk by Jonathan Powell, former chief of staff to Tony Blair, about how to talk to terrorists to end conflict.

If you missed Kazuo Ishiguro in Bath, you can see him in Oxford on 12 March, as a preview to the main event. The Oxford Literary Festival

Essex Book Festival, now until 31 March

A mixture of theatre, art, poetry and fiction, the festival is now on and stars Shopgirls author Pamela Cox, football correspondent Matt Dickinson on Bobby Moore and Death in Paradise creator Robert Thorogood. Willy Russell’s Educating Rita is also on at Colchester’s Mercury Theatre until 14 March. The Essex Book Festival

Hexham Book Festival, 20 April to 4 May

Mona Siddiqui will talk about her life as a Muslim woman, Olivia Chapman will chair a group book club analysis of Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train, and if you fancy yourself as an author, Bea Davenport is running a workshop as part of the event.

Hexham is a pretty market town only a few miles south of Hadrian’s Wall. The Hexham Book Festival

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The Bodleian Library and Sheldonian Theatre are venues for Oxford Literary Festival

Chip Lit Fest 23 to 25 April

Held in eight venues in and around Chipping Norton in the heart of the Cotswolds, the festival packs in more than 50 events over three days, and has four hand-picked schedules to help you choose what to see.

Big names including David Baddiel and 90-million-selling Lee Child sit alongside new voices sucs as Renee Knight, a former BBC director, and actor Jason Hewitt, whose debut is historical novel The Dynamite Room. The Chip Lit Festival

Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival, 25 April to 3 May

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Death of a Salesman is on at the RSC Stratford during the town’s literary festival

Stars many well-known figures including Alastair Campbell, Paul Merton and former newsreader Charlotte Green. Discussions include how to survive your teenager, Guardian writing masterclasses, and a talk on the history of gin (with cocktail included).

If you fancy a spot of theatre while you’re at the festival, you can also catch Death of a Salesman at the RSC, from 26 March to 2 May. The Stratford Literary Festival

Hay Festival, 21 to 31 May

this is possibly the UK’s largest and most famous book festival. Hay on Wye’s annual shindig will feature the ubiquitous Stephen Fry discussing equality post-Election, Germaine Greer on Shakespeare’s women, and Dan and Peter Snow on The Battle of Waterloo. The full programme will be available by the end of the month. The Hay Festival

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