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Amazing Literary Festivals to Add to Your Bucket List

literary festivals

As someone who loves literary travel so much that I make it my life’s mission to visit significant places related to authors, I thought a post about bookish festivals was long overdue. Please keep in mind that I, uhhh, actually haven’t been to any of these festivals yet. I know, I know, I fail, haha.

But never fear! There are a two festivals on this list I wanna attend in 2017. If I want this blog to shine as “the best of the best” in literary travel, then I need to start somewhere – even if it’s in my own backyard. Life goals, huh?

So, why should you attend a literary festival, readers? Why spend the money and time? Personally, I think it’s relaxing when I’m surrounded by people who love the same things I do, in this case, incredible books. As most of you know, I’m not a full time travel blogger. I teach high school English. While my students are wonderful people, a lot of them aren’t fans of reading, especially required reading for school. I hear “I hate to read, miss!” at least once a day.

So sometimes I NEED to interact with other literature nerds! Need to! A literary festival would be the perfect place! And plus, I’d love the chance to meet my favorite authors in person.

Without further ado, here are some amazing literary festivals you should add to your bucket list. They’re already on mine!




literary festivals

Zee Jaipur Literature Festival

This festival, taking place in Jaipur India, lasts for five days. Five literature-filled glorious days. Authors from around the world and especially South East Asia attend this event. Zee Jaipur Literature Festival has also been described as the “grandest” of all the literary events in the world. So trip to India anyone?

Time of the Year: January.

Learn more here.

Hay Festival of Literature & the Arts – Hay-on-Wye, Wales

I can’t imagine a more picturesque place for a literary festival than the Welsh Borders. Seriously, I wanna break out my anthology of British literature and read Romantic poetry now. Sigh. This festival lasts for an incredible ten days and attracts writers, filmmakers, politicians, and other creative talents! Former attendees include Stephen Fry, Ian McEwan, Carol Ann Duffy, and more.

Time of the Year: May/June.

Learn more here.

Edinburgh International Book Festival – Edinburgh, UK

Without a doubt, Edinburgh is known for hosting nonstop festivals during the month of August. And this bookish baby? Is. Three. Weeks. Long. Thanks to this amazing festival, Edinburgh was named a UNESCO City of Literature in 2004. Sigh, you guys, you guys. I didn’t need even MORE of reasons to love Scotland. At this festival, you can attend many writing workshops and panels. You may even run into J. K. Rowling on your trip. No, seriously, she’s attended in the past!

Time of the Year: August.

Learn more here.

literary festivals

International Literature Festival – Berlin, Germany

Founded in 2001, this annual festival draws authors from all over the world. This festival focuses on contemporary literature, and authors read their works in their native languages. A truly international experience, for sure!

Time of the Year: September.




Learn more here. 

Brooklyn Book Festival – Brooklyn, NY

I definitely want to attend this festival in 2017! This annual book fair boasts author signings and readings, and previous attendees include Joan Didion and Dennis Lehane. In 2016, three hundred authors attended the festival and fourteen tables were devoted to panels. So worth a train ride! This festival also places an emphasis on Brooklyn authors, so it’s a great way to support local talent.

Time of the Year: September.

Learn more here. 

Litquake – San Francisco, CA.

San Francisco apparently has the highest per capita consumption of books. No wonder I loved the city so damn much. With so many books being sold, it’s no surprise that San Francisco hosts its own book festival: Litquake. I love the name, don’t you? Haha. In addition, Litquake is responsible for birth of something super cool called the “litcrawl” – which is a literary-based pub crawl through San Francisco’s Mission District. Can you say “yes please?” A dream come true for a bookish traveler!

Time of the Year: October.

Learn more here.

literary festivals

Texas Book Festival – Austin, TX

Texas Book Festival is an annual free event that Laura Bush started in 1995. Both Margaret Atwood and “Lemony Snicket” (erm, Daniel Handler) have attended this event. Given its location, a special writer is honored with the “Bookend Award” every year! This award indicates that the author has made an outstanding contribution to Texas literature.

Time of the Year: November.

Learn more here.

Miami Book Fair – Miami, FL

This annual book fair is hosted by Miami Dade College and covers many different genres. For example, Young Adult literature was huge at last year’s festival. At this festival, visitors can enjoy many different events including a street fair, comix gallery (focus on graphic novels), Ibero-American authors Spanish immersion program, LGBTQ topics, and more. Writing about this festival reminds me that I’ve never visited Miami. I’ve always wanted to. Hmm, I should get on that as soon as possible.

Time of the Year: November.

Learn more here.

PEN World Voices Festival – NYC, NY

Another festival that I want to attend this year. This week long festival actually falls on my 30th birthday! Hosted by PEN American Center, this event is all about promoting freedom of expression. Past attendees have included Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood, Zadie Smith, and Jeanette Winterson.

Time of the Year: May.

Learn more here.

literary festivals

What literary festivals are on your bucket list? Have you ever been to these festivals? If not, have you read any good books lately? I’m open to new recommendations especially now that I have an Audible account, mwhaha. Share all thoughts in the comments.




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21 Responses to Amazing Literary Festivals to Add to Your Bucket List

  1. Neni February 4, 2017 at 4:16 am #

    I’d love to visit the event in Scotland. That sounds so amazing, and yes there are just too many reasons to love Scotland! 🙂

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 4, 2017 at 5:56 am #

      Neni —

      Tell me about it. The International Book Festival sounds incredible. I wish I could go this year, haha.

  2. Nat Deduck February 4, 2017 at 9:54 am #

    What an original list! We love festivals and we never thought of literary festivals! This could be a great idea!

  3. Sarah Ebner February 4, 2017 at 11:20 am #

    You’re right- there are so many great literary festivals round the world. We often go to ones in London (we’re lucky there are so many) but I feel really bad that we haven’t yet been to the one in Hay – I mean to go every year…..

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 5, 2017 at 2:42 pm #

      Sarah Ebner —

      The one in Hay looks so awesome! And you’re so lucky to live in London. It’s one of my favorite cities!

  4. Chrysoula February 4, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

    Lovely post, I love reading too so a visit to a literature festival is something I would love to do. Spending 3 weeks in Edinburgh for the international book festival is on my bucket list.

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 5, 2017 at 2:42 pm #

      Chrysoula —

      Spending the entire 3 weeks in Edinburgh would be such a dream. Adore Scotland.

  5. Penny Sadler February 4, 2017 at 2:01 pm #

    San Francisco is the greatest city and one of the few I’ve visited that can support multiple book stores. Just across the bay is Book Passage and they also have a store at the Ferry Building. I’m sure you’d love it.

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 5, 2017 at 2:44 pm #

      Penny Sadler —

      I just googled Book Passage and it looks so precious! Lovely! San Francisco rocks.

  6. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie February 4, 2017 at 10:48 pm #

    What a great list of literary festivals! I almost made it to Hay-on-Wye in Wales. In addition to the festival, isn’t that town known for its used bookstores? I’m a big fan of historical fiction novels. Have you read March by Geraldine Brooks?

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 5, 2017 at 7:57 pm #

      Jackie —

      Ohhh, I need to visit Hay-on-Wye for the used bookstores now, too! Gah. Where’s my plane ticket?

  7. Drew February 5, 2017 at 9:10 am #

    Great post. I’ve been to the Brooklyn Book Festival, which was awesome. So many amazing speakers throughout the event. The festival in Hay-on-Wye has been at the top of my list, but I missed out each year, despite living in London! Oh well, there is always next year.

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 5, 2017 at 7:58 pm #

      Drew —

      I’m SO excited to check out the Brooklyn Book Festival! And Hay-on-Wye is really speaking to me right now. Hmm, I’ll make it there one day.

  8. Laura Lynch February 5, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    We’ve gotten so far away from “books” that it’s actually somehow refreshing to consider going to a book festival. I might now read on my Kindle exclusively, but I’m still a book lover, and huge literary fan.

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 5, 2017 at 7:59 pm #

      Laura —

      I hear you! I do love my Kindle, though! Haha. I just subscribed with Audible and I’m addicted.

  9. Hugo Cura February 5, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    I had never considered literary festivals until now even though I’ve been to most of these cities. These are definitely great ideas to mix up my travels a bit. Will look into one for this year!

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 5, 2017 at 7:59 pm #

      Hugo —

      Definitely do!! I can’t wait to check out the ones in New York.

  10. Elisa February 8, 2017 at 2:04 am #

    I am not fan of literature, but these festivals can be the perfect excuse for another trip. I can see you will have a busy traveling year, this 2017 😉

  11. Christopher February 10, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

    I didn’t even know literary travels was a thing. This is very cool. Inspiration to visit a place comes in so many forms. The only literary place I could think of that I visited was Pamplona Spain to see the running of the bulls and the San Fermin Festival which was one of Ernest Hemmingways favoriting festivals. His books about it all was called The Sun Also Rises.

  12. Tuliyani April 4, 2017 at 10:11 am #

    Wow! I didn’t know that literary festivals was a thing either! And SF is so near to me, definitely gonna have to check it out!

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