Bury St Edmunds Literature Festival was founded by committee in 2017. We continue to be led by a small team of volunteers with a couple of people in paid roles to plan the festival and get us through the year.
In 2017 the town's first literature festival started as it meant to go on with a sparkling literary line-up including Louis de Bernieres (Captain Corelli's Mandolin), Helen Callaghan (Dear Amy), Elly Griffiths (Dr Ruth Galloway novels) and Sarah Perry (The Essex Serpent). The festival also had a great non-fiction offering - with events from nature writer, Patrick Barkham and Ann Kronbergs - and there was something for younger readers too, with children's authors Amanda Gee and James Campbell. The events took across the town centre at Oakes Barn, Waterstones, Angel Hotel, Hunter Club and St John’s Centre.
2019 saw the festival return with another stellar line up including poet Wendy Cope and local authors Erica James, Sam Byers, Matt Gaw and Am Howell being joined by Ruth Hogan, Georgina Harding, Sophie Hannah, Francis Young and Nicola Upson who shortly after became a patron of the festival. This was the first year that the festival found its home in Bury's beautiful and historic, Unitarian Meeting House.
Then came 2020...but let's not talk about that!
In 2021 and 2022 the festival ran two, slightly scaled back and socially distanced festivals, but there were still some fantastic events, including appearances by Liz Trenow, Jenny Uglow, William Shaw, Jan Etherington and Rachel Hore.
2023 saw the festival regroup after a quiet couple of years with a diverse line-up to appeal to readers of all ages and persuasions. For the first time there were panel events, including a conversation with four brilliant debut authors whose work is set or influenced by East Anglian connections, a spooky exploration of the mysteries of the Suffolk coast with Polly Crosby (Vita and the Birds) and SA Harris (Seahurst) and The Women They Called Witches a discussion between non-fiction author Marion Gibson (witchcraft: A History in 13 Trials) and novelist Margaret Meyer (The Witching Tide), on the history and literature of 'witch' hunts, so many of whichtook place in Bury St Edmunds. The offering for children returned to the festival with award winning Hannah Gold talking to a sold out enraptured house. And fiction lovers were spoiled for choice with appearances from bestelling and award-winning authors across the genres, including from Annie Garthwaite (Cecily), Ashley Hickson-Lovence (Your Show), Kate Sawyer (This Family) and Elly Griffiths (The Brighton Mysteries).
Details of our programme for 2024 will be revealed shortly. Please check our website and social media for updates or sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know about all of our grand plans.