7 Reasons to Visit the Cheltenham Literature Festival (+ Giveaway)

Autumn has arrived in England. And when Autumn arrives, the Cheltenham Literature Festival isn’t too far behind.

The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival happens every October for 10 days, where you will find some of the world’s best writers and thinkers come together under white tents in the Cotswolds.

From Boris Becker to Chrissie Hynde, Paula Hawkins to Marian Keyes, Rick Stein to Gino D’Acampo, from Downton Abbey to Poldark – the list goes on and on. With a German and Australian strand and George the Poet offering social commentry through poetry, there is lots to see and do in just under two weeks.

As today marks the 7 day countdown to the festival, I thought I would share seven reasons why you need to book tickets for this fun and inspiring festival.

A highlight from #CheltLitFest 2013: Meeting Helen Fielding – we chatted about shoes, obviously.

 #1 Meeting your literary heroes

I will never forget the time I was working as a volunteer and happened to stand next to Jacqueline Wilson. I loved her books growing up, particularly The Bed and Breakfast Star, so imagine my face when I made eye contact with this wonderful woman who created these stories! I was too star struck to ask for a photo but a smile was good enough to make my day. This sort of thing doesn’t just happen backstage, you can queue up in the Waterstones’ book tent and meet some incredible authors and literary giants. You might even spot the odd familiar face just walking around the festival site – it’s the place dreams can come true! 

#2 Discovering New Books and Authors

It’s the perfect time of year to cosy up at home and read a book. Maybe make a hot chocolate and light a log fire if you have one… but most importantly read a new book. Fiction @ 7 offers an hour of fiction at 7pm, funnily enough, where you can learn tricks and techniques shared by established and debut authors. With hundreds of books to choose from within the Waterstones’ tent during the festival you are truly spoilt for choice and really have no excuse not to buy something for yourself and/or a loved one. That reminds me, I still have a few piled up on my book shelf from last year I’m trying to catch up on

#3 A perfect day out for the family

With an amazing line up in both the adult and children’s programme, there really is something for everyone. Book It! presents a variety of children’s authors, including Nick Sharratt (you might know him best for being the illustrator of Jacqueline Wilson’s books), festival favourite Julia Donaldson and Julian Clary – there’s even a rugby reading game for any young sport fans! With titles like ‘Calm Down Boris!‘, ‘Grrrr and ‘Stinkbomb and Ketchup Face‘ to tempt you, prepare to enjoy a fun-filled couple of weekends.

#4 YouTube stars come to Cheltenham

Fellow bloggers are sure to know who Carrie Hope Fletcher is. A talented singer (currently playing the West End leading role of Eponine in Les Mis), popular YouTuber and now author of ‘All I Know Now’, she’ll be sharing how she manages to balance her life, online and off. Sanne Vliegenthart, also known as Booksandquills on YouTube, will be helping budding YouTubers on how to vlog. Girl power!

Town Hall

#5 Enjoy Literature magic in beautiful venues

From the Town Hall, an early 20th-century assembly rooms, to the spectacular Spiegeltent, your literature experience has just got better. The Spiegeltent offers dining with a difference, where authors, chefs and TV personalities talk about their books in a more intimate environment. Gizzi Erskine, John Torode and Millie Mackintosh to name just three will be taking you on a culinary experience to remember.

#6 The Big Read

Come celebrate Harper Lee’s iconic book To Kill a Mockingbird at this year’s Big Read at the festival, before sinking your teeth into his newly discovered novel ‘Go Set a Watchman‘. A classic that I remember reading and analysing at school, To Kill a Mockingbird is a breathtaking read that raises awareness of many issues, including racial inequality. Go buy a copy immediately if you haven’t read it, and enjoy falling in love with a literary masterpiece… and then book a ticket for the event.

Montpellier Café

#7 Meeting new people and sharing new experiences

It’s a wonderful environment to listen to new ideas, share fun experiences and meet people who enjoy a good book or two! Whether you are sharing a table with a stranger in the Spiegeltent or sat in the café discussing events with the people next to you – the majority of festival-goers who come to Cheltenham are so enthusiastic and happy to chat about what they are about to see or have seen that it makes you feel inspired to book tickets to something you may have never thought of seeing before your visit! From experience, some of the greatest events I’ve been to have been the ones I knew nothing about. I dare you to book something a little bit different this October…

Come and see #CheltLitFest favourite Caitlin Moran talk about all things ‘celebrity’

* * * Giveaway * * *

Now here’s the exciting part, I’m offering one lucky reader two tickets to see Jojo Moyes (the fabulous lady who wrote Me Before You) on Sunday 11th October at the festival, where she will be chatting about her new book After You.

All you need to be for a chance of winning this pair of tickets is:

  1. Be a follower of my blog
  2. Enter a comment on this post telling me why you would like to win (or tweet me @kcblogs and tag @cheltfestivals)
  3. Don’t forget to include your email address or Twitter name so that I can get in touch if you win!

The Cheltenham Literature Festival is a pretty magical place (dare I say, slightly addictive?!) and if that isn’t a good enough reason to visit this October, then I don’t know what is 🙂

You can find out more about what’s on at the festival here.


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* All thoughts and opinions are my own, and my passion for Cheltenham Festivals is real.

One thought on “7 Reasons to Visit the Cheltenham Literature Festival (+ Giveaway)

  1. When I first read Me before you by Jojo Moyes (I have read it more than once) I was like Louise Clark in between jobs and not knowing where I was going. But I eventually found somewhere where I work hard and I enjoy it so much. I would like to meet Jojo because I have questions that need to be answered! Was I supposed to be upset with wills decision? because I wasn’t, I felt liberated by his determination and his ability to guide Louise. I am only just getting started on the second book but I know I will have more queries.


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