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Ten Global literary festivals to attend this year

It isn’t only about writing and selling books, there’s that aspect where like-minded people come together to share their love for books. This allows the chance for readers to meet face-to-face with their favorite authors, and authors readers. Bridget Rooth called the Bookworm Literary Festival in Beijing an ‘intimate’ festival.

So for readers and writers and all lovers of art who would want to go out and grace book fairs or festivals with your presence, below are ten (10) festivals to not miss this year, among so many big festivals like Edinburgh International Book Festival, Cheltenham Literature Festival that space won’t permit me to mention:


Dhaka Literary Festival: Holding from 8-9 November in Bangladesh, the festival has run for seven (7) years and has hosted speakers including: Ben Okri, VS Naipaul, Vikram Seth, Tariq Ali, Rosie Boycott, William Dalrymple, Vijay Seshadri, Shashi Tharoor, Pankaj Mishra.

Hong Kong Book Fair: It holds from 18-24 July and is organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. Records have it that more than one million people from all over the world visited the 2017 Hong Kong Book Fair. This is one to attend, as more than 300 cultural activities have been slated to allow visitors the delights of a new culture.

Open Book Festival: Cape Town, South Africa, will be hosting the world from 5-9 September. Among authors scheduled for the festival are: Frankie Edozien, Aminatta Forna, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Judith February, Mariko Tamaki, Mohale Mashigo, Zukiswa Wanner, Sue Nyathi, Nicole Dennis-Benn. Among authors who have participated in the past are: Paige Nick, NoViolet Bulawayo, Mukoma wa Ngugi, Amy Kaye, Antjie Krog, Colleen Higgs, Grace Musila, Harry Garuba, Koleka Putuma, Okey Ndibe, Petina Gappah, Z. P. Dala, Elnathan John.

Abuja Literary Festival: This is a big comeback in Nigeria. And not just a re-launch, it marks the tenth anniversary of the Abuja Writers’ Forum (AWF), a platform that has steered literary developments in the capital city of Abuja and Nigeria as a whole. The festival is slated for 28-30 June. The festival features the following: panel sessions, film screenings, drama performances, poetry performances, workshops, international art and photo exhibition.  

LIBER International Book Fair, Barcelona, Spain: 3-5 October. Presentations, panel discussions, exhibitions, awards, these and more are what to expect as people from around the world convene in Spain for the book fair.

Paraty International Literary Festival (FLIP), Brazil: 25-29 July. A festival “on the margins of the Perequê-Açu River, in a marquee”. Among writers who have visited this Brazilian catch are: Salman Rushdie, Don DeLillo, Ariano Suassuna, Isabel Allende, Neil Gailman, Angélica Freitas, Toni Morrison and Chico Buarque.

Melbourne Writers Festival: 24 August – 2 September, writers from Australia and around the globe will be trooping to the beautiful city of Melbourne. For over thirty (30) years the Melbourne Writers Festival has hosted Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, Booker Prize winners: J.M. Coetzee, Seamus Heaney, Frank McCourt, John Ashberry, Ben Okri. Other international writers who have participated in the festival include: Jonathan Franzen, Yann Martel, Tracy K. Smith, Zadie Smith, Dave Eggers, Naomi Klein, Maria Popova, Isabel Allende, among many others.

Göteborg Book Fair, Sweden: Considered as the largest Scandinavian cultural event, the Göteborg Book Fair 2018 holds from 27-30 September. It’s not just the largest Scandinavian event; it’s among the biggest in the world. There are over three thousand events scheduled annually for the fair, and over one thousand journalists accredited to cover the fair.

Babishai Niwe Poetry Festival: Come 3-6 August poetry will be lighting Uganda to the brightest shine. An initiative of the Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation, the festival started in 2015 and has hosted participants from across Africa. In addition to poetry performances, workshops, book exhibitions, winners of the annual Babishai Niwe Poetry Awards will be announced. Plus a visitation to natural sites, hills, falls in Mbale.


Ledbury Poetry Festival: Here comes the 2018 edition of one of the biggest poetry festivals in the world centered in the ancient Ledbury town. 29 June – 8 July. This year’s edition marks its twenty-second anniversary, and shall feature poets Benjamin Zephaniah, Jericho Brown, Jackie Jay, Marie Howe, Mark Doty, among many other.

PS: And in case you’re able to attend any or none of these festivals, you might consider holding a mini book reading in your community. At a café, a public park, a city hall, under a mango tree, a street corner, or just any cool serene, with two or more friends, family members or even strangers. Arts or book festivals mustn’t be ‘big’ or super fancy; it’s simply the drive to share views, interests, ideas, and experiences and to inspire one another to new thoughts and creativity.