York Literature Festival in association with Baillie Gifford

Welcome to the 2018 York Literature Festival!


By Rob O’Connor

York Literature Festival Director

January 2018


The full programme for the 2018 York Literature Festival has now been released, with a wide variety of authors, artists, book readings, talks and events taking place across various venues in York between 15th and 26th March 2018.

The 2018 programme starts with a special joint-launch event celebrating York Writers. The York Centre for Writing will launch alongside the 2018 festival with a public event taking place at York St John University. Members of the Creative Writing department will read from their work before Rob O’Connor, the York Literature Festival Director will interview Fiona Mozley about her amazing success in 2017 with her MAN Booker Prize shortlisted debut novel, Elmet.

This year’s programme contains a specific strand of events looking at History and Historical Fiction. Whether it is the creative accounts of historical events portrayed by popular historians or the occupation of “history’s gaps” and untold narratives by the novelist, there is a variety of events to consider, including: Dr Lucy Worsley talking about Jane Austen; Sir Simon Jenkins discussing the impact of railway stations; Dr Lindsey Fitzharris talking about the grisly history of Victorian surgery; Dr Janina Ramirez talking about medieval mysticism as well as a host of historical fiction writers discussing their craft.

2018 also marks 200 years since the publication of Mary Shelley’s influential novel Frankenstein. To celebrate we will be hosting an event with Shelley scholar Professor Angela Wright. In addition, our children’s fiction headliner, Guy Bass, will be on hand to introduce his own imaginative interpretation of Frankenstein’s Monster, Stitch Head. 

Other events in the 2018 programme include: Rachel Joyce at Bettys Tearooms, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Johnny Ball, the Medicinal Chef Dale Pinnock, and a pre-festival event with Elizabeth Buchan and Jay Rhoades. There is also a wide range of poetry events for all ages, drama performances and creative writing workshops, including the return of the Writers and Artists One Day Creative Writing Conference. We even have some events on boats, curtesy of City Cruises!

This year sees the exciting return of the York Literature Festival HUB, a strand of events within the programme run by writing groups in the local area, all taking place within York Theatre Royal. The festival HUB will provide an extra dimension, showcasing some of the talent that York and the surrounding area has to offer.

We have also partnered with The Wilberforce Trust. As a result, alongside a great selection of spoken word programmes, we are excited to present our exclusive event Poetry for All, including a large screen projection and a BSL interpretation.

In regards to this year’s festival, Rob O’Connor said: “Once again, our thanks go to our headline sponsors, Baillie Gifford, and to our ever-expanding list of local partners: York St John University, St Peter’s School, The Mount School, Make It York, Explore York Libraries and Archives and York Theatre Royal. We look forward to seeing you all in March”.


We’re very grateful for all the feedback we have received. If you would like to send us feedback about anything to do with the Festival, please do so using the contact form here.

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