Litfest 2023
Litfest 2023: Exploring the Past, Creating the Future


Come and join Lancaster Litfest ’23 (17 – 26 March) as they return for their 44th year, with a packed programme of author events, fiction, illustration, poetry, history, nature writing, exhibitions, idea exchanges, and storytelling.

This year the festival will explore the theme ‘Exploring the Past, Creating the Future’: how the past is shaping the decisions we make and the legacies we will leave for the future. Once again there will be a flexible hybrid format (most events available to attend in-person or view online via crowdcast), and even better, this year all tickets are FREE to access.

Julie Bell, Chair of Litfest, has organised with her board and staff for all events, across the weeks of the festival to be entirely free to attend, be that in person or online, in light of the cost of living crisis. ‘It is not fair that people miss out on such an event due to the ongoing crisis’

There will be lots to get your teeth into, from challenging subjects such as Lancaster’s part in the Atlantic Slave Trade and the repercussions of the compensation paid to former slave owners, through to opportunities to get creative yourself with Poetry and Wildlife Photography competitions, plus a poetry-writing workshop! This gives you the chance outside of university to get some feedback and attention to your craft, and possibly even build up your portfolio, or volunteer and add some well recognised work experience to your CV.

The gallery and exhibition work of Litfest 2023

Litfest asks kindly, for those who can, to donate, as they are a registered charity organisation, and are extremely reliant on volunteers and donations to help run such large scale events. They also will have a bookstall at each event, selling the books from authors and speakers involved, as well as an online bookshop that is ran all year round, featuring rare, and discounted texts.

Delve into history, looking at Operation Chiffon and the Road to Peace in Ireland, and influential figures such as Anne Lister, English diarist and inspiration for the TV series Gentleman Jack. Explore the big questions of life with resident philosopher, A.C. Grayling; meet fantasy and science fiction author Adrian Tchaikovsky; and discuss family, faith and loss with Eoghan Walls, a recognised name in the English Department. Think about who has the right to tell a story as Luke Williams talks about his novel Diego Garcia – a work of experimental fiction, of protest and justice, and for the growing writing community in Lancs, the hugely popular Poetry Day is back, as is a magical evening of Storytelling with Nick Hennessey, plus some great exhibitions to visit at The Storey!

Eoghan Walls and Zoe Lambert for their 19th March discussion of ‘The Gospel of Orla’

And all this is just the main festival –there is also a fantastic International Women’s Day event on 8 March as Catherine Simpson talks with humour and compassion about her challenging life journey and her book One Body. Later, in April, legendary reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson will visit Lancaster University, while the prestigious Lancaster Environment Lecture will be given by eco-campaigner George Monbiot in May – in-person tickets for this event are sold out already but you are very welcome to join in online!

Litfest, despite common misconceptions, caters to more than just the Literature students, historians, philosophers, artists, photographers, and keen readers alike can get involved in Litfest 2023, all for free. All events are hosted in town, at either The Storey, The Herbarium, Lancaster City Library or The Dukes, so it’s right on your doorstep!

To see more events, and browse the programme visit the Litfest Website.

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