Jaipur Literature Festival, 2019 is over, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways of getting your literary fix through the year. With the popularity of literature festivals on the rise, you can travel to idyllic hill stations or beach-towns, to bustling capitals or sleepy villages and listen to authors, writers, and people in the book industry. In this list, we explore 12 of the most anticipated literature festivals happening across the world in 2019.

(Image via Alternative Dubai)


Emirates Airline Festival Of Literature

March 1- March 9

Launched in 2009 with only 65 authors, the festival is growing every year. In 2018, they hosted over 180 authors from 50 different countries. Held under the patronage of the Sheikh of Dubai, the festival now goes beyond just literary talks and also hosts events such as yoga workshops, debates and writing competitions. They also have a focus on children’s and young adult literature and this year acclaimed YA authors Cassandra Clare and Ross Montgomery will be speaking. For adults, they are hosting exciting authors such as Charles Cumming and Kate Young. This year, the festival is dealing with some controversy as a few authors are boycotting it to protest U.A.E.’s arrest of Matthew Hedges, a British academic. You can buy either a festival pass or tickets to the individual sessions.

Find out more here.


L.A. Times Festival of Books

April 13- April 14

Hosted by The University of Southern California in Los Angeles, this literary festival is more than just a celebration of books; it celebrates all forms of art. There are book drops and swaps, live theatre performances, and a great feeling of bonhomie throughout. Last year Zinzi Clemmons spoke on fiction, Junot Diaz on his book, Islandborn, John A. Farrell on how to write a biography, and Moby on animal rights. While admission to the festival itself is free, there are some paid sessions.

Find out more here.

(Image via PEN America)


PEN World Voices Festival

May 6- May 22

PEN America is one of the most prestigious literary organisations in the world and champions the freedom to write without fear of consequence. The festival was founded by Salman Rushdie, Esther Allen and Michael Roberts post the September 11 attacks and claims to be the only U.S.-based literature festival with a human rights focus. This year, it celebrates its 15th anniversary. In 2018, Jhumpa Lahiri, Hasan Minhaj, R.J. Palacio and Salman Rushdie were some of the famous speakers. While this year’s schedule and speakers have not been announced, there is no reason to believe the line-up won’t be just as brilliant.

Find out more here.

(Image via Bare Lit Festival)


Bare Lit Festival

May 3- May 5

This festival takes place in South London and is one of the few eminent literature festivals that only features writers of colour. This independent festival hosts poets, novelists, journalists and playwrights. Through readings, discussions, debates, performances and workshops, this literary festival is likely to expand your worldview. In 2018, more than 45 writers, including Guy Gunaratne and Preti Taneja, covered topics ranging from freedom of speech to multiculturalism in Britain and superstition and magic.

Find out more here.


Hay Festival

May 23- June 2

Named after the village it happens in – Hay-on-Wye- this is probably one of the most renowned literature festivals in the world. It is organised by the Hay Festival Foundation, which hosts editions of the Hay Festival across the world, from Columbia to Spain and from Peru to Mexico. Bill Clinton once called this festival the ‘Woodstock of the mind”. This year, not only will you get an opportunity to attend talks by famous authors like Julia Donaldson, Anna Burns and Leila Slimani, but you can also hear the famous musical band Gypsy Kings. Early-bird tickets for their more famous speakers are on sale, so make sure you get your hands on them now.

Find out more here.


Mountain Echoes


Situated in Thimpu, the beautiful Himalayan mountains provide a stunning backdrop to this unique literature festival which rivets the mind while calming the body. The festival goes beyond just books and also features speakers from the film industry and founders of non-profits. While the 2019 schedule is yet to be released, last year featured diverse speakers, ranging from film personalities like Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah to theatre personalities like Sanjna Kapoor, and from non-profit founders like Aparajita Jain to journalists like Snigdha Poonam. The literary world was represented by authors such as Namita Gokhale, Nilanjana Roy, Ajoy Bose and Malvika Singh.

Find out more here.

(Image via Geograph)


Edinburgh International Book Festival

August 10- August 26

Set in the picturesque Charlotte Square Gardens, right in the middle of the bustling city of Edinburgh, this two-week long festival doesn’t feel quite so long. There are over 800 events consisting of panel discussions, workshops, storytelling sessions, and a separate children’s event featuring children’s writers and illustrators. While this year’s program will only release mid-June, last year’s line-up featured Booker-shortlisted author, Rachel Kushner, U.K.’s Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn as well as activists Maria Alyokhina (of Pussy Riot fame) and Rose McGowan.

Find out more here.


Khushwant Singh Litfest


Named after Indian politician and novelist, Khushwant Singh, this lit fest takes place in the idyllic hill station of Kasauli. The venue, Kasauli Club, only adds to the charm of the entire affair. Expect the 2019 dates and schedule to be released later in the year, but the 2018 speakers included heavyweights such as Nivedita Menon, Gurcharan Das, Mark Tully, Jairam Ramesh, Karan Thapar, Shashi Tharoor and Gillian Wright.

Find out more here.

(Image via Flickr)


Ubud Writers and Readers Festival

October 23- October 27

Bali is always an exciting and beautiful place to be in and the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival only makes it better. A festival targeting both writers and readers alike, there is a lot more than just literary talks here. Expect to find eclectic live musical performances, film screenings and even cooking workshops! Last year, JCB Prize-shortlisted Anuradha Roy, Women’s Prize-longlisted Fatima Bhutto, Indian activist Gurmehar Kaur and historical author Shrabani Basu, were part of the line-up of the over 200 speakers.

Find out more here.


Chandigarh Literature Festival


If you’re looking for a lit fest with a difference, this is it. Helmed by famous writer Annie Zaidi, this is one of the few festivals that places critics on the same dais as writers. For example, in 2018, Nilanjana Roy faced tough questions from Rihan Nijab while Paro Anand parried with Swati Daftuar. Also, not one to shy away from controversial subjects, the 2018 festival began with a panel discussion on #MeToo and its impact on the literary world.

Find out more here.


Tata Literature Live!


Tata Literature Live! has become Mumbai’s premier lit fest and attracts all the literati of India’s financial capital. Spread over four days and multiple locations in the city, expect stimulating discussions, book readings, musical and theatre performances as well as book swaps, competitions for young writers and prizes for the best works of literature across all genres. Last year Aatish Taseer, Shubhangi Swarup, Anuradha Sengupta, Henry Eliot, Lionel Shriver, Snigdha Poonam and Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi were amongst the heavy-hitters to grace this event.

Find out more here.

(Image via Dhaka Lit Fest)


Dhaka Lit Festival

November 7- November 9

Bangladesh’s home-grown lit fest has been making waves for a few years now and is known for taking a stand on humanitarian issues, such as, bringing attention to the plight of the Rohingya community and campaigning for the release of Bangla publisher, Shamsuzzoha Manik. While the 2019 speaker list has not been released yet, last year, it hosted renowned international names such as Adam Johnson, Mohammed Hanif, Tilda Swinton, Nandita Das and Chandrahas Choudhury alongside famous Bangladeshi writers like Imadul Haq Milon, Kaiser Haq and Selina Hossain.

Find out more here.

As a young boy, Nirbhay had the annoying habit of waking up at 5 a.m. Since television was a big no-no, he had no choice but to read to entertain himself and that is how his love affair with books began. A true-blue Piscean, books paved the path to his fantasy worlds- worlds he’d often rather stay in. Nirbhay is the co-founder and publisher of The Curious Reader.

You can read his articles, here.