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The Book Event Bucket List: 30 Fairs and Festivals from Across the World

Since it's our 30th birthday we've put together a list of the 30 best book events from around the world in no particular order for you to add to your bucket list. Attending book events can help you explore the culture and literature of a place you've never been before as well as give you the chance to be a tourist in the city or town where the event is taking place. You can find new books and authors to enjoy and expand your TBR lists to include some more unusual and interesting reads you wouldn't have chosen before. So, if you're a bookworm who loves to travel then pack your bags (not forgetting your plane or train read, of course!) and start working your way through this bookish bucket list of literary events! 

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1. Hay Festival - Wales

The Hay Festival is held in Wales each year and sees writers and readers come together to celebrate literature. Though the Hay Festival is held in the UK each year there are Hay events all around the world so keen travellers can tick off as many as possible. 

2. Shanghai International Literary Festival - China

The Shanghai International Literary Festival is an English-language book event that takes place across Shanghai's Bund each year. Over two weekends, new writers and internationally renowned authors whose work covers a variety of genres and target age groups take part in panel discussions, workshops and literary lunches. 

3. ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival - India

In the Indian city of Jaipur a huge literary festival takes place over 5 days each year. Speakers from a variety of literary, political and entertainment backgrounds carry out debates with one another on key issues. Dubbed the "greatest literary show on Earth", the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is not one to miss. 

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4. Miami Book Fair International - Florida

On the website for the Miami Book Fair International, it describes the event as "an eight-day literary party", so what more do you need to know? Children from local schools take part in the Street Fair and over 450 authors are featured in the Festival of Authors making this a fun event for all the family. 

5. Litquake - San Francisco

Litquake is a popular book festival that takes place in San Francisco each year. The main event is the Lit Crawl which sees readings taking place in bars, cafes and galleries across the Mission District. 

6. BookExpo - New York

BookExpo is an event for readers and writers to learn about all aspects of the book industry and to connect with their favourite authors through talks and signings. So, if you're heading to New York next May/June then have a think about attending this fascinating book event. 

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7. Africa Writes - London

This festival brings contemporary African writing to the forefront of the literature scene each year. Organised by The Royal African Society, the event includes book launches, readings and author appearances across the weekend the festival is running. 

8. International Literature Festival, Berlin - Germany

The International Literature Festival, Berlin has been championing new poetry and prose since 2001 and features talks, workshops, readings and more to showcase some of the newest and most exciting work to date. 

9. Cheltenham Literature Festival - Cotswolds

Over 600 writers and speakers attend this literary festival in Cheltenham each summer to chat all things books. With events focused on all types of writing, from children's stories to literary fiction to eye-opening non-fiction, there's something for everyone here. 

10. YALLFest - South Carolina 

If you love young adult literature then YALLFest is the book event for you. Set in the city of Charleston in South Carolina, this event brings many of the top young adult authors together for a fun-filled weekend. 

11. Istanbul Book Fair - Turkey

The Istanbul Book Fair is one of the largest events of its kind and sees readers from all corners of Europe come along. This Fair has been running for four decades so it's certainly a popular one and you can explore one of the most fascinating capital cities in the world while you're there. 

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12. National Book Festival/ Library of Congress - Washington DC

For one day each year the Washington DC Convention Center becomes very bookish indeed. Authors take part in talks and signings for book lovers to enjoy. 

13. Gothenburg Book Fair - Sweden

The Gothenburg Book Fair has dubbed itself "Scandinavia's largest cultural event" and combines seminars with exhibitions to bring authors and readers together. It began as a conference for librarians in 1985 before evolving over time into a cultural event for 95,000 book fans. 

14. Ubud Writers & Readers Festival - Bali

This cultural festival in Southeast Asia was created by Janet DeNeefe to help the area heal after the first Bali bombing. Since then the event has been held annually and writers and readers from across the world attend to take part in the debates, literary lunches and performances. 

15. Port Eliot Festival - Cornwall

The Port Eliot Festival is a summer weekend like no other. You can hear talks with top writers as well as take a trip to the beach and listen to some live music all in the same location. Fun and quirky, this literary event is a must for any book-lover's calendar!

16. Edinburgh International Book Festival - Edinburgh

Forming a part of the Edinburgh August Festival season, this annual book event started in 1983 with just 30 signings in its line-up, now it hosts in excess of 900 events for bookworms to get involved in. The festival also features debates and discussions to consider some of the most important questions and issues in the modern literary world. 

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17. Brooklyn Book Festival - New York

This is the largest free literary event in New York City and has events for adults and children alike. With guests ranging from the biggest names in literature to new writers climbing the bestseller charts, this is an event for book fans of all ages.

18. Women's Fiction Festival - Italy

In Matera, Italy each year the Women's Fiction Festival takes place. Readers and writers are encouraged to meet and celebrate women's writing through debates, concerts, signings and parties in the beautiful city of Sassi. 

19. Word on the Street - Canada

This Canadian book event runs for one day in September each year. The Library Square Marketplace gives visitors a chance to speak to authors and publishing industry professionals and the exciting schedule includes talks for adults and fun experiences for kids as well. 

20. International Literary Festival of Paraty/ FLIP - Brazil

FLIP has been held annually in Brazil since 2003 and has a strong focus on the theme of diversity. Each year the festival curator chooses a Brazilian author to celebrate as a means of persevering the Portuguese language and traditions of Brazilian literature.

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21. Tennessee Williams/ New Orleans Literary Festival - Louisiana 

This event is as much about supporting the local community through education as it is about championing writers and their work. Taking place in New Orleans the festival honours Tennessee Williams who saw the lively city as his spiritual home. 

22. Gladfest - Wales

This Welsh book event takes place annually at Gladstone's Library and features the cheery strapline "The UK's friendliest literary festival"!

23. PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature - New York

America's only international literary festival has had over 1,500 writers from across the world take part in their annual week-long event. The festival began after 9/11 to broaden the dialogue between America and the rest of the world and has continued to do so ever since. 

24. Open Book - South Africa

Since its beginnings the Open Books festival has grown and grown. Taking place in Cape Town every year, the festival aims to draw attention to both South African and international writing. 

25. Norwegian Festival of Literature - Norway

This late springtime treat is the largest literature festival in the Nordic nations and involves six days of talks, discussions, quizzes, shows and more in the Norwegian town of Lillehammer.

26. Buenos Aires Book Fair - Argentina

Every April sees readers and writers from across Latin America come together for the Buenos Aires Book Fair. The event sees writers, readers and publishers join in on a variety of activities during the 20-day long Fair. 

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27. International Agatha Christie Festival - Devon

Each year readers, writers and artists come together for the International Agatha Christie Festival at her home town of Torquay in South Devon. The festival aims to shed light on new writing from around the world as well as celebrate literature for all ages. 

28. Sydney Writers' Festival - Australia

The Sydney Writers' Festival features writers from all over the world discussing their love of storytelling and all things literary. The festival takes place at various venues across Sydney for a whole week in spring. 

29. Calabash International Literary Festival - Jamaica 

The Calabash International Literary Festival began after Colin Channer, Kwame Dawes and Justine Henzell decided they wanted to create a literary festival that had its roots firmly in Jamaican culture. The festival combines readings and music and is a celebration of storytelling.

30. Franco-Irish Literary Festival - Dublin, Ireland

This festival celebrates an unusual mix of cultures by bringing together writers from Ireland, France and other French-speaking nations. Each year the festival has a new theme and debates, signings, exhibitions and screenings give the different writers in attendance a chance to discuss their take on that year's theme. 


Now you have plenty of places to visit and literary festivals to attend so you've got a full calendar of trips ahead of you. There's a book event for everyone out there, whether you love literary fiction, children's stories or something else entirely. Go forth to these fantastic book fairs and festivals and find some amazing new books to devour!


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