News room: 14 Unmissable Book Events Around the World this Year

14 Unmissable Book Events Around the World this Year by Jessica Barrah

Picture yourself in Miami, Jamaica, or even Brazil, surrounded by thousands of books, influential people in the publishing industry, international writers and bibliophiles. A book-lover’s dream holiday and an opportunity to market your own book, all rolled into one. What’s not to love?

Here are 20 unmissable book events around the world in 2015. Pack those books in your bag and get your geek on.

1. Saints and Sinners Festival
Where? New Orleans, USA
When? 27th-29th March 2015
What makes it special? Love LGBT writing? The Saints and Sinners Literary Festival is for you. As an added bonus, it’s in New Orleans – home to a unique melting pot of culture, food and music. Spend hours discussing books – including your own, of course – over a bowl of gumbo, then stroll down historic streets to an all-night jazz club

2. 30th Cuirt International Literary Festival

Where? Galway, Ireland.
When? 21st-27th April 2015
What makes it special? This year is the 30th Cuirt International Literary Festival, and they are celebrating with a bang. Guest authors include the awesome Irvine Welsh and Colm Toibin. They are also joining in with Yeats’ 150th anniversary celebrations in combining music with poetry. As if you needed another excuse to go to Ireland.

3. Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
Where? Los Angeles, USA
When? 18th-19th April 2015
What makes it special? With Hollywood just a short hop away, this is the perfect place for anyone with book they’d like to see on screen. Live bands, poetry readings, chef demos, cultural entertainment and artists creating their work on-site, make this one of the most eclectic and fun-sounding festivals on this list.

4. PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature
Where? New York, USA
When? 4th-10th May
What makes it special? Visit Africa in NYC with a program celebrating the voices and perspectives of African writers. There’s also writing workshops, talks from international authors and the opportunity to make comic books.

5. Hay Festival, Wales
Where? Hay-on-Wye, Wales
When? 21st-31st May
What makes it special? Hay is, in Bill Clinton’s words, ‘the Woodstock of the mind’. Hear from awesome authors, sit in chairs made of books and party into the night with the world’s greatest comedians and musicians – all with the backdrop of the Welsh countryside. NOT one to be missed.

6. Calabash International Literary Festival
Where? Kingston, Jamaica
When? May 2015 (unconfirmed)
What makes it special? Head to the Caribbean for rum punch and reggae at the world’s most frisky literary festival! Calabash is the original and biggest of the Caribbean literary festivals and also the only one to pull in heavyweight poets, novelists and writers from across the globe.

7. One Big Book Launch

Where? London, UK
When? 3rd June
What makes it special? The only event of its kind, One Big Book Launch gathers together 10 authors to launch their books at the same time. Free flowing wine, readings from authors and a festival atmosphere makes this FREE event one not to be missed. Submissions for author inclusion are open now.

8. FLIP Festival – or the ‘Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty’
Where? Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When? 1st-5th July
What makes it special? Beautiful beaches, glorious mountains, historic architecture – all great incentives to go to Brazil’s Costa Verde. Add to that the largest literary festival in Brazil, held annually since 2003, and it’s a no-brainer. Bring your books along, chat to a varied international crowd of readers and authors, and sip a caipirinha or two before you samba the night away!

9. Port Eliot Festival
Where? Cornwall, UK
When? 30th July-2nd August
What makes it special? Not just a literary festival, but an ‘annual celebration of words, music, imagination, ideas, nature, food, fashion, flowers, laughter, exploration and fun.’ Take off your shoes and enjoy performances from all walks of life as part of this laid-back festival.

10. Edinburgh International Book Festival
Where? Edinburgh, Scotland.
When? 15th-31st August
What makes it special? This is the largest public celebration of the written word in the world. Every August over 800 writers and thinkers from across the planet gather together to rub shoulders with their audiences. Pick up your books and go join.

11. Open Book
Where? Cape Town, South Africa
When? 9th–13th September 2015
What makes it special? We’ll leave this one to author Mike Carey: “Open Book 2014 felt like a gigantic party in which writers and readers came together to celebrate the texts and the stories and the media they love.” Sounds good to us!

12. Twelfth Annual International Women’s Fiction Festival
Where? Matera, Italy
When? 24th-27th September 2015
What makes it special? The only European festival dedicated to female fiction writers, the programme includes masterclasses led by bestselling authors; round table discussions between writers, editors and literary agents; concerts, and literary prizes.

13. Shanghai International literary festival
Where? Shanghai, China
When? Oct 31st-Nov 8th 2015
What makes it special? Set on the spectacular bund of Shanghai, this festival attracts over 4,000 readers and writers celebrating the written word in English. Previous guests have ranged from Man Booker Prize winners, to Simpsons creator, Matt Groening.

14. Miami Book Fair
Where? Miami, USA
When? 20th-22nd November
What makes it special? This festival is kicked off by thousands of South Florida schoolchildren making the trip downtown to hear from their favourite authors. After that, the street fair attracts more than 250 publishers and booksellers. Don your suncream and get browsing!

Order your books at least two weeks before the festival dates if you can. Remember to tweet us pictures of your book in amongst the mix to @CompletelyNovel.

Further reading:

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Written by
Jessica Barrah
Published on
Book events, 2015, and Festivals