New literary festival to launch in Greenwich

New literary festival to launch in Greenwich

A new celebration of the written word, Greenwich Book Festival, will run for the first time May. 

The festival was first conceived by Auriol Bishop, Hachette UK’s creative director, and author and journalist Patricia Nicol. They joined forces with Alex Pheby, head of creative writing at the University of Greenwich, to co-direct the new festival. Bishop said: ”We have put together a festival that reflects the eclectic taste that most readers have. We set ourselves a theme of discovery—inspired by the seafaring heritage of Greenwich—to put together a programme that is a celebration for book-lovers of all ages and tastes.”

The inaugural festival will take place from Friday 22nd May to Sunday 24th May in the grounds of World Heritage Site the Old Royal Naval College at the University of Greenwich (pictured above). Confirmed authors include Jessie Burton, Viv Albertine, Patrick Gale and Jon Ronson. The festival will also include events such as a showcase by independent publisher Galley Beggar Press; an evening curated by the university’s writer-in-residence, Paul Ewen; and an opportunity for university students to present their writing.

The festival will open on the Friday with a children’s programme for local schools, sponsored by the Royal Borough of Greenwich and featuring authors and illustrators such as Axel Scheffler and Piers Torday, as well as The Wimpy Kid show and storywriting workshops run by Smart Stories. Thanks to sponsorship by the university and council, the festival will be paying appearance fees. Some of the events will be free, with ticketed events costing £5–£8. 

The on-site festival bookshop will be run by Waterstones, with The Bookseller’s sister site We Love This Book running a pop-up book clinic to help readers find books they love. Bishop said: “My hope is that everyone who comes to the festival will go home clutching at least one book they perhaps might not have come across otherwise.” 

The full festival programme is online at its website