York Literature Festival 


The Festival began in 2007 under the auspices of York City Council. After the cuts which followed the crash of 2008, it was adopted by a voluntary group and has grown steadily to become one of the foremost literature festivals in the North of England. It forms an important part of the cultural life of the city and in 2016 succeeded in obtaining charitable status as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (registered charity number 1165936).The current Board consists of 7 Trustees and is aided at festival time by a team of volunteers. Its mission is to bring literature and literary events to the city of York.

Previous Authors 

Over the years the Festival has been privileged to host a wonderful range of authors, artists and celebrities including Raymond Antrobus, Simon Armitage, Tony Benn, Jeffrey Boakye, Tracy Chevalier, Rev Richard Coles, Carol Ann Duffy, Lindsey Fitzharris, Mark Gatiss, Germaine Greer, Matt Haig, Sophie Hannah, Joanne Harris, Simon Jenkins, Alan Johnson, Suzannah Lipscomb, Val McDermid, Roger McGough, Andrew McMillan, Ian McMillan, Kate Mosse, Amanda Owen, Michael Palin, Michael Portillo, Janina Ramirez, Joanna Trollope, Baroness Warsi, Kate Williams, Lord Robert Winston and Lucy Worsley.


The Festival hosts its events in a wide range of venues. These include such iconic locations as York Theatre Royal, St Peter’s School, York St John University, York Explore Library, The Crescent Community Venue and many more.

Range of Events

The Festival prides itself on having a diverse range of events including talks, lectures, panels, debates, performances, storytelling pieces and workshops. It features both fiction (literary, contemporary and genre-based), non-fiction and poetry while focusing on a number of themes including history, current affairs and a small programme for children. This year the festival is spread more widely over March and the 2023 programme showcases the full range of what we have on offer. You can also check out our Gallery to see photos of some of our wonderful events from previous years.

Sponsors and Partners

The Festival has been supported by a number of Sponsors and Partners in the past, including Baillie Gifford and Arts Council England. In 2024, the festival is sponsored by York St John University. The festival’s other strategic partners include St Peter’s SchoolExplore York Libraries & Archives and York Theatre Royal.

Attendee Numbers and Networks 

The Festival has a strong and engaged network including over 6000 Twitter followers (@YorkLitFest), a growing following of 1400+ on Instagram, as well as over 2,750 subscribers to its series of e-newsletters. Our website achieved 100,000 page hits during the month of the 2019 festival. Over the last three years average attendances have been in excess of 4000 across the full festival programme.

2024 Sponsors and Partners – websites

York Literature Festival has also previously been funded by Arts Council England.