First Names Announced for Biggest Henley Literary Festival Yet

This year’s Henley Literary Festival will be the biggest yet as it expands to nine days for the first time – and the initial wave of speakers announced includes some of the UK’s best-loved writers alongside exciting new talent.

The 2018 Henley Literary Festival supported by Baillie Gifford will take place from Saturday September 29 to Sunday October 7 at venues across Henley-on-Thames. Sir Michael Morpurgo, who was knighted this year for his services to literature and charity, will speak on the first day of the Festival in a special family event, with his book Magical Myths and Legends published that week. Later in the week poet Pam Ayres and Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates both return to Henley after previous sell-outs, while former cabinet minister Sir Oliver Letwin will appear for the first time with his book on the battle for the Conservative Party, Hearts and Minds. Debut novelists to be featured at the Festival include Guardian and GQ columnist Justin Myers and Singapore-born Sharlene Teo.

The Festival will offer events for children of all ages, from babies and toddlers with Pat-A-Cake storytelling and Frances Ives’ enchanting rhyming picture book Maybe the Moon. Older children can enjoy writing workshops and interactive events with Emmy-winning writers Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler who have scripted TV shows including Thunderbirds are Go! and Danger Mouse. And the Festival’s schools programme will include performance poet A.F. Harrold.

Programming director Tom Ryan said: “We are delighted that Sir Michael is joining us on the first day of this year’s Festival as his schools event in 2015 was our most popular event ever. And with over 150 further events to be announced in the coming months it is wonderful at this early stage to already have speakers of the quality of Pam Ayres, Laura Bates and A.F. Harrold confirmed.”

Tickets for the 2018 Henley Literary Festival will go on sale to Friends of the Festival in mid-July and on general sale a week later. In addition to priority booking Friends also receive year-round savings as the Festival’s partners. For more information go to