Cheltenham Literature Festival: everything you need to know

Another year, another stellar line-up of authors at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. Taking place in October, here’s everything you need to know about one of the world’s oldest and greatest literature events. Travel with ease to the festival when you book train tickets to Cheltenham Spa Railway Station and sit back and relax with a great book during your journey.

What’s it all about?

Established in 1949, The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is one of the oldest literary events in the world – and this year it’s celebrating its 70th birthday! This huge milestone is an enormous achievement for the mighty festival, which will welcome over 600 of the world’s finest writers, actors, politicians, poets and more to talk about all things books this October. With a plethora of top events for history lovers, thrill seekers, feel-good fiction enthusiasts and children, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

When is it?

An incredible array of book events, readings, Q&As, author signings and more will be held at various venues throughout Cheltenham from 4–13 October.

Event highlights

From art and design to compelling debut fiction, historical memoirs to current affairs, there are new books to discover at every turn during Cheltenham Literature Festival. With tickets selling out fast to see some of this year’s big names, here are five awesome events taking place this year.

Oi Puppies!
Saturday 5 October
Children will go wild for the multi-award-winning duo Kes Gray and Jim Field, whose hilarious series of books featuring Oi Frog!, Oi Dog!, Oi Cat!, and Oi Duck-Billed Platypus! have brought much laughter into the homes of families across the UK. In this interactive event, little ones will delight in storytelling fun, live drawings and plenty of silly rhymes to celebrate the latest book published in the series: Oi Puppies!

David Nicholls
Saturday 5 October
Bestselling author of One Day and Us speaks with Cathy Rentzenbrink about his new novel Sweet Sorrow, a tragic comedy about the rocky path to adulthood, the confusion of family life and that brief, searing explosion of first love.

Tom Kerridge’s Fresh Start
Tuesday 8 October
The Michelin-starred chef, known for his unpretentious style and pursuit of bold flavours, talks to Lisa Markwell about how to be the boss in the kitchen and shares his recipe for achieving a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Art and Activism
Friday 11 October
What is the role of the politically engaged writer today and how much change they can hope to effect? In the 70th anniversary year of George Orwell’s 1984, how do today’s political novels measure up? Festival Guest Curator Anthony Anaxagorou is joined by Orwell biographer Dorian Lynskey (The Ministry of Truth: A Biography of George Orwell’s 1984), editor of It’s Not About the Burqa Mariam Khan, and co-editor of The Good Immigrant USA Chimene Suleyman, to discuss how art and activism can be best combined to create social change.

It’s Not OK to Feel Blue (And Other Lies)
Saturday 12 October
It’s Not OK to Feel Blue aims to give courage to young people to speak out and realise that they aren’t alone in mental illness. The book’s curator Scarlett Curtis is joined by three of its contributors, writer, activist and co-founder of Pink Protest Honey Ross, actor and director Kelechi Okafor and author and journalist Poorna Bell (In Search of Silence) to discuss their individual pieces in the collection and to consider what mental health means to them.

How do I get tickets?

Tickets are available to buy online. For the full low down on this year’s events programme, visit