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Lancaster Litfest returns for 2021

Written by on 28/02/2021

Lancaster’s 42nd Annual Literature Festival is returning this year after having to cancel events in 2020. With a free, innovative and totally online programme the festival will be accessible to more people than ever before. And this year, in recognition of the tough time everyone has been having, Litfest will not be charging for tickets but actively seeking donations.

The festival will take place between 12th-21st March with a varied programme of events across different genres within the literary world including Poetry Day, Fiction conversations, Nature talks and Storytelling events. There are four new creative and writing projects this year, with more details on each project below.

For full details and information you can visit the Litfest Wesbite.

The Litfest Big Read

If you’re aged from 11 to 111 you’re invited to join The Big Read Challenge, by registering online at to read either Boy, Everywhere by A.M. Dassu (suitable for ages 11-14) or Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library (for all readers from 15 up). These books will spark interest in the lives of people in challenging situations, and inspire hope and imagination. You can even be in with the chance to win books and Litfest tickets – find out more and sign up for the challenge!

Matt and Az will then talk about their work on Friday 12th March at 6.00pm (A.M. Dassu) and 7.30pm (Matt Haig) and each event will be followed by a live online Q&A.

How We Live Now

A series of films exploring ‘How We Live Now’ in Lancaster and the surrounding area will take a look at the lives of members of our local community during a turbulent year. The films explore what modern life is like for six individuals who have had to respond or adapt to one of our nation’s toughest years in recent memory, and will premiere as part of the 2021 festival programme.

And you can tell us your stories, too. Simply send us a photo and tell us in one sentence ‘What is it like for you to live now?’ Tag us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and use the hashtag #LitfestHowWeLiveNow. A selection of the submissions will then be included in the ‘How We Live Now’ premiere event.

How We Live Next

‘How We Live Next’ is a series of five events running throughout the weekend, including four online talks (with Q&A), by leading thinkers, writers, activists, politicians and business people. Sir Michael Marmot, Fatima Ibrahim, James Suzman and Johny Pitts will speak about Health, Environment, Work and Social Justice.

A panel discussion on Sunday afternoon will look at the topics with a more local focus, moderated by A.C. Grayling and including Robert Barratt (Eden North), Mark Cropper (James Cropper, Bespoke Paper Makers, Burneside), Gina Dowding (Lancaster City Councillor) and Dr Sakthi Karunanithi (Director of Public Health and Wellbeing for Lancashire).

Litfest would love for you to submit your own questions in advance to any of the speakers or panellists for discussion – which topics are close to your heart?

New Writing North West

This series of free online workshops is designed to support new and emerging North West-based writers and is led by four acclaimed writers: Yvonne Battle-Felton (Fiction), Kim Moore (Poetry), Karen Lloyd (Nature and Environment writing) and Daniel Hahn (Translation).

Writers will have the chance to immerse themselves in this creative experience, take part in writing exercises and reading challenges and gain feedback towards developing their future work.

To apply, writers are asked to send in work from their chosen genre to by 5 March 2021. The course is free of charge, and workshops will take place via Zoom on selected evenings in March and April.

For full details of dates and times and information on how to apply visit: