About us

Marlborough Literature Festival is eight years old this year.  When it started in 2010, the town had a flourishing international jazz festival and lots of concerts, but it didn’t have a literature festival. Yet Marlborough has a strong literary tradition with the heritage of Siegfried Sassoon, John Betjeman, Bruce Chatwin, William Golding and many others.   At a time when literary festivals were springing up all over, it was strange that Marlborough was without.  Our festival was initiated by local author and founder of the jazz festival, Nick Fogg, and novelist Mavis Cheek.

From the start Marlborough LitFest has had a clear focus on writing.  It is first and foremost a literature festival, a celebration of the best writing, one that puts authors at the centre.  We’re keen to invite debut writers as well as established names, and we want fiction to be at the heart of our programme.  We have always paid our authors, no matter how well-known or unknown.

LitFest events include author talks, workshops, performances, visits and competitions.  Each festival starts with the Golding talk from a well-established fiction author, this year the novelist Will Self.  Past Golding speakers are Howard Jacobson, Fay Weldon, Louis de Bernieres, Salley Vickers and Lionel Shriver.  There’s a Big Town Read for local reading groups, writing workshops, children’s writing competitions and story reading.  We also have open mic poetry in the pub, biography, history, politics, memoir, humour and of course lots of fiction. 

LitFest is a charity run by unpaid volunteers.  Like all arts festivals, we need sponsorship to survive.  We’ve been lucky: Brewin Dolphin has been our lead sponsor from the very beginning, and the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) helped set us up.  We’re also supported by Hiscox Insurance, William Golding Ltd and local businesses and schools including Marlborough College and St Francis School, Pewsey. 

LitFest is open to all who love books and reading.  It takes place each year at the end of September.  We’re fortunate to have a beautiful town with a great literary heritage as home to the festival, an impressive Town Hall to host events and one of the best independent bookshops in the country.

Jan Williamson

Chair, Marlborough Litfest

April 2017

Support and Volunteers

The Committee of the Marlborough LitFest would like to thank the following for their very generous support:

Photography Ben Phillips Photography

Graphic Design Aly Storey – Pink House Studio

Print Thoroughbred Design & Print

Website Design Ghost

The White Horse Bookshop sells LitFest tickets and helps promote our authors. Please support your local bookshop.

We could not run Marlborough LitFest without the help of many volunteers, who work so hard both in the run up to and during the festival.  The Marlborough LitFest Committee would like to thank them all enormously for their hard work and dedication to the LitFest.

If you would be interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact us at general@marlboroughlitfest.org