Richmond Literature Festival returns for its 30th anniversary year with programme exploring how we can build a better world @richmondlitfest

Richmond Literature Festival launches 30th anniversary programme of events

Richmond Literature Festival has today launched its 2021 programme of events, with a timely focus on how we can be more sustainable, more inclusive, and more equal. The first ticket release is now on sale at Richmond Literature Festival

This year’s festival takes place from the 5-21 November in venues across the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames. It will see a return to in person events after last year’s shift to an online only programme due to the pandemic. Following the success of the 2020 festival there will be a series of hybrid events for audiences U.K. wide.

This year the festival takes a thematic approach, exploring the concept of Breaking Ground. Through looking back to history and bringing together some of today’s most exiting writers and thought leaders to explore what our future could look like. The Festival will feature book launches, panel discussions and some of the most exciting releases of 2021.

Programme Highlights

Kate Mosse (photo: Ruth Crafer)

Programme highlights include the festival launch event ‘This Is How We Come Back Stronger’, a panel of some of the UK’s most prominent feminist writers including Kate Mosse, Sara Collins and Juliet Jacques discussing how we can shape the world we want in the aftermath of crisis.

Nadifa Mohamed will be discussing her new Booker Prize shortlisted book The Fortune Men. Nadifa is the only British writer on the shortlist for 2021.

The climate and environment focused weekend from the 6 – 7 November will culminate in ‘This is Happening Now: How Can We Confront the Climate Crises?’ panel discussion, in partnership with Richmond Climate Week and Landmark Arts Centre. Esteemed environmentalist and former director of Friends of the Earth Jonathon Porritt CBE joins a panel of speakers, including Dr Alice Bell, to explore how we can take collective action to avert runaway climate change alongside the COP26 conference.

Monique Roffey, winner of the 2020 Costa Book of The Year for The Mermaid of Black Conch, joins Courttia Newland in conversation about their approaches to exploring contemporary issues through literary fiction.

Our fiction events continue as we journey into The Wolf Den with number one bestseller Elodie Harper.

Award winning journalist and broadcaster Sathnam Sanghera discusses his Baillie Gifford prize nominated book Empireland and how understanding the history of imperialism is fundamental to understanding Britain today with Professor Corinne Fowler, author of the National Trusts report on its historic houses links to empire.

Sarvat Hasin, Charlotte Higgins and new Time Team presenter Natalie Haynes talk about their approaches to reinterpreting and retelling the stories of the women of Greek myth.

“I am absolutely delighted that Richmond Literature Festival is returning for its special 30th edition. This year’s programme of events promises to be extra special given the return to live events following last year’s move to online events and the difficult past year for our local arts and culture sector.

“The last year has shown us just how important our arts are to all of us, and Richmond Literature Festival is one of the best literature festivals in the country. This year’s programme includes something for all interests. The theme of Breaking Ground has brought an exciting group of writers and thinkers together at the festival, which will be a unique opportunity see some acclaimed writers exploring some of the most important issues of our times. It’s a busy mixture of events, talks and panel discussions, a great workout for the mind, so get out and support your local arts this November. I look forward to seeing you there..”

Cllr John Coombs, Spokesperson for Arts

New Voices

Jarred McGinnis speaks to Evie Wyld: Jarred McGinnis|Evie Wyld 9/11/2021, 7.30pm

Natasha Brown & Caleb Azumah Nelson in conversation: Natahsa Brown|Caleb AzumahNelson 16/11/2021, 7.30pm

Local Authors Day

So You Want to Write a Novel Workshop: Russell Schechter 20/11/2021, 11.30am

How to Get Published: Rowan Cope|Susie Lynes|Ellen Alpsten 20/11/2021, 2.30pm

Children’s events

The Girl Who Talked To Trees: Natasha Farrant|Lydia Corry 7/11/2021, 11.30am

Our Beautiful Game: Lou Kuenzler 14/11/2021, 11.30am

Mr Shaha’s Marvellous Machines: Alom Shaha 21/11/2021, 11.30am

Online events

Twickenhamshire and the Thames: Richmond Borough’s Luminary Heritage Landscape presented by London Luminaries Chris Sumner|Emily Parker|Tim Corum|Ricky Pound|Dr Judith Hawley|Carole Tucker 11/11/2021, 7.30pm

All The King’s Fools: Disability and the Tudors presented by The National Archives Phillipa Vincent Connelly|Chaired by Euan Roger 17/11/2021, 7.30pm


I Belong Here: A Journey Along the Backbone of Britain: Anita Sethi
6/11/2021, 2.30pm

Palace of Palms: Tropical Dreams and the Making of Kew: Kate Teltscher|Chaired by Mutki Jain Campion
6/11/2021, 7.30pm

Deeper Into the Wood Walking Tour: Ruth Pavey
7/11/2021, 2.30pm

The Prime Ministers We Never Had presented by Arts Richmond: Steve Richards
10/11/2021, 7.30pm

The Beatles and Fandom presented by St Mary’s University and The Exchange: Richard Mills
10/11/2021, 7.30pm

The Pioneering Life of Mary Wortley Montagu: Jo Willet|Chaired by Anne Sebba
13/11/2021, 2.30pm

Hard Choices: What Britain Does Next presented by Arts Richmond: Peter Ricketts|Chaired by Geeta Guru-Murthy
15/11/2021, 7.30pm

Nature's Palette presented by Museum of Richmond: Patrick Baty
16/11/2021, 7.30pm

Ethel Rosenburg: A Cold War Tragedy presented by Arts Richmond: Anne Sebba
17/11/2021, 7.30pm

The Radical Potter: Josiah Wedgwood and the Transformation of Britain: Tristram Hunt
20/11/2021, 5pm

Minarets in the Mountain presented by Habitats & Heritage: Tharik Hussain
21/11/2021, 2.30pm

What a fabulous programme the Richmond Literature Festival has planned for it’s 30th anniversary event. All can be booked via the Festival website, just click on the logo below.


My thanks to Jocelyn at Richmond Arts Service and Orleans House Gallery for the invitation to take part in the Richmond Literature Festival 30th anniversary launch. What a wonderful list of events, authors and contributors that will, no doubt, make for a rich and hugely successful festival.


For all further information about the Festival or to follow Richmond Literature Festival check out these links:

Richmond Literature Festival website | Twitter: @richmondlitfest | Facebook

About the Festival

Richmond Literature Festival is produced by Richmond Arts Service in partnership with Richmond Libraries Service. Events take place in libraries and venues across the borough and in partnership with local organisations. Rooted in Richmond Upon Thames yet global in outlook; Richmond Literature Festival brings writers and communities together and has been a hub for thought provoking experiences for 30 years.Speakers at the 2020 festival included Ben Okri, Christy Lefteri, Laura Dockrill and Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason. Previous speakers include Jacqueline Wilson, Prue Leith, Andrew Marr, Inua Ellams, and Kae Tempest.

Arts – London Borough of Richmond upon Thames

Festival Partners

Festival Booksellers: Hewson Books , The Alligator’s Mouth

Event Partners: Arts Richmond, Habitats & Heritage, London Luminaries, Museum of Richmond, St Mary’s University, The Exchange, The National Archives

Community Partners: Duckworth Books, Kingston University, Habitats & Heritage, RHACC, St Mary’s University

Venue Partners: Landmark Arts Centre, Orleans House Gallery, OSO, RHACC


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