Friends priority booking for Gladfest 2016 open now!

Friends priority booking for Gladfest 2016 open now!

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The UK’s friendliest literary festival returns 2nd – 4th September 2016 and to all of our valued Friends, we’re offering first dibs on festival tickets and exclusive accommodation for our most popular event of the year, Gladfest, as a thank you for your generous support.

Gladfest is the time of the year we throw open our doors and invite everybody to come and try something a little different. Events range from author talks to interviews and interactive workshops, so whatever your particular area of interest, there’ll be something for you and more besides.

Now into its fourth year, Gladfest is back and it’s better than ever. We’ve expanded our craft fair into the Gladfest Market Place bursting with the best local designers, music and contemporary crafts; introduced Day and Weekend tickets so you can stick around and make the most of the full Gladfest experience; and booked our most varied lineup yet so there’s even more opportunity to try something different! 

New-to-Gladfest this year, Val McDermid (Splinter the Silence) discusses what compels us to consume crime fiction; Scarlett Thomas (The Seed Collectors) explores her complex relationship with realism and fantasy; Loyd Grossman (Benjamin West and the Struggle to be Modern) considers the Georgian craze for history as expressed in books, prints and paintings; Guy Cuthbertson delivers his perspective on Wilfred Owen and the WWI poets and Richard Holloway (A Little History of Religion) muses on religious experiences and expressions. We’re also thrilled to welcome back Michel Faber and Sarah Perry who return with their latest books, Undying and The Essex Serpent after sell-out slots at last year’s festival. 

Further highlights include Sir Anthony Seldon (Cameron at 10: The Inside Story) on contemporary politics and education; Rachel Holmes who delves into the radical lives of Eleanor Marx and Sylvia Pankhurst; Andrew Tate exploring the ruined futures of dystopian fiction; Ian Parks who considers the poetry of C.P. Cavafy and Peter Blair charting the meteoric rise of contemporary flash fiction. If you’re a little more hands-on, we’ve workshops throughout the weekend sharpening manuscripts with Francesca Haig (The Fire Sermon), prioritising workload with Michael Nobbs (Drawing Your Life), using the imagination as a literary device with Peter Moore (The Weather Experiment) and creating comics with Simon Grennan (Dispossession). 

Younger Gladfesters have a series of interactive activities to choose from inspired by the books of Roald Dahl who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year. Young people can explore the poetry of Revolting Rhymes, the characters of Fantastic Mr Fox, the language of The BFG and create prints to take home inspired by Dahl’s marvellous animals and creatures.

Throughout, the Gladbooks bookstall has reads from all festival speakers (plus the opportunity to get them signed), Food for Thought is open for delicious homemade locally-sourced food and the Gladbar will be serving up a variety of festival tipples. As one of the UK’s only festivals with no green room and no backstage area, you never know who you’ll bump into so we want you to mingle with like-minded festival-goers, share a fireside drink with the authors and really make the most of Gladfest 2016. 

Gladfest gets started at 5pm on Friday, 2nd September – drop in for welcome drinks and meet authors and fellow guests. 

Weekend Tickets are priced at £55, Day Tickets at £30 and Workshop Day Tickets at £40. Individual event tickets are priced from £7. 

Friends priority booking is now open! Friends may book tickets for themselves and up to two guests. 

Sign up as a Friend for exclusive access to Gladfest tickets and accommodation and a host of other benefits. General release opens at 9am on Wednesday, 18th May.

For the full lineup and more information please visit the Gladfest Speakers page.

To book, call Reception on 01244 532350 or email

Download the official Gladfest 2016 programme.