Friends priority booking for Gladfest now open!

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We are delighted to open Gladfest priority booking for Friends!

Gladfest takes place here at Gladstone’s Library 1st – 3rd September and we have some exciting names for the festival's fifth birthday...

Big names this year include TV historian Diarmaid MacCulloch (All Things Made New: The Reformation), multi award-winning author Sarah Perry (The Essex Serpent), broadcaster Sally Magnusson (Where Memories Go: Why Dementia Changes Everything), writer and editor Lauren Elkin (Flâneuse), journalist and biographer Kathryn Hughes (Victorians Undone), Gladfest friend Francesca Haig (The Forever Ship) and BBC Official Historian Jean Seaton (Pinkoes and Traitors). 

We also welcome a number of the country’s brightest breakthrough talents including Dan Richards (Climbing Days), Natasha Pulley (The Bedlam Stacks), Joanna Cannon (The Trouble with Goats and Sheep) and Tara Guha (Untouchable Things), and there'll be an exclusive rehearsed reading of their new adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya from Theatr Clwyd

Across the festival weekend there will be a free-entry Market Place filled with local designers and contemporary crafts, a bookstall stocking reads from festival speakers (with the opportunity to get them signed), and the Food for Thought café open throughout the festival for delicious homemade hot and cold food. 

Gladfest has also programmed a range of free book-themed arts and craft activities for all the family, curated by InterAct Imaginatons, so kids can go free! 

Gladfest has been steadily raising its profile since its inception in 2013. Over the years it’s brought some big names to Hawarden including Robert McCrum and Salley Vickers (2014), Jessie Burton and Sarah Dunant (2015), and Val McDermid and Loyd Grossman (2016). The festival prides itself in bringing together award-winning, internationally-renowned and breakthrough writers in a beautiful Grade I listed building for a wonderfully eclectic weekend. 

This year, the festival is working to pay it forward. As it’s grown, writers have loved the Library so much that they’ve been happy to accept bed, board and travel as payment. But the festival strongly believes that writers should be paid for their work. So, in line with the Society of Authors’ advice, this year all festival speakers have the option of a stipend as well as a writing break at the residential library. 

Festival Director Louisa Yates says: 

‘We believe that authors, just like everybody else, should be paid fairly for their work. For the first four years of the festival, performers were paid with a writing break and all expenses. In 2017, our fifth year, we’ve added a second option; a stipend so that if they can’t return, they don’t lose out.’ 

Gladfest is delighted now to be in a position to offer this. 

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

Friends priority booking is open from 9am on Wednesday, 3rd May. Friends may book tickets for themselves and up to two guests. Sign up as a Friend for pre-release tickets, exclusive Gladfest accommodation and a host of other benefits. General release opens at 9am on Wednesday, 17th May. 

To book, please book online, call Reception on 01244 532350 or email

@gladlib | #Gladfest17

For further information, please visit