Explore Independent Cambridge: Cambridge Literary Festival


With the help of Independent Cambridge - the community of ‘real’ Cambridge - Cambridge Network continues its weekly exploration of the best independent shops, cafés, restaurants, venues and events in Cambridge and the surrounding area. This week: Cambridge Literary Festival, which takes place again this weekend (13-15 April).

Over the years, Cambridge Literary Festival (formerly Wordfest) has become a firm fixture of the Cambridge cultural calendar. In addition to staging two festivals each year – April and November – it also holds a series of individual events throughout the year.

The Festival has hosted almost 1000 writers including literary luminaries such as Donna Tartt, Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Jeanette Winterson, Margaret Drabble, Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, Zadie Smith and Graham Swift; politicians including Michael Portillo, Tony Benn and Shirley Williams; broadcasters Andrew Marr, Kate Adie and Nick Robinson; comedians including Sue Perkins, Dawn French and Jeremy Hardy; poetry from, amongst others, Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage and John Hegley; and the burgeoning children’s festival has hosted many of our best writers for children including Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson and Judith Kerr.

Cambridge is a great place for a literary festival, with endless interesting and beautiful venues. You might find yourself in the splendour of the Cambridge Union Chamber or the hidden gem which is the Winstanley Lecture Theatre or the beautifully refurbished Divinity School.

It also has a host of talented residents – writers, historians and academics who the festival regularly invites to speak, including Ali Smith, Robert Macfarlane, Anna Whitelock, David Reynolds, Chris Clarke, Gillian Beer, Allison Pearson and Ruth Scurr.

But although the festival has grown so successfully, Cambridge Literary Festival has managed to retain its initial intimacy and vivacity and continues to delight its festival-goers by bringing the best in new and established writers to the historic and beautiful City.

Explore what's on this weekend

Cambridge Literary Festival
Festival Office
7 Downing Place
Tel: +44 (0)1223 515335



Discover unique boutiques and boutique hotels mingled with communities of artists and craftspeople. Sample an award-winning restaurant or thriving little café tucked away in a back street – all easy to locate via the comprehensive Independent Cambridge directory.  It features hundreds of local traders, artists, makers, producers, venues and events – all of which play a part in the real life of the city and local area. Run by long-term residents with a true passion for all things indie, the site is packed with valuable insider knowledge of the local scene. And whoever you are - resident or visitor; whatever you search for, read about and choose to visit, you can be sure it’s independent!


A celebration of the city’s best independent traders, venues and events

Indie Cambridge