Liverpool's literary festival

Word is out!

Melvyn Bragg, Janet Street-Porter, Roger McGough and Brian Patten are just some of the top names leading Liverpool’s biggest ever literary festival.

In Other Words is a city-wide month-long celebration of the written and spoken word, and also marks the re-opening of Liverpool’s Central Library on Friday 17 May, which has undergone more than two years of intensive restoration.

Events start on Tuesday 23 April when Liverpool plays host to national World Book Night which will take place outside of London for the first time.

World renowned authors Philippa Gregory, Jasper Fforde, Jeanette Winterson, Patrick Ness, Jackie Kay and Frank Cottrell Boyce will be appearing at a special ‘World Book Night Presents…’ event held in St George’s Hall.

The festival will then run until Sunday 19 May, with more than 350 taking place, and nearly 200 of them specifically organised for the new festival.

Programme highlights include:
A Rebel Rant: A Class Act (3 May) – Media personality, journalist and broadcaster Janet Street-Porter takes part in the latest acclaimed Rebel Rant series, and doesn’t hold back on voicing her opinions on the rich, public school elite, and discusses why class still matters today.
• On the 11 May broadcaster and author Melvyn Bragg introduces his touching new novel Grace and Mary at the Museum of Liverpool.
The Beat Goes On (26 April) – Renowned Merseyside poets Roger McGough and Brian Patten take part in a rare double bill in the beautiful surroundings of St George’s Hall. The two shot to fame, alongside the late Adrian Henri, with one of the bestselling poetry anthologies of all time – The Mersey Sound (1967). Both will chat about their work, and the event will be introduced and chaired by Henri’s widow, Catherine Marcangeli.
Afternoon tea at the Town Hall (28 April) – Winner of the BBC’s Great British Bake Off John Whaite will head to Liverpool Town Hall to talk about his brand new recipe book. Guests can enjoy high tea as part of the event.

Janet Street-Porter has her say at the Rebel Rant

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “Liverpool is a city renowned for its connection with words, but the reaction to In Other Words has surpassed all our expectations.

“We knew a literary festival was the perfect way to celebrate the re-opening of Central Library but we have been overwhelmed with the response we’ve had.

“We have been inundated with internationally acclaimed authors, literary agents, businesses and community groups contacting us and asking to be involved in this inaugural event, with everyone recognising that Liverpool is a city strongly connected with words – whether it’s written, spoken or sung.

“The full, diverse programme is that of an established festival, and real credit has to be given to our partners Writing on the Wall, as with the help of their expertise we can expect to attract a wide-ranging audience from all over the country and beyond.”

The festival is being curated in partnership with Writing on the Wall, with the aim to make it a literary festival with a difference, appealing to established and budding writers and literary lovers alike. There is an emphasis on bringing events not only to high profile city buildings, but also to venues in various communities.

Festival Director Writing on the Wall Madeline Heneghan, said: “At Writing on the Wall we were thrilled to be invited to curate the In Other Words festival alongside Culture Liverpool.

“The Festival programme really is spectacular, showcasing Liverpool’s writing talent, our rich literary heritage and drawing big name writers, performers and commentators to the city for the region’s biggest celebration of writing and spoken word art.”

Poet Brian Patten said: “Liverpool has always embraced creativity open-heartedly and the new festival certainly lives up to this great tradition. It’s exciting, wide-ranging and inclusive and I’m really proud to be part of it.”

The full programme of events can be found at Some events are ticketed (a mixture of free and paid-for events) due to capacity limits so early booking is advised.

To find out more information about World Book Night and to apply for tickets, visit

Other activities which make up the exciting programme include:
Here Come the Girls (24 April) – A nod to all things chick-lit as best-selling author of six novels Jane Costello, launches her new book The Wish List and is joined by multi-award winning romance novelist Erica James. The event is hosted by Liverpool author Amanda Brooke.
Murder on the Docks (2 May) – British writer Kevin Sampson will take part in a panel discussion along with crime writer Graham Johnson and author Denise Mina. They will discuss the deadly connection between port cities and crime writing.
BBC Writersroom (3 May) – This exciting seminar is a call-out to budding writers of any age and experience with an original voice and great stories to tell. Henry Swindell, New Writing Manager for BBC Writersroom North will provide invaluable tips and answer any burning questions about screenwriting. Henry R Swindell works across Film, TV and Radio to find and develop writers for the BBC. As a TV producer he’s worked for the BBC, ITV and Channel Four on shows including Casualty, Hollyoaks and Coronation Street.
Against Modern Football? (10 May) – Mirror columnist Brian Reade hosts a debate around whether protest movements can make a difference. He’ll be joined by singer Peter Hooton, Guardian writer David Conn and Hillsborough campaigner Shelia Coleman.
Afternoon tea with Maureen Lee (15 May) – Maureen Lee, famous for her short stories and dramatic historical romance novels, will read from her latest collection of stories, Flora and Grace at The Atrium Bar in the Empire Theatre.
Palace of Curiosities (19 May) – Rosie Garland launches her debut novel The Palace of Curiosities, hailed by Sarah Waters as ‘a jewel-box of a novel’, and will be joined in St George’s Hall by a circus troupe who will dazzle and amaze!
The Last Word (19 May) – The final event of the festival takes place in Central Library and will showcase the city’s finest spoken word artists and poets. Hosted by performer Curtis Watt, it will include a performance by Levi Tafari.

Liverpool Waterfront