Cambridge Literary Festival

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They say it takes a tribe to raise a child and that proverb rings true for Cambridge Literary Festival. From its launch in 2003 as Cambridge Wordfest, when founder Cathy Moore roped in a group of friends to organise the city’s first real celebration of books, to its metamorphosis into a vibrant, grown-up affair with a global audience, it’s taken a community to raise this incredible festival.


Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the festival – which became a charity in 2014 – welcomes more than 200 writers and speakers each year to enthral, entertain, educate and occasionally enrage audiences!


The thoughtfully-curated programme features a tantalising mix of literary luminaries, including Nobel Laureates, debut writers, journalists, politicians, scientists, artists and poets. Think Patti Smith, Andrew Marr, Curtis Sittenfeld, Polly Toynbee, Michael Morpurgo and Sebastian Faulks, to name just a few.


Now a twice-yearly event with fresh digital content on CLF Player, the festival also offers unrivalled access to beautiful Cambridge venues, from St John’s Old Divinity School to Cambridge Union Chamber.


An avid reader from childhood, festival CEO and Artistic Director Cathy was working in bookselling when a conversation with Ali Smith sparked the idea for a Cambridge festival of books. Wordfest subsequently launched with 24 events – and though it has evolved – the festival remains committed to promoting equality, social justice and inclusivity and plans are afoot to develop its outreach programme.


Cathy’s passion for enticing the finest wordsmiths to Cambridge is unerring. “I’m greedy when it comes to the literary festival, as there are so many wonderful writers out there and I want them all!” she enthuses, revealing that Margaret Atwood tops her wish list. Thankfully the festival’s supportive board and brilliant team are on hand to ensure their CEO doesn’t get carried away, whilst a team of 100 amazing volunteers ensure events run like clockwork.