The bi-annual Literature Festivals bring to King's Lynn hand-picked writers of fiction and poetry; some well known, others less so but all are brilliant writers well worth your attention.

All events take place at the stunning venue of the Town Hall, on the Saturday Market Place, in the heart of historic King's Lynn. Visitors can come to some or all the sessions; entry is £8.50 for each event, or £37.50 for an all-events weekend pass.

You'll need to be seated by the listed start time, so be sure to get to the venue well in advance.
The sessions last around 110 minutes, in two halves, and comprise readings, interviews and discussion. There's a bookstall creaking under the weight of the latest titles for you to buy and have signed by the authors. Tea and coffee are on offer, as well as a busy bar. There's a raffle over the course of the weekend, with the draw at the end of the Sunday session. The unique prize is a splendid book in which the writers have all contributed, by hand, a short paragraph or two.

You are welcome to join the writers, organisers and other festival-goers for lunch on Saturday and Sunday. Full details are given at the morning events, expect a price of £12.

There's plenty to see in King's Lynn between events, and if you need accommodation, our friends as Stuart House Hotel offer a 15% discount - just mention the festival at the time of booking:



The Weekend's Events

Friday 16th March 7.30pm

Rachel Hore will launch her new novel, Last Letter Home

John Lucas

chaired by Chris West


Saturday 17th March 11.00am

Discussion, chaired by Professor John Lucas
Is the literary novel dead?


Saturday 17th March 3.00pm

Guinevere Glasfurd

Rachel Crowther

in conversation with Rachel Hore


Saturday 17th March 8.00pm

Peter Benson

D J Taylor on Thirty Years of the British novel

Where are we now?


Sunday 18th March 11.00am

Christopher Bigsby

in conversation with Louis de Bernières

Sally Emerson


Sunday 18th March 3.00pm

Louis de Bernières

in conversation with John Lucas

Mark Illis

in conversation with Christopher Bigsby

Rachel Hore lives in Norwich and is the author of nine novels including supernatural chiller, A Place of Secrets (2010), the best-seller, A Gathering Storm (2011) and The House on Bellevue Gardens (2016). The seeds of her writing career were sown during her days as senior editorial director of fiction at HarperCollins in London. Rachel is a reviewer of fiction for The Guardian and The Independent on Sunday. She teaches publishing at the UEA and is married to writer DJ Taylor. We always welcome her regular contributions to our festivals. Last Letter Home is Rachel’s newest title, and we are delighted to host its launch at our festival.


The distinguished poet, novelist and critic, John Lucas is Professor Emeritus at the Universities of Loughborough and Nottingham Trent. He is the author of many academic works and has published seven books of his own poetry. His novels include The Good That We Do (2000) and 92 Acharnon Street (2007), the latter two blending fiction, memoir and social history. Other recent books include A Brief History of Whistling, an esoteric study that somehow attracted the attention of Have I Got News For You, and a charming and beautifully produced anthology of 10 Cricket Poems. Both The Guardian and The TLS chose his Next Year Will Be Better: A Memoir of England in The 1950s (2010) as their Book of the Year. His latest novel, his third, Summer Nineteen Forty-Five, was published in October. He runs Shoestring Press and lives in Nottingham.


Guinevere Glasfurd was originally from the North of England, and now lives in Waterbeach. She graduated from the MA Creative Writing course at Anglia Ruskin University with distinction. Her first novel, The Words In My Hand, is based on the little known story of Helena Jans who worked as a Dutch maid and formed a relationship with René Descartes; the plot questions his reputation as a loner. The book was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel award. Guinevere sees it as a feminist work. It has been published in Australia and New Zealand, and in seven other countries. Her short stories have been published by Mslexia and The Scotsman and in a collection from  the National Galleries of Scotland. She has won awards from Arts Council England and the British Council.


Rachel Crowther qualified as a doctor and worked in the NHS for twenty years before succumbing to a lifelong yearning to write fiction, previously indulged during successive bouts of maternity leave. She has an MA in Creative Writing with distinction from Oxford Brookes, and a string of prizes for her short fiction.

Her first novel, The Partridge And The Pelican, was published in 2011, during her MA course. It was a Tatler ‘sizzling summer read’. Since then she has won a string of prizes for her short fiction. Her second novel, The Things You Do For Love (2016), has been called 'a delight of a read' by Fay Weldon. Her latest novel is Every Secret Thing, published last year. She has five children, two mad dogs and an abiding passion for music, art, cooking and travel, both in Britain and further afield. She currently lives in Surrey.


Born in 1960, the author of twelve novels and eight other books, D J Taylor is a regular feature at our Festival. Educated at Norwich School and Oxford, he is a distinguished novelist, critic, journalist and biographer – notably of Thackeray (1999) and Orwell: The Life, for which he won the 2003 Whitbread Biography Award, and a

history of literary life in England since 1918, The Prose Factory (2016). His numerous novels include English Settlement, winner of the Grinzane Cavour prize, and Derby Day (2011) longlisted for The Booker Prize. Last year’s publication updates Thackeray’s The Book of Snobs (1848) for the twenty-first century, and this summer sees publication of his new novel, Rock And Roll Is Life. He is married to Rachel Hore and lives in Norwich.


Peter Benson was born in 1956 and educated in Ramsgate, Canterbury and Exeter. He is a novelist, poet, writer of screen plays and short stories. He has published ten novels. His first, The Levels, (1987) won most of the prizes that year including the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Authors’ Club First Novel award, the Betty Trask prize, and

was shortlisted for the Whitbread award and the Primo Letteravio Chianti. His second,

A Lesser Dependency (1989), won the Encore Award and The Other Occupant (1990) won the Somerset Maugham Award. His latest, The South in Winter (2017), was one of the best reads of last year and showed him at his best. In 1994 he received a Society of Authors Travelling Scholarship. His works have been widely translated. When living in Lyme Regis in the 1990s, he was John Fowles’ gardener.


Christopher Bigsby, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts, is an award- winning academic, novelist and biographer. He is Professor of American Studies at UEA and author of more than fifty books, including the two-volume biography of Arthur Miller. His first novel, Hester (1994), won the McKitterick Prize and

his latest is The Hotel (2016). He is a regular broadcaster and was the presenter of Kaleidoscope in the 1980s. December last year saw the publication of Writers in Conversation, a compilation of Bigsby's interviews with the world's greatest writers from a decade of the International Literary Festival at the UEA. His numerous interviewing contributions at our festivals are always brilliant, and on this occasion the spotlight is on him and his career.


Sally Emerson was educated at Wimbledon High School and St Anne’s, Oxford, where she edited Isis. She is the author of two books of non-fiction, has edited four anthologies and published six novels. Second Sight (1980) won a Yorkshire Post First Novel award. Then followed two dark love stories; Fire Child and Heat, then Second Sight

and the bestselling Separation, about the power of children. All six have been republished by Quartet Books in 2017. Her prose has been compared with that of Muriel Spark. Since 2003 she has worked as a travel writer for the Sunday Times, as well as contributing to other newspapers. She is married, has two adult children, and lives in London.


Chris West is a novelist and non-fiction writer. He has written four crime novels set in 1990s China. The first, Death of a Blue Lantern, was nominated for Best First Novel at the World Mystery Convention. His latest work of fiction is Enlightenment, a comic novella. First Class, A History of Britain in 36 Postage Stamps was one of ten

Independent Bookshop Picks in 2012 and was followed by A History of America in 36 Postage Stamps. His latest book, Eurovision! A History of Modern Europe through the World’s Greatest Song Contest, tells the story of Europe from Suez to Brexit, and was published last year.


Louis de Bernières was born in London in 1954. He published his first novel in 1990 and was selected by Granta magazine as one of the twenty Best of Young British Novelists in 1993. Since then he has become well known internationally as a writer: Captain Corelli's Mandolin (1994) won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Novel, Birds

Without Wings (2004, Whitbread Novel Award shortlist), A Partisan's Daughter (2008, shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award), and The Dust That Fell From Dreams (2015). His latest novel, Blue Dog (2016) is the prequel to his 2002 novel, Red Dog and was selected as a Daily Telegraph Book of 2016. He lives in Norfolk and as well as writing, he plays the flute, mandolin, clarinet and guitar.


Mark Illis was born in London in 1963. He published short stories at university, and went on to an MA in Creative Writing at UEA. He had three novels published in his twenties by Bloomsbury. In 1992, Mark moved to West Yorkshire to be a Centre Director for the Arvon Foundation. He has written for radio and TV; EastEnders,

The Bill, Peak Practice and for over a decade, Emmerdale. He also wrote the award- winning screenplay for Before Dawn, a relationship drama with zombies. Mark has taught writing in schools, libraries, universities, Reading Prison and Broadmoor Secure Hospital. He has reviewed for The Spectator and Radio 4's Kaleidoscope. He has recently been working for the charity First Story and for the Royal Literary Fund. Recent titles include, Tender (2009) and The Last Word (2011, shortlisted for The Portico Prize). In 2017, his first Young Adult novel, The Impossible, winner of a Northern Writers’ Award, was published by Quercus. He is married with two children.


Thirtieth Anniversary

King's Lynn



16-18 MARCH 2018
at the Town Hall, King's Lynn

Peter Benson
Louis de Bernières
Christopher Bigsby
Rachel Crowther
Sally Emerson
Guinevere Glasfurd
Rachel Hore
Mark Illis
John Lucas
D J Taylor

Click here to download the Programme (1.5MB pdf)

Full details are on the Next Festival page