2024 Festival Review

Thank you to everyone who took part in this year's festival, and to everyone who came along to events. It was a huge success, with more than 60 events and over 100 authors taking part across ten days. We hope you all enjoyed it! Here are a few highlights and memories from the week...

Faversham Literary Festival. Photos and images from the latest festival

Literary Fiction

Jeanette Winterson held the audience spellbound – or more potently ghostbound – with complex connections between beliefs, AI, hauntings and storytelling from her short story collection Night Side of the River.

This year’s debut highlights were Joelle Taylor’s The Night Alphabet, a powerful story of alternative histories told through the interconnective weavings of body art, and Noel O’Regan’s Though the Bodies Fall, centred around a suicide blackspot at the headland of Kerry – both superb and highly recommended. A first weekend highlight was Jacqueline Crooks and debut author Fiona Williams discussing the Caribbean influences at work in Fire Rush and The House of Broken Bricks.

On Saturday 24 Feb, Shepherd Neame Old Brewery Store was packed to the rafters for more than a touch of romance, humour and escapism with Scotland's most charming Alexander McCall Smith, much-loved author of the No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which has sold over 25 million copies.

Last but certainly not least the closing event to the festival, with the amazing literary powerhouse Kate Mosse, founder of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, in conversation with journalist and author Alex Preston.

Faversham Literary Festival. Photos and images from the latest festival

Children and Teen

The combo of storytelling and live drawing created much excitement for youngsters at this year’s festival. A drawalong at St Mary of Charity with Rob Biddulph on Saturday 24 Feb was followed by more fun and mayhem on Sunday with Jamie Smart, author of the Looshkin and Bunny vs Monkey series.

For teens and young adults, global sensation Alice Oseman, author of the Heartstopper series, attracted visitors to Faversham from all over Britain… and one truly obsessive fan travelled to Kent from Seattle! We would like to thank Canterbury Christ Church University, proud sponsors of Alice Oseman's event.

Faversham Literary Festival. Photos and images from the latest festival


Lemn Sissay… Roger McGough… Joelle Taylor… Hollie McNish… Michael Pedersen – our invited poets brought great performances throughout the week. The Friday night slam was perhaps our best yet, featuring a great line-up of local Kent poets battling it out against Spoken Word artists from further afield, with Angela Dye hosting and the incredible Danny Mash taking this year’s cash prize.
Faversham Literary Festival. Photos and images from the latest festival


There were more than a few excellent memoirs on the programme this year, making it hard to choose between them. If we have to pick a few highlights, first up is Whitstable journalist Glyn Brown, with her straight talking and laughs aplenty. The darkly amusing John Niven brought the house down in conversation with Siân Pattenden at Shepherd Neame Old Brewery Store. Ageing and raging like we’ve never heard it before with the glorious Sheila Hancock. Plus intimate tales of singleness with Amy Key and AK Blakemore; and the awe-inspiring double-gold Olympic medallist Kelly Holmes.
Faversham Literary Festival. Photos and images from the latest festival


The Arden Theatre was packed on Saturday 24th Feb for Aniefiok 'Neef' Ekpoudom, whose book Where We Come From: Rap, Home & Hope in Modern Britain offers a landmark social history of British rap and grime. Later the same day, former Sex Pistols bass player Glen Matlock on stage in conversation with author and DJ Dave Haslam; a deep dive into rave culture with journalist Ed Gillett, former member of the DiY Collective Harry Harrison and photographer Seana Gavin; plus Charlie Higson and Daniel Rachel taking us back to 1979 when 2 Tone exploded into the national consciousness as records by The Specials, The Selecter, Madness and The Beat burst onto the charts and the definitive post-punk youth movement was born. Charlie Higson, comedy writer and actor from The Fast Show, fronted The Higsons, a band featured on the label.
Faversham Literary Festival. Photos and images from the latest festival


Protest, rave culture, alternative histories… Turner-prizewinning Jeremy Deller’s art is a force of magic littered with battlefields, from Orgreave during the Miner’s Strike to youth culture and the Beanfield. Taking to the stage at St Mary of Charity his first mention was the medieval painted pillar just to his right, which dates back to around 1306 and is the finest work of art in Faversham’s beautiful church…

Other artists that got a mention... Emily Howes' debut historical fiction about the two daughters of 18th-century painter Thomas Gainsbrough; and Dave Haslam on Picasso in Paris.

Faversham Literary Festival. Photos and images from the latest festival

Other Highlights

The wonderful efforts of all the festival volunteers, tech crew, caterers and venue staff.

We were thrilled to include on the programme astronaut and bestselling author Tim Peake in conversation with Julia Wheeler about his new book Space: The Human Story.

Sarah Marsh and Lesley McDowell talking historical fiction on the opening Saturday of the festival, a very special event made accessible for the deaf, deafened and hard of hearing with live captions and BSL interpreters.

Local writer Andy Capon who brought laughter and tears to a packed audience at the Assembly Rooms with candid retellings of his experiences of mental health problems, and how humour helped him turn his life around.

Steven Moffat, writer of the Dr Who and Sherlock series, joining a panel event about the CERN Large Hadron Collider and how a group of authors worked alongside the physicists to learn about their work and transform their experiences into a collection of short stories, Collision.

The glorious light shining into the Guildhall as Geoff Nicholson and Sonia Overall discuss walking, psychogeography, and Geoff’s latest book Walking on Thin Air; followed by the Tainted Love evening in which 15 local authors were invited to perform their work on stage to an audience, some making their work public for the first time.

The festival would like to express thanks to Queen Elizabeth Grammar School for allowing us to use their high-tech modern theatre that has a fully accessible stage, allowing us to include on the programme journalist Peter Apps talking about the future of Nato and geopolitics with local author and China specialist Kerry Brown.

A huge thank you to all the authors, poets and hosts who took part, especially all those who managed to reach Faversham despite a landslip that caused the closure of train lines out of London on the busiest weekend of the festival. Last but certainly not least, everyone who came along to our events. We hope you enjoyed it!

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