Dorset has inspired a wealth of writers throughout history, and many have called it home. It’s only fitting that this county has an abundance of literary festivals throughout the year. Here’s a round-up of five festivals across beautiful Dorset towns, dedicated to literature, books and writing.

Shaftesbury Book Festival

15 - 17 March 2024

This year’s theme is ‘Reading the Land’ and the fantastic line-up includes winners of the prestigious 2023 James Cropper Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing and Conservation Writing. Author talks take place at the Grosvenor Arms, and children's events at Shaftesbury Library and Shaftesbury Arts Centre.

Sherborne Travel Writing Festival

5 - 7 April 2024

Sherborne Literary Festival

This was the first travel literature festival to be held in the UK in recent years, and it continues this year with a diverse range of talks, including a lively panel discussion on the joys and challenges of writing about home, and their shared passion for the English countryside.

Sturminster Newton Literary Festival

8 - 16 June

Sturminster Newton Literary FestivalThis year their focus is on writers with a Dorset and wider Wessex connection, and previous festivals have included guided walks, performances, talks and writing workshops. More information and a programme of events will be announced closer to the festival.

Dorchester Literary Festival

12 - 19 October

Dorchester Literary FestivalThis year marks their tenth anniversary, and last year saw headliners including Ray Mears, Justine Picardie and Alan Titchmarsh. The festival will announce a full and diverse programme later in the year that will be designed to entertain, inspire and enlighten you.

Bridport Literary Festival

3 - 9 November

Enjoy seven days of events and talks at the 20th annual Literary Festival in Bridport. In 2023, venues were packed to hear eminent writers discuss a wide range of subjects including politics, nature, fiction, poetry, travel, history and sport. A list of 2024 events and talks will be available later in the year.