THE Swindon Festival of Literature returns next month after successfully hosting virtual events during the first lockdown.

The town’s long-running cultural extravaganza is using the lessons learned from its first online-only festival in 2020 to bring more fascinating talks by amazing authors to the people of Swindon.

More than 40 events will be held between May 3 and 9 via the festival’s website and can be viewed from all over the world.

Authors on this year’s line-up include Richard Thompson, Rowan Williams, Miranda Sawyer, Blake Morrison, Jasper Fforde, Ella Al-Shamahi, Natalie Haynes, Ollivier Pourriol, Sally Bayley, Richard Durrant, and Claudia Hammond.

Festival organiser Matt Holland said: “Here we are again, one year on from our last enforced online lockdown launch but also one year more grateful for human ingenuity, cutting edge science, and digital technology that made it possible not only to find ways of keeping a virus at bay but also to make it possible for this show to go on, or at least, to go on online.

“And the adverse effects of the virus and the challenge of having to present authors and performers online have been a kind of strange ill wind that has blown the festival some good.

“Once upon a time, we were no more than a long-running well-supported town festival with a reputation for not having spelling mistakes, keeping to time, being serious without being solemn, knowing how to laugh, and providing something of interest for everyone.

“Since Covid-19 forced us to become an online festival, we have spread our wings, worldwide.

“Last year we had new festival followers emerging from the USA, Australia, Spain, Botswana, Paraguay, and many other far flung places. Overnight, we’d become an international festival.”

The dream of ‘putting Swindon on the map’ was becoming a reality, on the world map! And this year, we hope and expect to maintain that global momentum, which is good for literature, good for humankind, and best of all, good for Swindon.”

Mr Holland hopes the festival line-up appeals to all ages and interests.

He added: “It includes authors, speakers, performers, and workshop leaders who celebrate spring, nightingales, running, publishing, life, nature, stories, hugging, health, remarkable women, missing men, life, poems, writing, boxing, tribes, sympathy groups, music, games, acrobatics, life, mortality, radio, lifestyles, circus, science, life, rest, and the art of succeeding without trying too hard.”

To find out more, visit or get a hard copy of the festival brochure by calling 01793 771080 or emailing