The annual literature festival will be returning to the streets of Marlborough for only four days – so don’t miss it!

The festival will kick off it's 14th year on Thursday, September 28 and run until Sunday, October 1, with over 40 events.

Standout events include an evening with award-winning poet Daljit Nagra, a chance to learn how to bind your own books, and a public debate asking ‘Can male writers ever really write accurately about women in love?’

Swindon Advertiser: These are the shops getting involved with Once Upon a Trail.These are the shops getting involved with Once Upon a Trail. (Image: Marlborough Literature Festival)

For families, ‘Once Upon a Trail’ will guide children along the High Street, playing detective to work out hidden book clues along the way. Maps and instructions for this trail are already available to collect from High Street shops.

“We’ve got something for everyone this year including big names, first-time authors and a host of free activities for children. The town will be buzzing," said Genevieve Clarke, chair of Marlborough LitFest.

Here’s the highlights you need to know about:


Kicking off the 2023 event, St John’s sixth form students will take to the stage at Marlborough Town Hall to debate love and literature. Focussing on The Great Gatsby, youngsters will ask whether men can ever accurately write about women in love. The event will run from 4-5:30pm and tickets are free but mandatory.

Chair of the Royal Society of Literature and famous poet Daljit Nagra will also be making an appearance that evening for a reading of his poem which was commissioned for the Coronation Concert and heard by millions around the world in May.

Swindon Advertiser: Many of the events have already sold out, so make sure you book now to guarantee a great time.Many of the events have already sold out, so make sure you book now to guarantee a great time. (Image: Marlborough Literature Festival)


For the crafters among us, Lori Sauer’s two hour workshop can teach you how to bind your own beautiful book. The event will run twice at 10am and 2pm, and tickets must be bought from White Horse Bookshop.

Award-winning Sebastian Barry will also be in the Town Hall at 7:30pm discussing his dreamlike novel which features a policeman confronting his past.


Saturday’s lineup includes too many famous names to mention, with talks from 17 different authors running throughout the day.

But for those wanting to take to the stage themselves, a poetry open mic event at The Green Dragon will commence at 5pm, and everyone is welcome.


Author talks continue into Sunday, with highlights including a trio of football writers, hair-raising tales of war, and a discussion with Natasha Solomons who turned Romeo and Juliet on its head to tell Rosaline’s story.

The festival will culminate with master of historical fiction Robert Harris speaking in the Town Hall at 7pm as part of ‘The Big Town Read.’

Tickets and details for all these events can be found online or from The White Horse Bookshop in Marlborough.