Plymouth Festival of Words

Celebrating literature and ‘words’ through a diverse range of art forms including theatre, film and more

Plymouth Festival of Words 2019

Our Festival of Words shines a light on Plymouth as a city of debate, taking in literature, popular culture, world history, travel, poetry, and comedy. We will collaborate in imaginative ways, across art forms, and with unexpected partners.  Plymouth Festival of Words 2019 builds on the successes of  Plymouth International Book Festival and Plymouth Festival of Words 2017.

Tales of exploration are woven into the fabric of Plymouth as seafaring city. Through drama, song, storytelling and more, the events will be united by the theme Explore, taking a journey from early adventures through to the lasting impacts still felt today.

The festival is presented by a diverse group of academic and arts organisations with strong connections to the local community: Literature Works, the University of Plymouth, The Arts Institute, Plymouth Museums, Galleries and Archives, PlymLit and WonderZoo, reflecting the broad reach and appeal of our festival programme.

Photography courtesy of DC Imaging

In Conversation with Children's Laureate Lauren Child

14:00, Saturday 12 May, Theatre 1, Roland Levinsky Building

As the creator of characters such as Clarice Bean, Ruby Redfort, and Charlie and Lola, Lauren Child's books are known and loved the world over, and Lauren wants to inspire children to believe in their own creative potential - and adults, too!

For Lauren, children's books play a valuable role in today's society. They offer an escape from the everyday to explore new ideas and feelings, and gain empathy and understanding of different types of people and different societies and cultures through books and reading. She has also been at the forefront of illustration innovation for 15 years, raising the profile of illustration as a sophisticated art form for all ages. 

This event raises the curtain for Plymouth Festival of Words 2019 as a place for words, discussions and ideas.

If you'd like to come along, tickets are available through our Ticket Information page.

Plymouth Festival of Words 2017

Building on the success of the Plymouth International Book Festival, the Plymouth Festival of Words celebrates words in all their forms including literature, poetry, theatre and more. In May 2017, the Festival launched Plymouth History Month, showcasing an eclectic blend of nationally and internationally renowned writers and artists, alongside a rich community programme coordinated by WonderZoo, involving literary groups from across the city and region, and the announcement of the 2017 Plymouth Mayflower Young City Laureate.

The Festival included celebrated film director and screenwriter, Peter Greenaway – and his stunning film, The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover; highly acclaimed writer, Michèle Roberts who introduced her new novel, A Walworth Beauty, set in Victorian London; international writers Fereshteh Ahmadi and Irenosen Okojie; performances from Helen Chadwick Song Theatre, Joan Ellis and Star Wars actor, Michael Pennington and workshops by Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award creator, Cathy Galvin.

The programme also included the Society for Storytelling’s annual gathering, bringing professional storytellers from across the UK to Plymouth for a weekend of storytelling through music, dance, interactive workshops and talks.

The Plymouth Festival of Words is a partnership between Literature Works, the literature development agency for the South West, The Arts Institute at the University of Plymouth, Plymouth Museums Galleries Archives, and is supported by Arts Council England.


Will you join us for the next chapter…?

The successful Plymouth International Book Festival, established in 2012, evolved this year to the broader, celebratory Plymouth Festival of Words, and we’re now planning to make this bigger, better and bolder in the future.

We’d like you to join us. We think you should, but also know that lives are busier than ever, and there’s so much choice and only so many options you can take when it comes to precious leisure time.

So tell us. Completing a short survey of 10 questions could underwrite the next chapter for Plymouth’s burgeoning literature and arts scene.

Complete the survey

Thank you for your help.