Background and history

Berwick Literary Festival (BLF) was launched in 2014 to add an extra dimension to the town’s autumn season of the Film & Media Arts and Food Festivals, and Heritage Open Days. Another cultural event would add to the attraction of Berwick for tourism and economic regeneration; offer entertainment and interest to local residents; encourage locally based writers; and from the outset it offered enrichment activities to the town’s schools at all levels. Since 2014 the cultural economy of Berwick, north Northumberland and the eastern Scottish Borders has developed strongly and the Festival is pleased to have had a part in that growth. BLF has earned growing interest not only from within the UK but (through the agency of Zoom) worldwide and within the community of ‘word-based’ festivals.

Over the eight festivals held to date, including those held online during the Covid pandemic, BLF has welcomed nearly 200 speakers to its programme, run writing workshops, sponsored live performances in the town’s Maltings Theatre, and promoted poetry as a major ‘stream’. The town’s schools at all levels have been brought drama and poetry workshops and writing competitions that reach a very large proportion of pupils. Organised by volunteers, sponsored by local businesses and the Town Council, and backed by many private individuals, the Festival looks forward with confidence to future seasons.

Please see here for the programmes and details of previous Festivals and speakers.