Skip to main page content

2023 Festival Highlights

The 31st Wells Festival of Literature is now over but it has left us some wonderful memories, every one of them different.

Wes Streeting, who led the way with the opening event, featured on many ‘Top Ten’ lists.  So did Robin Ince, Chris Patten and Emily Kenway – all of them appearing on that first weekend! Our debut Literary Quiz also scored highly in the popularity stakes; a repeat has been requested by a large number, including the winning team! And unsurprisingly the Poetry Readings and Prize Giving gave many winners and almost-winners an unforgettable afternoon.

Such is the rich variety of topics on offer at Wells that no one knows quite what to expect from every event. But it is always heartening to hear how many members of the audience enjoyed having their preconceptions toppled by passionate presentations and surprising new angles on familiar themes.

Marcus du Sautoy's Event

There’s absolutely no doubt however about our Year Six Event (or rather events) funded entirely by WFL. On four occasions during the Festival the sensational author MG Leonard inspired and entertained Year Six pupils from local schools – altogether an astounding 850+ of them plus their teachers. The highlight for the teachers must surely have been seeing how enthralled the children were by this wonderful author’s talk. The children themselves were lucky enough to enjoy even more highlights: thanks to the generosity of the publisher combined with an additional subsidy from WFL, the youngsters were able to buy the books for a mere £2 a piece. Even better, their book was signed – in person – by the very person who had written it!

Of course it is also possible that our Literary Lunches were the best bit of the Festival for some. That Belgian chocolate fondant with honey ice-cream certainly took some beating! Do tell us what you think by sending an email to

Book Group Event with Donal Ryan