Liverpool Literary Festival welcomes live audiences back for 2021

Liverpool Literary Festival is delighted to welcome audiences back this autumn, with an irresistible programme of events in the iconic Victoria Gallery & Museum (VG&M) taking place over the weekend of 8th – 10th October 2021.

After successfully operating online in 2020, this year there will be live conversation, beautiful surroundings, book signings, and more, to mark the fifth anniversary of the festival. And for those who can’t make it in person, the festival will keep one foot in the digital world with a series of lively online events.

The Director of Liverpool Literary Festival, Professor Dinah Birch, said: “I’m so pleased to offer our audiences such a wonderful line-up for this year’s festival – from fiction to biography, and from screenwriting to memoir, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.  We can’t wait to welcome book-lovers everywhere to Liverpool, whether you arrive online or in person!  ”

Opening the festival LIVE on Friday night is the celebrated television presenter, actor and comedian, Andi Osho, who will discuss her new novel, Asking for a Friend, and the joys and challenges of publishing fiction for the first time.

The festival continues in person on Saturday, as Adam Simpson chats to the University of Liverpool’s Dr Glenn Godenho about his experience of establishing a career as a screenwriter, and what it takes to translate your ideas from page, to stage and screen, find an agent and secure a commission.

Award-winning biographer Dame Hermione Lee is then joined online by Mark Da Vanzo, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse CEO, to talk about her major new biography of Tom Stoppard.

We’ll then return to the VG&M, as new novelist and University of Liverpool academic Danny O’Connor discusses his burgeoning literary career with the Festival Director, Professor Dinah Birch.

We’re still live as Dr Amir Khan steps up to the stage to talk about his book, The Doctor Will See You Now: The highs and lows of my life as an NHS GP, and present the winners of the University’s short story competition, ‘The Great Read’.

Dr Khan is followed by Kate Summerscale, author of The Haunting of Alma Fielding and The Suspicions of My Whicher, to discuss the special skills involved in discovering suspense and mystery hidden in history.

Clare Mackintosh is then joined by ITV News presenter Ann O’Connor for a conversation about her hard-hitting new thriller, Hostage.  Our University Chancellor and best-selling author Colm Tóibín will round off Saturday night with a discussion of his new book, The Magician with University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Janet Beer.

Sunday morning opens with award-winning poet, Mona Arshi at the VG&M discussing her new novel – out in November – and the experience of moving from poetry to prose, after a career in law.

Novelist, editor and University Royal Literary Fund Fellow, Caroline Smailes will then share the stage with BBC Radio Merseyside’s Ngunan Adamu to discuss the experience of seeing her novel The Drowning of Arthur Braxton transformed into a major new film.

Next, Okechukwu Nzelu, novelist and winner of the Betty Trask Ward for his debut 2020 novel, The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney, is joined by the University’s Dr Phoenix Alexander to talk about the changes in a writer’s life as a successful career develops.

We’re back online for a final time, as the novelist Emma Jane Unsworth, author of Hungry, the Stars and Everything, Animals and Adults discusses the challenges of moving from fiction to highly personal memoir.

The Festival wraps up on Sunday evening, at the VG&M, with new name Tabitha Lasley discussing her memoir, Sea State – a brilliant account of the lives of offshore workers.

Liverpool Literary Festival runs from October 8 – 10 2021 and is sponsored by Bruntwood and Student Roost. For more information, and to book your tickets, please visit