Five international literary festivals to look out for

  • AFP
  • Updated: Apr 13, 2015 16:18 IST

Next month, the 28th annual Hay Festival will welcome its usual star-studded mix of authors, readers, thinkers and entertainers for 11 days of talks, readings and shows. Famously dubbed "the Woodstock of the mind" by Bill Clinton, it is one of a number of festivals on the horizon that are geared toward the literary set. Here are just a few.

*Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
April 18-19
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Malcolm Gladwell is among the many draws for the LA Times' 2015 event, whose eclectic line-up includes authors T.C. Boyle, Jonathan Lethem and Kim Addonizio as well as actress Amber Tamblyn, actor Jon Cryer and cartoonist Roz Chast. Bonus: general festival admission for this one is free, although paid options will get you easier entry into the events of your choosing.

*Hay Festival
May 21-31
Hay-on-Wye, Wales

The Hay Festival recently announced its 2015 programming, and a typically star-studded roster includes Kazuo Ishiguro, David Mitchell, Irvine Welsh, Rose Tremain, Elif Shafak, Alexander McCall Smith, Colm Tóibín and Marian Keyes discussig their latest works. Neil Gaiman will pay tribute to the late Terry Pratchett, and a number of events will examine the Magna Carta in its 800th anniverary year.

The site of the Hay Festival in 2009. (Photo: AFP)

*Sydney Writers' Festival
May 16-24
Sydney, Australia

Australia's annual celebration of literature and themes has the 2015 theme of "How to Live?," and more than 400 writers will help make sense of the world by examining issues like spirituality, happiness and mortality. James Patterson is scheduled to appear, as are Helen Macdonald and Richard Flanagan, to name just a few.

*Edinburgh International Book Festival
August 15-31
Edinburgh, Scotland

Another annual favorite in the UK, this major festival is to announce its 2015 programming on June 10. It gathers more than 800 authors for 700 events in the city's Charlotte Square Gardens.

*International Literary Festival of Paraty (FLIP)
July 1-5
Paraty, Brazil

Liz Calder, the co-founder of Bloomsbury Publishing, used the Hay Festival as a model when she created FLIP in 2003. That English-language connection makes for a highly international group of participating authors, and 2014's line-up includes Eleanor Catton, Glenn Greenwald, Michael Pollan and Jhumpa Lahiri plus a spotlight on Hispanic-American authors.

Still looking? Other upcoming events include the PEN World Voices Festival (New York, May 4-10), the Melbourne Writers Festival (Australia, August 21-31), or the International Agatha Christie Festival (Torquay, Devon, UK, September 11-19) -- of special note this year, the 125th anniversary of the crime writer's birth.

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