FOLLOWING on from the success of last year’s inaugural event, the Salisbury Literary Festival returns with an expanded programme for 2018.

This year’s festival will run from October 17-22 and will bring a host of bestselling and prize-winning authors to Salisbury, for a wide range of events in venues across the city.

“It’s been a difficult year for Salisbury,” festival director Tom Bromley says. ‘The Salisbury Literary Festival brings a welcome focus to the rich and vibrant literary life and heritage that the city has to offer.”

Billed as “a festival for readers and writers” the festival originated from the Salisbury Writing Circle, a monthly meeting of writers at Sarum College.

The art and craft of writing and fiction play an important part in the festival’s programme.

The festival is very much a celebration of Salisbury showcasing great writers of its past and this those in the city’s many writing groups.

This year’s festival begins on Wednesday, October 17 with leading crime writer Val McDermid in Salisbury Cathedral.

McDermid is one of the UK’s most popular and best-loved writers, with a string of number one bestsellers spread over her four main series.

She has won both the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and the Crime Writer Association’s Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year. Her most recent novel, Insidious Intent, is currently shortlisted for this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, with the next novel, Broken Ground, published this August.

On Thursday , October 18, the crime theme continues, with particular reference to the great crime writer Dorothy L Sayers, who went to school in Salisbury.

Martin Edwards, the current president of the Detection Club and chair of the Crime Writer’s Association, will talk about both Sayers’ work and the ‘Golden Age of Crime’ that she helped establish.

This will be followed by panel of four present day female crime writers: Sarah Hilary, who won the 2015 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year; Sunday Times Bestseller Jane Corry; Amazon number one bestseller Louise Voss; and hotly tipped debut novelist Clare Empson.

On Friday, the festival will turn its attention to spy fiction, with two of the leading writers in the genre coming to city to talk about their work and offer their take on the events here in March.

Charles Cumming has been described by the Mail on Sunday as “the master of the modern spy thriller” and by The Observer as “the best of the new generation of British spy writers”. Val McDermid says Mick Herron is “The John Le Carré of our generation”.

On Saturday 20 October the festival welcomes a whole host of authors right across the genres.

These include brilliant debut novelists Libby Page and AJ Pearce, who first books have both been compared to Gail Honeyman.

Then there is Salisbury-born bestseller CJ Tudor, whose debut The Chalk Man has been described as “Stephen King meets Stranger Things”.

She will be appearing alongside another of 2018’s breakthrough stars, Stuart Turton, whose The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has been called Gosford Park meets Inception.

Gill Sims, author of the huge bestseller Why Mummy Drinks will appear with Asia Mackay, who debut novel Killing It combines new parenthood humour with a spy thriller.

Claire Fuller, whose debut novel Our Endless Numbered Days won the Desmond Elliott Prize, will appear to talk about her brilliant third novel, Bitter Orange. And Kate Summerscale, best known for her number one bestseller The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, will appear alongside novelist Richard Beard, whose memoir The Day That Went Missing was shortlisted for both the James Tait Black Prize and the Rathbones Folio Prize.

On Sunday, October 21, the festival’s Writer’s Day features some of the best creative writers in the country.

These include Richard Skinner, director of the Faber Academy, the UK’s leading creative writing school; bestselling novelist Joanna Briscoe, who will run a workshop on character; and John Yorke, one of the UK’s leading television writers and leading expert on storytelling.

There will also be sessions of Live Editing and Live Rejections with an editor and literary agent, and an author/ editor panel discussing the journey of a book from pitch to publication.

On Monday, October 22, the festival finishes with a joint event with Sarum College – the Sarum Symposium in Salisbury’s Guildhall. Chaired by Erica Wagner, this panel will feature Barney Norris, Lionel Shriver and Bidisha discussing the topics of truth telling and storytelling.

The festival will also include a full children’s programme with school events on Friday, October 19 and Monday, October 22 as well as weekend events across the city.

The popular literary walks around Salisbury return, as will the Salisbury Story Prize, with categories for adults and children.

All information, including further author announcements and tickets for the festival can be found at

Tickets will go on sale in July both on the website and at Sarum College Bookshop.