Mick Herron, Bernadine Evaristo, Nina Stibbe and Kit de Waal headline 2023 Literary Leicester festival

The programme for Literary Leicester, the University of Leicester's annual free literary festival, has been announced today.

Literary Leicester will take place between Wednesday 22 March and Saturday 25 March at the university and other venues across the city.

The festival, which started in 2008, attracts up to 5000 attendees each year as well as Booker-Prize winners, celebrated cultural commentators, novelists, poets, historians, biographers and much more.

This year, speakers include the author of the acclaimed novel My Name is Leon, Kit de Waal.

De Waal will be joined in conversation by Bernadine Evaristo and Mick Herron in two separate events.

Evaristo’s novel Girl, Woman, Other jointly won the Booker Prize in 2019 alongside The Testaments by Margaret Atwood.

Herron is a bestselling and award-winning thriller writer known best for his Slough House series, recently adapted into a major TV series starring Gary Oldman and Kristen Scott Thomas.

Multi-award-winning and Leicestershire-born writer, Nina Stibbe will also speak at the event.

Stibbe was raised in Fleckney, Leicestershire and best known for her 2013 memoir, Love, Nina which was shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year and won Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the National Book Awards 2014.

Award-winning BBC journalist and writer, Samira Ahmed will also lead a talk on the books that have impacted her life.

The complete programme for this year’s Literary Leicester festival is below:

Bernardine Evaristo and Kit de Waal: In Conversation – Online, Monday 20 March, 5pm

Lesley Wylie: ‘Slow’ living as ecological practice – Attenborough Arts Centre, Wednesday 22 March, 1pm

Reading and Dissent in Soviet Russia – Attenborough Arts Centre, Wednesday 22 March, 3pm

Mick Herron in conversation with Kit de Waal – Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 1, Wednesday 22 March, 6:30pm

Nina Stibbe: Life, Fiction, Comedy – Ken Edwards Building, Lecture 1, Wednesday 22 March, 8pm

Samuel Pepys’s Cheese – Digital Culture Studio, Thursday 23 March, 12pm

Letters from the Archive – Digital Culture Studio, Thursday 23 March, 2:30pm

Joanna Walsh: Writing the Self and the Politics of Sharing – Attenborough Arts Centre, Thursday 23 March, 4pm

Samira Ahmed: My Life in Books – Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 1, Thursday 23 March, 6:30pm

Renaissance One presents “Family of Words”: Joelle Taylor and Patience Agbabi – Ken Edwards Building Lecture Theatre 1, Thursday 23 March, 8pm

Writing Climate Fiction: A Workshop with Liz Jensen – Leicester Central Library, Friday 24 March, 1:30pm

First Story: Young Writers’ Showcase – Attenborough Arts Centre, Friday 24 March, 1:30pm

10 Meals That Changed the World – Attenborough Arts Centre, Friday 24 March, 3:30pm

Celebrity Chefs Felicity Cloake and Gurdeep Loyal: ‘…but is it authentic?’ - Attenborough Arts Centre, Friday 23 March, 5pm

‘Writing the Climate Emergency’ with Liz Jensen, Laline Paull and Gregory Norminton - TBC, Friday 24 March, 6:30pm

MY NAME IS LEON: From Page to Screen with Kit de Waal, Dean O'Loughlin and a special, pre-recorded interview with LENNY HENRY – Phoenix Cinema Friday 24 March, 8pm


FOR KIDS! Writing Words with PolarBear – Attenborough Arts Centre, Saturday 25 March, 10am

Creative Writing Student Showcase – Attenborough Arts Centre, Monday 27 March, 5:30pm

Event times and dates could still change. Please refer to Eventbrite for up-to-date information.

Dr Harry Whitehead, Festival Director for Literary Leicester said: “We’re delighted to be back again for another wonderful few days of readings, conversations, workshops, screenings and more, with some of the UK’s leading writers.

“As well as hugely well-known names such as Booker-Prize-winner Bernadine Evaristo and ‘Slow Horses’ author Mick Herron, we’ve poetry from TS Eliot prize-winner Joelle Taylor and guests; talking food with Guardian chef Felicity Cloake and Leicester’s own Gurdeep Loyal.

“A day with a focus on the climate and biosphere emergency include leading writers connected to Extinction Rebellion’s “Writer’s Rebel”.

“The university’s own ‘Jean Humphreys writer-in-residence’, Kit de Waal, talks with guests including Lenny Henry about the adaptation of her celebrated novel into an equally celebrated BBC TV Drama in 2022.

“We’ve children’s events and public talks from several of the university’s researchers on topics ranging from Samuel Pepys to Russian dissidents and a whole lot more. And all of it 100% free for anyone from our fabulous, diverse city and beyond to attend.”