Blackpool is getting its very own literature festival this autumn in Word Fest, a weekend of literary events and spoken word where literary heavyweights and popular authors host events side by side with celebrity writers.

Running between Friday 7th until Monday 10th October 2022, the festival takes the form of a series of ticketed events to hear authors talk about their love of writing and their books, answer questions and sign books for fans. Most ticket prices include a copy of the latest publication by the author.

Hosted and held in the Winter Gardens and co-produced by Kirkham’s independent coffee shop, Book, Bean & Ice Cream, the main draw will be celebrity authors including Lenny Henry, Paul O’Grady and Anton du Beke who will host in conversation events.

Lenny Henry’s new book Rising to the Surface traces his career through the eighties and nineties from a sixteen year old winning a talent competition and navigating through the seas of professional comedy to learning his craft through sheer graft and hard work. In Conversation with Lenny Henry will take place on Sunday 9 October at 8pm, with all tickets including a signed copy of the book and a meet and greet. Earlier that day children and families will also get the opportunity to meet Henry in person, at a free event where he’ll be signing copies of his two children’s novels The Boy With Wings and The Book Of Legends.

Paul O’Grady will be talking about his children’s book Eddie Albert & the Amazing Animal Gang which tells the story of 10-year-old Eddie who can talk to animals. This story of Eddie’s dispatch to stay with his eccentric aunt in Amsterdam is packed full of friendship, animals, action and of course a wicked sense of humour. In Conversation with Paul O’Grady will take place on Sunday 09 October at 4pm, with all tickets including a signed copy of the latest in the Eddie Albert and the Amazing Animal Gang series The Curse of the Smugglers’ Treasure (RRP £12.99, HarperCollins Children’s Books).

A firm Blackpool favourite and Sunday Times bestselling author, Anton Du Beke will be previewing his stunning new tale of dance (release date 13th October 2022) during the Blitz centred around the Buckingham Hotel in London. The book tells the story of Raymond de Guise who is on leave from Dunkirk and struggling to find his place in the world. In Conversation with Anton Du Beke will take place on Monday 10 October at 8pm, with all tickets including a signed copy of The Ballroom Blitz and a meet and greet.

The full programme for Word Fest includes Sir Michael Morpurgo OBE presenting War Horse Live. War Horse will be joined by events with bestselling authors Milly Johnson, Saul David and Barbara Windsor’s widower, Scott Mitchell.

Two live podcasts are also on the schedule: a special Seasiders Podcast at 8pm on Saturday 8th October with special guest former Blackpool legend Gary Taylor-Fletcher joining the Seasiders’ podcast team to talk all things Tangerine, past, present and future.  Anecdotes and ‘Tim-isms’ guaranteed! And Rory Stewart and Alastair Campbell will host a live version of their podcast The Rest is Politics on Saturday 8th October.   

Elaine Silverwood, owner of Book, Bean & Ice Cream and co-producer of Word Fest said: “This is the first ever Word Fest and ticket sales have got off to a flying start. It is the first new literary festival to be scheduled in the north for many years and we are thrilled at the confirmed line up. We can’t wait to welcome the authors and guests to the Winter Gardens Blackpool for a weekend of words.”

Tickets are now on sale priced from £20.00 at https://www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk

Full details of each event can be found at the following links:

War Horse In Concert with Michael Morpurgo  


An audience with Scott Mitchell: By Your Side

An audience with Scott Mitchell: By Your Side | Winter Gardens Blackpool

Coffee and Cake with Milly Johnson: Together, Again

Coffee and Cake with Milly Johnson | Winter Gardens Blackpool

An audience with Saul David: Devil Dogs

An audience with Saul David: Devil Dogs | Winter Gardens Blackpool

The Rest Is Politics Live! 

The Rest Is Politics Live! | Winter Gardens Blackpool

Seasiders Podcast Live! with special Guest Gary Taylor-Fletcher


Lenny Henry Children’s Book Signing 


In Conversation with Paul O’Grady:  Eddie Albert and the Amazing Animal Gang


In Conversation with Lenny Henry: Rising to the Surface


In Conversation with Anton Du Beke: The Ballroom Blitz 




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