A brief roundup of writers festivals in the Asia-Pacific region (updated 20 Jan 2019). Criteria for inclusion: proceedings must be mainly in English and the locale in the Asia-Pacific region — this includes the west coasts of the Americas, and the north and east coasts of Australia. Does not include comic, anime, zine or poetry festivals, nor book fairs. Where there are no details to hand for a festival, it is tentatively listed under the month it was last held in.
As a new year rocks around, I must lapse into an old gripe: Why do so many convenors not give us festival dates more than a few months ahead? Presumably they all want ‘outsiders’ to attend their gig but – for nearly all of us – that means making advance arrangements about leave-of-absence, travel, finance, family and house-care. At the very least, they should put something – anything – on their website or FB page, rather than just leave them set for the previous festival. I’m doing my bit to prod them about this.
Fairway Galle Literary Festival, 16 – 20 Jan, Galle, Sri Lanka. Program out now. Local & international line-up includes Amit Chaudhuri & Alexander McCall Smith. Watch https://galleliteraryfestival.com
ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, 24 – 28 Jan, Diggi Palace, Rajasthani, India. Program out now. Huge line-up includes Anuradha Roy, Alexander McCall Smith (he’s getting around), Germaine Greer (remember her) & Markus Zusak (“The Book Thief”). Watch http://jaipurliteraturefestival.org/
There are many other writers festivals throughout South Asia – see http://www.sangamhouse.org/literature-festivals-in-south-asia
San Francisco Writers Conference, 14 – 17 Feb, Hyatt Regency Embarcadero. Goal: “to help writers become published authors”. Keynoters include thriller/romance author Catherine Coulter and writers’ writer Jane Friedman (I recommend her newsletter, Electric Speed). Watch http://sfwriters.org
Lahore Literary Festival, 23 -23 Feb, Alhamra Arts Centre, Pakistan. “LLF is a celebratory exploration of Pakistan’s literary arts.” Free to the public. No further details to hand yet. Watch http://www.lahorelitfest.com/about-llf
The Bookworm Literary Festival, Beijing, China. No details to hand for 2019. Watch http://bookwormfestival.com
Shanghai International Literary Festival – seems to have disappeared. I’d be grateful for any information.
Newcastle Writers Festival, 5 – 7 April, east coast of Australia. Submissions for 2019 are now closed. No other details to hand. Watch www.newcastlewritersfestival.org.au
Sydney Writers Festival, 29 April – 5 May, east coast of Australia. No other details to hand. Watch https://www.swf.org.au.
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, USC campus, USA. No details to hand for 2019. Watch http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/festival-schedule
Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival, 9 – 12 May, New Zealand. No other details yet. Watch http://www.dunedinwritersfestival.co.nz
Auckland Writers & Readers Festival, 14 – 19 May, New Zealand. Theme: “Open Book.” No other details yet. Watch http://www.writersfestival.co.nz.
NT Writers Festival, 16 – 19 May, Alice Springs, Australia. Expressions of interest from writers are open. Initial line-up announced. Full program available in April. Watch http://www.ntwriters.com.au/
JUNE / JULY 2019: Apparently bibliophiles hibernate during this time.
Byron Bay Writers Festival, 3 – 4 Aug, east coast of Australia. No other details yet. Watch: https://www.facebook.com/byronwritersfestival
Cairns Tropical Writers Festival, north-east coast of Australia. No news to hand for 2019. Watch http://www.cairnstropicalwritersfestival.com
Sunshine Coast Readers & Writers Festival, Coolum Beach, Australia. Unclear whether this is on in 2019. Watch: http://www.sunshinecoastreadersandwritersfestival.com.
Mountain Echoes Literary Festival, Thimphu, Bhutan. No news to hand for 2019. This festival is notoriously late in posting its details. Watch http://www.mountainechoes.org
Brisbane Writers Festival, 5 – 8 Sep, Queensland, Australia. No further details to hand. Watch https://bwf.org.au.
Pebble Beach Authors & Ideas Festival, 27 – 29 Sep, Carmel, California. No further detais to hand. Watch http://www.carmelauthors.com/
National Young Writers’ Festival, Newcastle, east coast of Australia. No news to hand for 2019. Watch http://youngwritersfestival.org.
Litquake Festival, San Francisco, USA. It’s definitely on, but no details to hand yet. Watch www.litquake.org
Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival, 21 – 27 Oct, Canada. No further details to hand. Watch http://www.writersfest.bc.ca
Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, 23 – 27 Oct, Bali, Indonesia. No further details to hand. Watch www.ubudwritersfestival.com
Bangalore Literature Festival, 9 – 10 Nov, Bengaluru, India. No further details to hand. Watch http://bangaloreliteraturefestival.org
Kauai Writers Conference, 4 – 10 Nov, Hawaii. No further details to hand. Watch http://www.kauaiwritersconference.com
Singapore Writers Festival. No news to hand for 2019. Watch www.singaporewritersfestival.com
Hong Kong International Literary Festival. No news to hand for 2019. Watch http://www.festival.org.hk/
Wollongong Writers Festival, 23 – 25 Nov, east coast of Australia. Program due late September. Watch www.wollongongwritersfestival.com
George Town Literary Festival, Penang, Malaysia. No news to hand for 2019. Watch www.georgetownlitfest.com
DECEMBER 2019: nuthin!
New Zealand Festival Writers & Readers Week, Wellington, is not on until March 2020. Watch https://www.festival.co.nz.
Irrawaddy Literary Festival, Yangon, Myanmar. A new governing board was created in May, but no details yet of the next festival. The site says “looking forward to seeing you in 2019“. Watch www.irrawaddylitfest.com