Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival 2018

“Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival is a gem among literary festivals. The beautiful setting, the sense of history and the warmth of the organisers give it a truly intimate feel. It’s a gift for both the author and the book loving audience.” - Anna Pasternak


We look back on the 2018 Festival in numbers.

2018 - 3 days (and an evening drinks party)

As usual, our Literary Festival coincided with the first May Bank Holiday weekend.

The programme was split into three specific days, Sunday 6th May 2018 for Adults, Monday 7th May 2018 for Families and Tuesday 8th May for Schools.

This year, thanks to the very kind hospitality of Catherine and Rupert Fleming, we opened the Festival at Stonewall Park, with a drinks party on Saturday 5th May 2018. This was an opportunity for Festival go-ers to meet Ian Rankin over drinks and canapés and enjoy a stroll through the beautiful bluebells and rhododendron.

5,005 tickets sold

This was made possible through the launch of Sunday Passes last December 2017 which were pre-sold and allowed ticket holders access to all talks on Sunday 6th May, individual tickets online, on the door tickets, and pre-sold tickets to schools for talks and workshops.

36 authors, speakers and performers


We are thrilled by our growing stature which can be measured by our impressive line-up of authors recruited for this year. We curated a deliberately eclectic mix of renowned writers; of biography, memoir, history, medicine, fiction, crime, poetry, science, politics and children’s books, to guarantee that we truly offer something for everyone, of all ages and interests.

12 workshops

Ensuring that it was a family affair, there were also children’s theatre performances, puppetry, life drawing, modelling and creative writing workshops.

20 sponsors

We were grateful once again to our title sponsors Brooks Macdonald, and award-winning company that specialises in providing investment management services across the UK and internationally.

This year, every talk was sponsored by a fantastic local business. We are delighted to be supported by so many prestigious companies that can reach new audiences and grow through the visibility they gain from our event.

Consultus Care and Nursing sponsored the main marquee, and one sponsor, Chilstone, even created a very special bench for the talk they sponsored given by Children’s Laureate Lauren Child.

Hundreds of books sold

A record amount of books sold by our fantastic partner and sponsor, Sevenoaks Bookshop, which allowed masses of book signings and will mean a lot more reading. Thank you Fleur and her team.

387 ice creams sold

From our fantastic Tea Room to keep everyone cool on our hottest Literary Festival yet.

1 podcast series

We recorded all the talks with our lighting and audio partners STL Production Group. To listen, click the button below.

What visitors said…

An excellent day yesterday spent at the Literary Festival at Chiddingstone Castle. We walked around the grounds in the glorious sunshine, had lunch in the café which was fabulous and then attended one of the talks at the Festival. The staff at the Castle are truly delightful and extremely helpful. A must visit, either to visit the Castle in general or to attend the Festival. Well done to all. Thank you and we will be back. Penny Graham

What a wonderful day - thanks for all your hard work organising. Can highly recommend the day pass. Claire Shaw - Kew

Thank you all for an interesting day on Sunday. Blessed by glorious weather, we thoroughly enjoyed 4 of the lectures, with much variety, cookery, Russia, prison and 17th century history. Congratulations to the team, looking forward to next year already Hilary Newman

I was given tickets to your Festival on Sunday May 6 and was delighted by the event, the great speakers you had, especially Ian Rankin, a long-time favourite, and the way everything was so well organised. I would like to be put on your list for next year, even though you haven’t finished this year yet Aileen Johnstone

What authors said…

I wanted to thank YOU all for making the event such a delight to take part in - Imogen guided the whole story so beautifully with her skilled questioning and Geoffrey made it a stand apart event. Geoffrey, your reading of the poems and text was incredibly moving. I can’t tell you how many people told me during the book signing that they had wiped away tears during and after the readings. Thank you both so much for your generosity towards Lara - I sold out every copy afterwards. Anna Pasternak

Author of Lara: The Untold Love Story That Inspired Doctor Zhivago

Congratulations to you all for another amazing literary festival. It really is a lovely event, full of charm and delights, and the setting is simply perfect. I was thrilled to be part of it. Deborah Lawrenson

Author of The Death in Provence

Thanks again for a fantastic welcome at Chiddingstone. I was so well looked after, and really enjoyed my event. We enormously enjoyed the family day yesterday too. My kids now have books signed to them by Lauren Child and a plasticine HogNob (apparently) to cherish forever. Sam Leith

Author of Write to the Point

Chiddingstone was one of the best festivals we’ve ever attended and was just such a lovely day out! Ellen Bashford

Publicist for Diana Henry

“Fantastic day at Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival with my Story Makers Workshops. Great venue and lovely people. SUCH great kids too – our future writers. Shelley Fallows

Founder of Story Makers Workshops

Thanks so much for inviting me to speak yesterday at the Chiddingstone Literary Festival. I thought it was a very good session in wonderful surroundings and I know that Leanda and Lucy were pleased, too.  Congratulations on the organisation of such a successful event and long may it continue. Linda Porter

Author of Royal Renegades

Thank you so much for a really wonderful couple of days.  Despite having spent a lot of time at Stonewall I had never seen the castle before, which was a revelation (the Japanese room in particular drawing some fantastic gasps from my boys), and the whole festival was completely enchanting.  Plus of course being involved, and with the delightful Linda and Leanda, and such a great audience. Lucy Moore

Author of Lady Fanshawe's Receipt Book

Just to say how much I enjoyed my time at your wonderful festival. Thank you so much for inviting me on such a sunny Bank Holiday weekend! Daljit Nagra

Author of British Museum

What teachers said…

Well done on putting together another successful event. I thought there was a lovely buzz around today. Kate Haysom

Chiddingstone School

What an incredible day! Thank you for organising and for hosting. Wonderful, inspiring workshops and a gorgeous setting. Who could ask for more? We can’t wait for next year! Leigh Primary School

What sponsors said…

Well done to everyone at Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival. We had a fantastic time. Ian Rankin did not disappoint and the workshops for kids (and grown ups!) were great. #readingisfundamental Berry & Lamberts

We thoroughly enjoyed the day with Anna Pasternak’s talk being the highlight.

Anna was so lovely to come and meet some of our clients which they really enjoyed.

Thank you for all your help and support we would very much like to be part of this again as our clients and carers are already asking who we are sponsoring next year! Consultus Care & Home Nursing