The Gruffalo, Family Fun Day - The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2015

image: mcphersonstevens.com

Crowds celebrate 66th edition of The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

Posted on

An audience of thousands descended on the heart of Cheltenham last week for the 66th edition of The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, with 136,000 tickets sold across the 10 day literary extravaganza (2-11 October).

Tickets to the festival’s family programme – Book It! – were up 10 per cent on 2014, with 13,500 sold, while tickets for the schools programme increased by eight per cent, and attendance at events in the main programme increased by 10 per cent.

Coinciding with Super Thursday, the biggest day in the UK publishing calendar, the festival comes at a critical moment for the book trade. Official festival booksellers, Waterstones, reported a six per cent increase in book sales, reflecting the strength of both the Festival’s programming and the wider quality of publishing this year.

An open-minded celebration of the written and spoken word in all forms, this year’s Festival was themed around Defining Moments, showcasing its most eclectic line up yet. Featuring everything from literary giants to new writers, topical debate to historical discussion, new voices presenting the ideas of tomorrow to the biggest names in entertainment, speakers included Jane Smiley, Martha Lane Fox, Matthew Bourne, George the Poet, Garry Kasparov, Jeanette Winterson, Nick Clegg, Anne McElvoy, Nigel Mansell, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Nick Frost, Boris Becker, Nigella Lawson, Bill Bryson, Gino D’Acampo, six past Booker Prize winners (including double winner Peter Carey) as well as some of the 2015 finalists, three Pulitzer Prize winners, and Costa Award and Wellcome Book Prize winners.

The Festival 2015 in numbers:

  • 136,000 tickets sold
  • Over 20,000 visitors on each of the festival weekends
  • Over 6,000 visitors to the site every week day
  • 13,500 tickets sold for the family programme (Book it!), an increase of 10% on 2014
  • 8% increase in tickets issued to the schools programme
  • 35,000 cups of tea and coffee served across the site
  • Over 2,300 bottles of wine served on site
  • On site book sales up 6% on 2014

Gail Rebuck, Chair of Penguin Random House UK and Chair of The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, said:

“For the past ten days we’ve seen events that have inspired, provoked and entertained thousands of people from all over the UK and abroad. I’m extremely proud of how hard the Cheltenham Festivals team has worked in developing such a rich and evocative programme for all ages – we are delighted to have enjoyed such strong attendance and support from such a variety of writers and thinkers. It’s wonderful to see that amidst all the industry change, the demand for our unique and diverse offering continues to grow.”

Louise Emerson, CEO of Cheltenham Festivals, said:

“Cheltenham Literature Festival is a dynamic platform for established and new voices across all genres looking to reach out to their audiences and interact with their fans in new and direct ways. Without doubt this has been our best Festival yet, having taken great care to curate a programme that explores ideas in depth, debates and discusses the biggest issues of the day, and revisits the classics in a fresh and engaging way.

Without doubt this has been our best Festival yet

Louise Emerson, CEO Cheltenham Festivals

“Already we’re looking to next year and how we can continue to develop the Festival content and experience and bring our unique blend of inspiration and debate to new audiences as well as working to encourage the readers and writers of the future through our work with young people.”

James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones, the festival’s official book seller, said:

“This year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival was the most successful yet, with book sales increasing by a pleasing six per cent. This reflects the strength of both the Festival’s programming and the wider quality of publishing this year. Coinciding with ‘Super Thursday’, the Festival acts as the launch-pad for the book trade into the Christmas sales period and this year it propels us forward full of optimism.”

For breaking 2016 Festival news, register for our email and SMS alerts

 

blog comments powered by Disqus