Previous Festivals

From humble beginnings in 2007, the Festival has grown with the needs of the international community it serves, showcasing ever more Chinese, international and local authors, writers and performers.

The 9th Bookworm Literary Festival, held March 13-29, featured more than 120 authors from nearly two dozen countries, highlighted by Chang-rae Lee, Yasmina Khadra, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Willis Barnstone (who translated the poetry of Mao Zedong), Michael Meyer, and Victoria Hislop. There was a special “Spotlight on Canada” that featured Rawi Hage, Madeleine Thien, Kim Thuy, Dennis Bock, Vincent Lam, and Douglas Gibson (the longtime editor of Alice Munro). Featured events included an environment panel with noted experts Ma Jun and Husayn Anwar, among others, and a popular “Writing China Through History” discussion moderated by Pulitzer-winning journalist Ian Johnson.

For our lucky 8th year, the Festival, fringe events, and caravan delivered another set of unmissable experiences for attendees and participants across the country. This year saw talks, workshops, and panels from the likes of Eoin McNamee, Liz Lochhead, Anjum Hasan, Bidisha, Ed Wong, Jonathan Fenby, Adam Williams, Andy Summers, Dominique Wilson, Gabrielle Wang, David Vann, Cristovão Tezza, Sjón, Francesca Rhydderch, Santiago Roncagliolo, Tam Lui, Sifiso Mzobe, Musharraf Ali Farooqi, and Zac O’Yeah.

Without missing a beat, we built and expanded on what had made the Festival so wonderful in previous years, with our Literary Caravan taking the show on the road to even more cities than ever before. We were honored to once again welcome a wide variety of international talent, including Lionel Shriver, AD Miller, Yang Yisheng, Anne Witchard, Bill Dodson, Chi Zijian, Alison Lester, George Megalogenis, and Robert Newton.

The Festival continued to grow in 2012, as authors gathered from all over the world to celebrate what the Mayans assured us would be the last Bookworm Literary Fesival! Sharing their insight and expertise in the face of the impending apocalypse were such luminaries as Yu Hua, Jonathan Fenby, Eric Abrahamsen, Fan Wen, Tom Pattinson, Qaisra Shahraz, Paul French, Di An, Carol Birch, Tim Flannery, Evan Osnos, Gary Shteyngart, Dorota Maslowska, and Xiao Bai.

We launched BLF 2011 with a star-studded Prologue event, featuring David Sedaris and Dave Eggers. Our writers came from around the globe for two weeks of non-stop events featuring Peter Hessler, Leslie Chang, Bi Feiyu, Yan Lianke, Fergal Keane, Paolo Giordano, Guillermo Martinez, Christos Tsiolkas, Emma Donoghue, Michel Faber, Omar Musa, Sheng Keyi, Zhang Yueran, Meg Rosoff, Shamini Flint and more. BLF 2011 introduced an expanded Children’s Programme and the introduction of both our Migrant Schools Outreach Programme and our Footnotes evening programming, with cabaret, music, performance and more.

In 2010 the festival was bigger still, with over 70 writers from 14 countries, including Amitav Ghosh, David Grossman, Hong Ying, Bi Feiyu, Junot Diaz, Zoe Heller, Asne Sieirstad, Benjamin Zephaniah, Jonathan Fenby and Tash Aw.

Events covered an enormous range of subjects and themes; from book launches, panel discussions, readings and workshops to music events and children’s programming. Our Gala Dinner, held in a private Qing Dynasty courtyard, was a glittering and sought-after event on Beijing’s social calendar.

The Bookworm International Literary Festival 2009 continued to represents a celebration of literature in the truest sense.

The audience was able to engage first hand with novelists, historians, poets, translators, screenwriters, journalists, essayists, and thinkers from countries as far-flung as Norway, Israel, Australia and Lebanon, and witnessed live debate between some of the sharpest commentators on contemporary politics and society.

Our authors and guests included Mo Yan, Blake Morrison, Fuchsia Dunlop, Eliot Weinberger, Howard Goldblatt, James Fallows, Marina Lewycka, Mark Cousins, Tilda Swinton, Rabih Alameddine and more.

The festival continued to grow in 2008 with two jam packed weeks of book launches, literary conversations, panel discussions, workshops, book signings and film screenings, featuring Qiu Xiaolong, Yiyun Li, Patrick Gale, Hari Kunzru, John Man, Zhu Wen, James Kynge, Tim Clissold, James McGregor, Catherine Sampson, Nury Vittachi, Anna Funder, Justin Hill, Nicholas Jose, Christopher Kremmer, Christopher Koch, Roy Kesey, Zhang Lijia, Liz Niven, Ouyang Yu, Gail Jones, Rob Gifford, Sheila Melvin, Miles Merril, Edward Ragg, Lily Brett, Paul French, and more.

We began The Bookworm International Literary Festival humbly in Beijing in 2007, expanding on our year-round book event programme.