It’s Spring! Although the weather outside is still cold and generally unpleasant, March is the perfect time to rejoin the outside world. If you’re looking for fun literary or writing activities, here are 10 book-themed events to enjoy this month:
1 | World Book Day
When: Thursday 5th March Where: Everywhere!
There are few events as widely adored and celebrated as this one. World Book Day is a globally-beloved event that extends from school to adulthood. If you have children, you’ve probably already cobbled together character costume or two. However, if you haven’t, there’s no reason you can’t create a fancy-dress outfit of your own!
World Book Day doesn’t just mean dressing up. Local book shops always have signings, write-ins and readathons, so be on the lookout for anything in your area.
Alternatively, you can host your own event, online or in person. Hold a #WorldBookDay write-sprint on Twitter this Thursday, or simply gather with friends for a book swap and a chat.
If you choose to do the latter, I recommend throwing a fancy-dress option into the mix. Last time I hosted an event, I dressed as The Fool from Robin Hobb’s The Realm of the Elderlings series. I thought it was extravagant until an equally enthusiastic Valkyrie Cain (from Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant) and Julian (from L.J. Smith’s The Forbidden Game) arrived!
For more ideas and events, visit: https://www.worldbookday.com/
2 | Women’s History Month
When: Throughout the month of March Where: Everywhere!
Although this is technically not a book-themed event, it certainly can be! Whether you celebrate your favourite female author or read a new book, Women’s History Month is a great way to focus your creative energy.
Why not read a book by a female author that’s out of your ‘comfort zone’? History, science fiction, crime, non-fiction… explore stories from all genres, from female authors and poets of all nationalities.
Alternatively, you could write a short story of your own, or create a new character based on a historical figure.
Here are four recommended reads that might inspire you:
Rejected Disney Princesses | Jason Porath
Well-behaved women seldom make history. Rejected Princesses celebrates those who did.
Part art project, part standup routine, part book report, this book (and website) imagines what if we made animated musicals about the women of history and myth who refused to behave.
Girl Squads: 20 Female Friendships That Changed History | Sam Maggs
In this inspiring and diverse book, Sam Maggs lends her signature wit and warmth to profiles of some of history’s most influential female forces.
Spanning art, science, politics, activism, and sport, these girl squads show just how essential female friendship has been throughout history and across the globe.
Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights | Helen Lewis
Helen Lewis argues that feminism’s success is down to complicated, contradictory, imperfect women, who fought each other as well as fighting for equal rights. Too many of these pioneers have been whitewashed or forgotten in our modern search for feel-good, inspirational heroines
Highlighting numerous fighters for female freedom, Difficult Women is a refreshingly unvarnished and unsanitised account of women prepared to do almost anything to secure rights, equality and a voice.
Forgotten Fairy-Tales for Brave and Brilliant Girls | Kate Pankhurst
From the author of Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World comes a handsome volume of subversive fairy tales where the female lead calls the shots.
Largely neglected or forgotten through the centuries, these stories feature inspirational women taking charge of their own destinies. Discover heroines who outwit giants, fight evil, awaken sleeping princes and, of course, live happily ever after.
Find out more about Women's History Month here: https://womenshistorymonth.gov/
Events in the UK
3 | Bloomsbury Book Fair
When: 8th March Where: Royal National Hotel, London
The Bloomsbury Book Fair is the largest book fair organised by Etc Fairs. This is an event for book collectors and those with a special interest in antique books, as it has auctioneers and bookbinders regularly exhibiting.
However, if you’re not a collector, it is always worth going anyway. Be nosy, see what’s there and, if you’re lucky, you might grab a bargain. There will also be second hand books, out of print books, maps, prints, postcards, manuscripts on sale.
Find out more here: https://etcfairs.com/book-fairs/
4 | London Book Fair
IMPORTANT UPDATE: As of 4th March, The 2020 London Book Fair has been cancelled. Read more about the decision here: https://www.londonbookfair.co.uk/
10th - 12th MarchWhere: Olympia, London
The London Book Fair is the literary event of the year! Whether you’re exhibiting or just visiting, this fair is the place to meet the who’s who of the publishing industry.
If you’re looking for an agent or just want to know more about the publishing process, book a ticket!
Book a ticket and find out more: https://www.londonbookfair.co.uk/
5 | Black Book Festival
When: 14th March Where: Goldsmiths, University of London
The Black Book Festival is a celebration and showcase of African-Caribbean writing and global Black writing in general.
Visitors can browse stalls and attend various workshops that are designed to inform and education the writers and publishers about the book industry and how to use books to empower the African-Caribbean community.
To book tickets and find out more, visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/black-book-festival
6 | Deptford Literature Festival
When: 14th March Where: Various locations in Deptford, please see programme.
Deptford Literature Festival features performances, readings, walks, workshops and more, with activities led by local writers and creatives.
Most of the events are free and four of the events are BSL interpreted. There will also be many book stalls!
7 | Killer Women
When: 15th March Where: Brown’s Courtrooms, 82-84 St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4AG.
Killer Women is an author collective of 19 female crime-writers, who work together to create exciting, innovative crime fiction events around the country, for men and women.
Now in its fourth year, London’s only author-led, boutique crime festival opens its doors with a packed programme. If you’re a crime writer, this is the place to be! You can expect book discussions, panel talks and all-important networking. Additionally, there will be world experts in policing, forensics and criminology!
Find out more here: https://killerwomen.org/
8 | Oxford Literary Festival
When: 27th March - 5th April Where: Oxford, various locations
The Oxford Literary Festival is jam-packed with authors and publishing professionals who hold talks and panels about everything under the writing sun. There are so many events, I can’t even begin to list them all, so please visit the link below to find out what’s in store!
Find out about the many events here: https://oxfordliteraryfestival.org/
9 | Bristol Women’s Literature Festival Launch Party
When: 27th March Where: Spike Island, Bristol
To celebrate the launch of Bristol Women’s Literature Festival, this event plays host to poet performances, panel talks and book discussions. As it’s a party, there will also be drinks and a wonderful atmosphere.
Don’t forget to check out the main book-themed event – the festival itself!
10 | The British Library Exhibitions
When: Times vary throughout March, check out the links below. Where: The British Library, London
There are several free exhibitions on at the British Library throughout the month of March. However, if you’re looking for something book-themed, Treasures of the British Library is the one for you.
This exhibition invites you to explore some of the world’s most influential, beautiful or significant books and texts. Read original writing from Charles Dicken and Shakespeare, or see a Hindu religious text written on a palm leaf! From cultural to religious writing, this exhibition has it all.
Alternatively, these events are also on at the British Library this month:
- William Wordsworth Exhibition
- Hebrew Manuscripts: Journey of the Written Word
- Talks on various subjects (listed here)
Check out the events here: https://www.bl.uk/