Landscapes, people and stories

Todmorden Book Festival celebrates the written word, with book-related events that stimulate, inspire and challenge audiences.  The programme focuses on the work of new and established writers from across the region and the UK, as well as the work of international authors, with fiction, non-fiction and poetry events for adults and children, reflecting the rich industrial and cultural heritage of the region and exploring individual and collective stories.

Andrew McMillan - Photo by Adrian Pope

A message from our Patron

You will no doubt have heard different ways of describing this time: worrying, unsettling, unprecedented… sometimes things happen in this world which we, as yet, don’t have a language for. It will be for the poets and the novelists and the painters and the dancers to find us that language as we move forward (and we will move forward) in the months and years ahead. All I do know is I’ve been reading more recently, I’ve been yearning to be in rooms with people talking about books and ideas again, and, in lieu of that specific language for this precise moment, I’ve been going back to old poems, old stories, old songs, to show me a way through. Stay safe and well, and we look forward to seeing you in November.

Call for entries

The Festival’s a play and a pint competition is open for entries!

The competition will be held at the third Todmorden Book Festival which takes place 6-14 November 2020. 


Submit your script for a five-minute play (this is usually 800-1000 words, but it varies so please check that your running time is 5 mins or less) on any subject, with a maximum of three actors, to be performed in an informal pub space using no (or very minimal) props. You should bear in mind that the audience will be typical of a normal bar when considering age.


The six finalists will have a rehearsed reading of their plays with feedback from actors and audience, and a small prize for the audience’s favourite. In response to Covid-19, whether restrictions are still in place or not, the performances will be livestreamed so that everyone can join in.


Please submit your script to You should include a separate cover sheet with the play’s title, your name, address, email address, and phone number. It is important that your name does not appear anywhere in the body of the script as all entries will be judged anonymously.


The closing date for entries is 31 July 2020. Winners will be notified by the end of August.

The closing date for submissions has been extended to Friday 7 August.

The Wednesday Writers are an independent group of creative writers and performers who meet in Todmorden.

Drawing by Finn Tweed, age 10
Drawing by Finn Tweed, age 10

COVID-19 Statement

Todmorden Book Festival would like to thank everyone for their continued support of the Festival. This is an uncertain and troubling time for us all. We don’t know how the pandemic will affect us over the coming weeks and months, but we are closely monitoring the situation as it unfolds and will keep you informed of any developments about this year’s Festival.


Last year’s Festival was a resounding success, with fiction, non-fiction and poetry events for adults, young adults, and children, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the region and exploring individual and collective stories. We hope to bring you an exciting programme of events again in November. In the meantime, please keep checking our website and social media for any updates.


We are delighted to report that online library membership has increased by 600% across parts of the UK since the coronavirus lockdown began, and we would urge all our friends and supporters to continue to support their local libraries by accessing digital library resources. You can order books for home delivery from the Festival bookseller’s sister bookshop The Book Corner


In challenging times, we often see the best of humanity and, as a festival deeply rooted in our local community, it is heartening to hear stories of how people in the community are helping one another.


Stay safe everyone and please stay in touch.


The Todmorden Book Festival Team

Do you have an idea for a ‘Covid-19-proof’ event or performance that uses creative writing?

Wednesday Writers and Todmorden Book Festival regret that, due to limited capacity, we have had to cancel our ‘Covid-19 proof’ callout for this year’s Festival. If you have already applied, Wednesday Writers will be in touch with you soon.

Meanwhile, we are still accepting submissions (until 31 July) for the A Play and a Pint callout for play scripts, and we would love to hear from you.