Exe Lit Fest: Why Is It Such A Big Deal?

You’ve been to one Lit Fest you’ve been to them all, right?


Every literature festival is a celebration of authors, books, thoughts, and ideas. They bring together different groups of writers from different genres, with different backgrounds and viewpoints.

No two festivals are the same. Every festival programme is a singular coming together of brilliant minds from different walks of life — with fascinating stories to tell and unique ways to express them. 

I’m going to share with you some of the ways I’ve benefited from attending literary festivals in the past. But before I do, I just want to explain why I love Exe Lit Fest, and why this particular festival is worth coming to. And please do comment below to let us know your thoughts on this.

So what makes Exe Lit Fest the 'bees knees'?

Exe Lit Fest is organised by a group of literature enthusiasts with many backgrounds and experiences — from writers and mentors, to research fellows and librarians. These lovely volunteers do a splendid job of bringing the festival to life, and support local writers in Exeter and surrounding towns.

It's designed with both writers and readers in mind, and it actively encourages people to connect with their creative selves and others.

Some of our own Exeter Writer members are on the Exe Lit Fest committee, and work closely with other literary bodies to bring you this festival programme. This year it includes special guests: Ann Cleeves, Paul Atterbury, Hazel Prior and Mike Thomson. Don't worry if you don't know who these people are, we will be posting more on who's who over the coming months, so follow us on Twitter to stay tuned.

Without further ado, here are three ways I've benefited from attending literary festivals:

1. I found amazing new authors. At the Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival held online last year, I discovered Helen Macdonald and her book Vesper Flights which captured my imagination with its beautiful cover art.

2. Made friends with other writers. At the Exe Lit Fest three years ago, before I joined Exeter Writers, I attended the Exeter Writers' meet up with my previous writing group and met lots of wonderful writers from groups all around Devon.

3. Through attending writing workshops, I was able to open the flow of blocked creativity through group exercises that helped me get back to writing again after long periods of nothingness.

Get the date in your diary

You've got plenty of time to think about, and plan, your visit to the festival. So save the dates: 5 - 7 November 2021.

Whether you like reading or are an aspiring author yourself, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re more interested in meeting authors and finding new books to read, then you should check out what’s going In The Library

While for those more interested in a career as a writer, browsing the events At The Custom House, is a must.

But why pigeon-hole yourself? If you're like me, and love reading as much as writing, then pick and choose your workshops as you like. It's only a 10-15 minute walk through the town between the venues. 

Let us know which events most interest you in the comments below. See you there!


Jessica Triana de Ford is Exeter Writers Blog Manager, and co-ordinates content as well as edits submissions. She loves being part of a supportive writing group and being in a position to help support other creatives find the courage to express their ideas. You can find out more and connect with Jessica on Instagram @jessicathecopyslayer, LinkedIn and Twitter.