A joint statement from the 9 festivals that were sponsored by Baillie Gifford

Collectively over the past year, our nine book festivals in the UK have issued 464,000 tickets, sold over £1.5m-worth of books, engaged 64,000 school pupils in free activities, offered 99,000 free or subsidised event tickets, and reached audiences in all 121 postcode areas.

We are an essential part of an open society – civic spaces where writers and readers, old and new, come together to be inspired, provoked and entertained, with nuance and depth.

Amidst intense discussion around arts funding and challenges to our continued flourishing, we have joined forces to share a message on our mission and purpose, and a call for increased support:

We improve public discourse.
 Festivals are unique spaces where multiple perspectives are brought to bear on complex issues. We advance empathy, expertise and understanding.

We support writers. We promote writers’ works, sell books, and encourage discoverability, blending new and emerging talent with established stars, expanding the reach of publishing.

We develop new readers. By introducing new audiences to a love of reading for pleasure through our programmes, work in schools and outreach, we improve wellbeing and develop empathy.

We break barriers. In embracing diversity and multiplicity, we are unique multi-generational spaces that promote cohesion and engagement over division and alienation.

We spark positive change. Forging connections on stage and off, festivals are platforms where new ideas are exchanged, partnerships formed, and seeds of future projects planted.

We democratise culture. Across the UK, communities are enhanced by festivals bringing culture to their doorstep, while boosting local economies with visitor spend.

We are growing. Year on year, our platforms grow and evolve. Recent editions for all of our events have shown increased audience engagement, demonstrating a resilient demand.

We need your support. As charities and non-profit organisations, all our festivals operate mixed-funding models that rely on public funding, corporate sponsorship and individual giving. Without this, festivals cannot continue to thrive and engage new audiences.

In supporting our work, you are helping to build a better world. Join us.

Signed by: Borders Book Festival, Registered Charity SC037347; Cambridge Literary Festival, Registered Charity 1153944; Cheltenham Festivals, Registered Charity 251765; Edinburgh International Book Festival, Registered Charity SC010120; Hay Festival Global, Registered Charity 1070073; Henley Literary Festival, Registered Company 07540702; Stratford Literary Festival, Registered Charity 1164662; Wigtown Book Festival, Registered Charity SCO37984; Wimbledon BookFest, Registered Charity 1120297.


If you would like to contact Cambridge Literary Festival to offer you support please contact us here.