The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

Our proud association with the UK’s oldest literary festival continues with the return of The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival. Running from Friday 5 through to Sunday 14 October 2018, the grand heart of Regency Cheltenham once again plays host to some 1000 of the world’s top writers, performers and thinkers over ten days of extraordinary literary celebration.

Priority Booking

We’re delighted to offer Waterstones customers the chance to book tickets before they are released for general sale.

Simply head over to the Cheltenham Literature Festival website, log in and enter the Promotion Code:



Full Terms and Conditions apply.

The Perfect End to a Perfect Summer

Under the umbrella theme of East Meets West, the Festival will present a unique programme, inspired by the culture and history of the Far East.

Six guest curators (novelist Sebastian Faulks; V&A Director Tristram Hunt; columnist and activist Scarlett Curtis; historian Peter Frankopan; curator, translator and writer David Karashima; and Junko Takekawa, of The Japan Foundation) have each brought a raft of knowledge and experience to curate events, exclusively for the Festival.

At the family-friendly Festival Village there will be a host of free activities, and we invite you to join us at our two pop-ups shops where you can browse and purchase your books, ready for each signing.

The bar and lounge area at Cheltenham Literature Festival

The bar and lounge area at Cheltenham Literature Festival

The bar and lounge area at Cheltenham Literature Festival

This year's line up

This year, the Festival is bigger and better than ever, with some 1000 of the world’s finest writers, performers, politicians, poets and leading opinion-formers, taking part in 550 events set in the heart of Regency Cheltenham. Highlights include:

Sarah Perry

Saturday 6 October - 4:00pm - 5:00pm

The Inkpot

The virtuoso gothic epic The Essex Serpent firmly pushed Sarah Perry to the front rank of British novelists; Sarah discusses the electrifying Melmoth, her new novel set to continue the acclaim.

Kamal Ahmed

Saturday 6 October - 8.00pm - 9.00pm

The Sunday Times Garden Theatre

The BBC economics editor Kamal Ahmed charts out the background to The Life and Times of a Very British Man, his electrifying polemic toward a new kind of conversation about race in the United Kingdom.

Philip Pullman

Saturday 13 October - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

The Times Forum

Philip Pullman transformed young people’s literature with His Dark Materials, the series he triumphantly returned to in 2017 with La Belle Sauvage. A rare opportunity to hear a master of the craft.

Other guests include...

David Attenborough, Yomi Adegoke, Anthony Beevor, David Mitchell, Caitlin Moran, Eric Idle, Ian Rankin, Jacqueline Wilson, Kate Atkinson, David Peace, Sarah Perry, Jennifer Saunders, Yotam Ottolenghi, Gail Honeyman, Adam Kay, Mary Beard, Mark Kermode, Pat Barker, Frederick Forsyth, Bernard Cornwell, Sarah Moss, Gary Barlow, Jojo Moyes, Antonia Fraser, Sally Rooney and Michael Morpurgo.

Waterstones have been committed to the Cheltenham Literary Festival since 2006, firmly recognising its status in the very top flight of literary festivals across Britain.

Terms and Conditions

  • This priority booking is exclusive to Waterstones Customers
  • Tickets go on sale to general public on Wednesday 5 September
  • All tickets are subject to availability (David Attenborough Tickets are sold out)
  • The code is valid for online booking only
  • Customers are limited to two tickets per event
  • Tickets purchased are non-exchangable and non-refundable so please check your order carefully before confirming
  • There is a booking fee of £2 per order
  • For full terms and conditions see here.