Previous Festivals

Starting as a small team passionate about literature, BLF has grown to become one of the most prestigious literary festivals in the world, and the largest bilingual cultural festival in China.


The Chengdu program in 2015 reflected the truly international nature of the festival, with writers claiming diverse cultural roots, including Korean-American Chang-Rae Lee, French-Algerian Yasmina Khadra, Singaporean American Wena Poon, Chinese Briton Anna Chen, Vietnamese-French-Canadian Kim Thuy and Indonesian Chinese from Hong Kong Xu Xi. This year we introduced a program of Chinese language events and an expanded number of bilingual events, featuring writers such as Sheng Keyi, Yan Ge, Ran Yunfei, Zhi An, Jiang Yitan and Chan Koonchung.


BLF Chengdu 2014 began with three events to mark International Women’s Day, featuring Yan Ge, Janette Jenkins, Leta Hong Fincher, Anjum Hasan and others, which kicked off two packed weeks of book talks, panel discussions and performances.  Audiences enjoyed talks and discussions by literary stars such as David Vann, Musharaff Ali-Farooqi, Bidisha, and Dany Laferrière, and the latest writing on China and Asia from Adam Minter, Benjamin Lawa and Chun Sue, rounding off with a stand-up comedy evening with special guests Dashan and Des Bishop.


BLF 2013 in Chengdu presented featured events with local writers alongside authors from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe and the USA, representing China experts, food writers, new and established literary stars, children’s authors, performance poets and much more besides. Highlights included US novelists Lionel Shriver and Justin Torres, local writers Alai and Yan Ge, food writer Jen Lin Liu, best-selling Australian children’s author Alison Lester, and Derek Sandhaus on how to appreciate baijiu. This year we also introduced the Literary Caravan program to bring international authors to Chinese audiences across the country.


BLF 2012 in Chengdu presented book talks, performances, film screenings, discussions and workshops with writers from more than a dozen countries, representing just about every literary genre possible, including Jonathan Fenby, Andrei Kurkov, Tim Flannery, Carol Birch, Alan Bissett, Paul French, Belinda McKeon and Mai Jia.


We launched BLF 2011 in Chengdu with a sell-out prologue event featuring David Sedaris.  Two weeks of non-stop events featuring writers from around the globe followed: Peter Hessler, Fergal Keane, Omar Musa, Andri Magnason, Jonathon Watts, Jackie Kay, Bill Dodson and more.


In 2010 the festival was bigger still, with over 70 writers from 14 countries, including Amitav Ghosh, David Grossman, Hong Ying, Bi Feiyu, Junot Diaz, Zoe Helller, Asne Sieirstad, Benjamin Zephaniah, Jonathan Fenby and Tash Aw.

Events covered an enormous range of subjects and themes; from book launches, panel discussions, readings and workshops to music events and children’s programming. Our Gala Dinner, held in a private Qing Dynasty courtyard, was a glittering and sought-after event on Beijing’s social calendar.


Bookworm International Literary Festival 2009 continued to represents a celebration of literature in the truest sense.

The audience was able to engage first hand with novelists, historians, poets, translators, screenwriters, journalists, essayists, and thinkers from countries as far-flung as Norway, Israel, Australia and Lebanon, and witnessed live debate between some of the sharpest commentators on contemporary politics and society.

Our authors and guests included Mo Yan, Blake Morrison, Fuchsia Dunlop, Eliot Weinberger, Howard Goldblatt, James Fallows, Marina Lewycka, Mark Cousins, Tilda Swinton, Rabih Alameddine and more.


The festival continued to grow in 2008 with two jam packed weeks of book launches, literary conversations, panel discussions, workshops, book signings and film screenings, featuring Qiu Xiaolong, Yiyun Li, Patrick Gale, Hari Kunzru, John Man, Zhu Wen, James Kynge, Tim Clissold, James McGregor, Catherine Sampson, Nury Vittachi, Anna Funder, Justin Hill, Nicholas Jose, Christopher Kremmer, Christopher Koch, Roy Kesey, Zhang Lijia, Liz Niven, Ouyang Yu, Gail Jones, Rob Gifford, Sheila Melvin, Miles Merril, Edward Ragg, Lily Brett, Paul French, and more.


We began The Bookworm International Literary Festival humbly in Beijing in 2007, expanding on our year-round book event programme.