by Zarina de Ruiter
With the start of April, spring is well and truly underway, announcing a host of exciting literary festivals that make for the perfect mid-week or long weekend getaway to enjoy books, a shimmer of sunshine and to put a spring in your step (see what I did there?!). If you're unable to get the time off work or family life to spend a few days emerged in reading and writing inspiration, then perhaps the book launches or author panels taking place in the evening hours across the UK will be able to satisfy your literary cravings for the month instead. Have a look at the women's fiction outings we've rounded up for you below, and make sure to let us know if you visit any!
5-14 April – If you're in or around Cambridge in April, do pay a visit to the Cambridge Literary Festival which hosts the likes of Tracy Chevalier, Wendy Holden and Linda Grant. Tickets vary in price but are roughly £6-£10 per event.
7 April – Waterstones Walton-on-Thames is hosting the book launch for The Second Love of My Life, the debut novel from Victoria Walters – who also happens to work at the shop. Join them for nibbles and refreshments as Victoria signs copies of her book on what promises to be a very exciting evening.
8 April – Journalist and author Mhairi McFarlane became an instant literary star with her debut novel You Had Me At Hello, which is currently in development as a film with the author herself penning the screenplay. Come and see Mhairi in conversation with Nottingham Evening Post's Simon Wilson, over wine and nibbles as Waterstones Nottingham launch the new title, Who's That Girl?, from a truly magnificent local talent!
14 April – Do you want to attend a book launch this month but Walton-on-Thames is too far out? Then you might be in luck as Laurie Ellingham is hosting a launch for her novel, How to Throw Your Life Away, at The Swan in Stratford St Mary. It's free to attend, just make sure you RSVP.
14 April – Start your day with a burst of creativity! Write and Shine workshops fit around your busy lifestyle. They offer a stimulating environment to write and to meditate on the inspirational power of the morning. The classes are open to everyone, whether you're new to writing, have some experience or just want to inject some creativity into your working day. This session takes place at Waterstones Piccadilly.
19 April – See Lisa Owens (Not Working) and Anna Raverat (Lover) in conversation with their editor Francesca Main at independent bookshop Lutyens and Rubinstein in Notting Hill. Tickets are £5-£10.
19 April – Erica James (The Dandelion Years) will be visiting Norwich to talk about her latest novel, The Song of The Skylark, set in neighbouring Suffolk. There will be a talk, followed by a book signing. Tickets are £4, redeemable against a purchase of The Song of the Skylark, and include a free glass of wine.
20 April – Join Santa Montefiore for an intimate Literati event with afternoon tea! To celebrate the launch of her latest novel, Songs of Love and War, Grosvenor House in London is hosting an intimate Literati event with the opportunity to enjoy afternoon tea with the bestselling author. Tickets are £45, which includes champagne afternoon tea, and a signed copy of the author's book.
21-24 April – Chipping Norton Literary Festival has another cracking line-up this year, from writing workshops on finding your voice and sense of place, to panels with the likes of David Nicholls, C.L. Taylor, Julie Cohen, Rowan Coleman, Fanny Blake, Hannah Beckerman and Amanda Jennings. These are ticketed events, so check out their website for more information on pricing and how to book.
23 April – This month also sees another edition of the fabulous World Book Night. Even if you're not a giver this year, there are a host of events across the country where you can get your bookish fix. The flagship event is being held at the British Library in London and includes an author panel with the likes of Cathy Rentzenbrink, Matt Haig and Holly Bourne. Tickets are £20 and also include access to the Shakespeare in Ten Acts exhibition.
24 April-1 May – With Writers' Bootcamps, Masterclasses galore and appearances from the likes of Mary Portas and Jill Dawson, this year's Stratford Literary Festival is looking to be a real treat for readers and writers alike. Events are ticketed, so make sure you check out their website to make your bookings.
26 April – Tracy Chevalier, author of the bestselling The Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Last Runaway and new novel At the End of the Orchard, will be joined by authors and fellow contributors Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin), Joanna Briscoe (Skin) and Kirsty Gunn (The Big Music) to discuss their work Reader, I Married Him, a short story collection celebrating Charlotte Bronte's life. Tickets to the event, taking place at Foyles Charing Cross Road, are £5 and include a glass of wine.
28 April – Waterstones Liverpool welcomes internationally acclaimed and bestselling author Joanne Harris (Chocolat) as she reads from and discusses her latest novel, Different Class. Tickets are £4/£3.
And that's it for April! Please comment below or tweet me on @zarinatweets if you'd like me to include your bookish event in an upcoming post.