International Flavour for 2019

photo of Brad Borkan in Shackleton's boat

Brad Borkan in an exact replica of Shackleton’s lifeboard, used in the Discovery Channel documentary recreating his epic rescue journey. “It’s a shockingly small boat,” says Brad.

We plan to give the 2019 Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival an international flavour, so we are delighted to announce that it will be opened by special guest Brad Borkan bringing with him perspectives on life from the furthest part of the globe: the Antarctic. 

Originally from California and now based in London, Brad is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an expert in Decision Science, and co-author of When Your Life Depends On It, a fascinating study of decisions made by Antarctic explorers such as Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen.

NEW FOR 2019: The Fox Lectures

From 11am until 4pm, in the new meeting room at The Fox Inn, there will run a series of free illustrated guest lectures. Timing will be confirmed when the full programme is announced in January 2019, but it will include:

cover of When Your Life Depends On It

“A remarkable book” – Sir Ranulph Fiennes

  • Brad Borkan on Lessons We Can Learn from the Early Antarctic Explorers
  • Lucienne Boyce with on The Suffragettes, including showing of a vintage film called Make More Noise (film licence kindly sponsored by Head Start Studios)
  • David Ebsworth on the Spanish Civil War
  • Orna Ross on How to Live  a More Creative Life


NEW FOR 2019: Parish Artists’ Art Exhibition

Following the success of our first Festival Art Exhibition in the Methodist Schoolroom in 2018, which included artwork by Festival speakers, for 2019 we’d like to open up submissions to members of the parish, as we know there are many talented local artists, and we’d love to showcase their work here. To help us curate the exhibition, a submission form will be available from January 1st. Our exhibition curator, Chris Gooding, formerly of the Royal West of England Academy, will select the pieces for display from photographs of the artwork submitted in advance.



Themed groups of readings will take place all day in the Methodist Chapel.

Panel Discussions

A series of multi-author discussions will run in the Bethesda Chapel.

Children’s Events

The Bookworms Tent will be pitched at the front of The Fox Inn with workshops, storytelling and other fun activities running all day.


Workshops for adults (teens also welcome) will take place in the meeting room of Hawkesbury Primary School on a range of topics including Creative Thinking and Writing for Magazines.

The Wonderland Bookshop Cafe

Our ever-popular Alice in Wonderland themed bookshop cafe will be set up in Hawkesbury Primary School’s hall, serving selling soups, cakes and drinks with a literary twist and books by festival authors.