Submissions are now open: July 6-9, 2016

‘The friendliest of Litfests’ in 2014; ‘friendlier than ever’ in 2015, according to contributor Edward Wilson

Contributors this year include Rachel Joyce and Julie Myerson – but Penzance isn’t all about celebrity, it’s about variety and range, about creativity and the sheer joy of words. Long words, short words, the words we read and the words we write…


Do you have something to offer?

This year’s theme is ‘Going Underground’ but please be as creative as you like and interpret it widely. West Penwith has a history as a mining community and that is what inspired us, but what goes underground is so much more: music, espionage, counter culture, earthworms, moles and hobbits…. you name it. We look forward to being amazed by your submissions.

Last year we received an amazing variety of submissions and this year we are once again looking for ideas for interviews, panels, writing workshops, quizzes, open mic sessions…and then there’s our cabinet of curiosities which includes some more unconventional subjects. Last year, for example, we had a talk about Life on the Gender Spectrum, a first for Penzance Litfest.

What we would like from you:

Within the loose framework of our theme (Going Underground) we are looking for subjects that will appeal to adults and to readers of all genres.

Your submission must include:

  • A short pitch for the session you are proposing – 250 words maximum
  • Your book title, if appropriate. If you have a book that you would like us to look at, please send it to Penzance Literary Festival, c/o Quiddles, Pendeen, Penzance TR19 7DN
  • A very brief summary of what your talk will be about
  • A brief biography, including any previous speaking sessions or experience (it’s not essential!)

We also run a thriving creative writing strand and welcome submissions for this also. Unfortunately, we regret that there will be no LittleFest (children’s festival), in 2016 – perhaps it will return next year.

Looking through the submissions is an exciting time for us but there are two things that are worth pointing out: our audience does enjoy a West Country association; this may be the subject matter, the speaker or, ideally, both. Secondly, we will be running a tighter festival this year with fewer slots; we hate having to say no to people but, since it’s inevitable, please do give us your best shot when you submit.

All submissions should arrive no later than February 19th. As I’m sure you understand, we are all volunteers with busy lives but we will do our best to let you know whether or not you have been successful as soon as possible, so please be a little patient with us.

Now for the troublesome part: money.

There is currently a lot of press coverage relating to payment of authors. Penzance Litfest is a small community festival which receives minimal grant funding and even less in the way of advertising money. As a result, we are not able to offer a fee to our speakers although we can manage a small contribution towards travelling expenses and do have a small fund for workshops as these are often run by people who don’t have a book to promote.

This does not mean we disrespect our authors, far from it, many of us are writers ourselves and understand the problems. By way of recompense, we do our best to ensure that our guests are supported and welcomed and generally have a good time. How can you not, down here in Poldark country and within sight of wonderful Mounts Bay?

How to send your submission

Submissions should be emailed to with PZLITFEST 2016 SUBMISSIONS as the subject line or mailed to Penzance Literary Festival, c/o Quiddles, Pendeen, Penzance TR19 7DN. All submissions should arrive no later than February 19th.

We very much look forward to hearing from you.