Submissions are now open: July 1–4, 2020

The friendliest LitFest in the west!

Here in the far west thoughts are already turning to balmy days of summer and the 11th Penzance Literary Festival.

In September 2020, Penzance hosts the Grand Depart of the Tour of Britain. Thousands will flock to the town to see the professionals ride out from the newly revitalised promenade. As excitement is already building for this event, we’ve chosen Breakaway as the theme for the 2020 LitFest, and we’re delighted to announce that the submissions process is now open!

Breakaway riders are a core part of every cycle stage race. Maybe you’ve actually written a cycling-related memoir. Or a story of chasing down a relationship – or perhaps getting away from one; a commentary on recent political events; or a novel based on Tracey Ullman’s 1983 hit of the same title … Whatever it is, we love creativity at the LitFest and can’t wait to see your interpretation.

Every year we receive an extraordinary variety of submissions. For 2020 we are once again looking for ideas for talks, interviews, panels, open mic sessions … including some more unconventional subjects. To get an idea of our range, take a look at the 2019 events.

Within the loose framework of our Breakaway theme we would like to receive submissions on subjects that will appeal to readers of all genres.

As well as individual sessions, we also welcome submissions for two individual strands in the programme.

  • Writing workshops. Over the past few years we have developed a thriving workshop strand. Slots are generally 90 minutes or 3 hours. We will also consider proposals for specialist full day workshops – although please note that to be considered for one of these you need to be offering something that will really catch our attention and justify the considerable time and financial commitment for us and for the participants.
  • Publishing Day. This has become a highly successful part of the LitFest, offering the perspectives of authors, agents, editors and publishers from all parts of the publishing spectrum. We are always open to ideas and proposals that will enable us to develop this strand and build its appeal still further.

Looking through the submissions is an exciting time for us all but there are two things it’s worth pointing out. Our audience does enjoy a West Country association; this may be the subject matter, the speaker or, ideally, both. Secondly, we have a limited number of slots available; we hate having to say no to people but, since it’s inevitable, please do give us your best shot when you submit.

We look forward to being amazed and excited by your submissions.

The Penzance LitFest Team

Fees and expenses

There has been a lot of press coverage relating to payment of authors. Penzance LitFest is a small community festival, which receives minimal grant or sponsorship funding and serves a very deprived area. For these reasons, we keep ticket prices as low as possible to allow access to all. None of the organisers is paid, though many of us are publishing professionals.

This means we are not able to offer a fee to our speakers. However, we make a contribution towards travelling expenses. We do offer a small fee for leading workshops, which 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 work hard to promote our contributors and their books, and we do our best to ensure that contributors are supported and welcomed and generally have a good time. How can you not, down here on Poldark country and within sight of the wonderful Mount’s Bay?

To be clear:

  • We do not offer either a fee or travelling expenses to anyone living in Cornwall
  • We do not offer a fee but can offer travelling expenses of up to £75 for anyone living between the River Tamar and Bristol
  • We do not offer a fee but can offer travelling expenses of up to £125 for anyone living further afield than Bristol
  • If you need accommodation, we can usually arrange this free of charge with one our festival supporters. However, you do need to let us know whether this will be required as soon as your submission is accepted

Submission guidelines

We are looking for:

  1. A short pitch – 250 words max – for the session you are proposing
  2. A brief summary of your session and what it will cover
  3. A brief biography
  4. Three reasons (funny, serious or other!) why you would like to be part of the 2020 Litfest
  5. Your book title, if appropriate
  6. Your location, for budgeting expenses (our choice of speakers are not based around this!)

If you have a book that you would like us to take a look at, please send it to Penzance Literary Festival, c/o Castle View, North Street, Marazion TR17 0EA.

All submissions should arrive no later than January 17th.

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, most likely by mid-February.

Submissions will only be accepted using the form on this page – if you experience any difficulties with the form, please email for help.

Thank you!!

Enter your submission here…