2024 Bradford Literature Festival wraps up 10th year celebrations

The 10th annual Bradford Literature Festival drew to close at the weekend following an eclectic and diverse 10 days of events, celebrating sold out shows, an ethical ticketing policy resulting in record footfall, and a commitment to inclusive programming. 

The festival showcased global voices and perspectives, as well as discussions and debates for all audiences.

Peter Sanders during his session at the festival

Commenting on the 10-year anniversary festival, Founder, CEO and Artistic Director Syima Aslam said: “This year has been an incredible milestone for BLF. 

“I am incredibly proud of the festival’s growth into one of the top literature festivals in the UK and a truly international destination for both artists and audiences.” 

The festival attracted children and their families

She added: “The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, affirming our mission to create a space for complex and critical conversations, whilst welcoming all into the world of words. The record ticket sales reflect this, as does the amazing response from a wide array of audiences, reflecting the rich tapestry of voices and perspectives we’ve brought together, celebrating our commitment to diverse and inclusive programming. I am really proud that the festival has evolved into a significant global cultural event and look forward to the next 10 years of innovation.”

Palestinian Ambassador Husam Zomlot In Conversation at BLF

Bradford West MP Naz Shah said of the festival: “Bradford Literature Festival has been amazing. I saw as much as I could whilst I was fighting for my general election, but two days after and I’m back here. It’s been absolutely amazing. 

“The Doha Debates’ event was phenomenal, and well done to the festival for celebrating its 10th year. Seeing the festival on all the train stations across the country – King’s Cross, Birmingham New Street, Liverpool, London Waterloo – just seeing Bradford’s name in lights is such an achievement, and I’m so proud of what they’ve achieved here.”

Miriam Margolyes In Conversation at BLF

Following sold-out events over the first weekend, including Lemn Sissay, Miriam Margolyes and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Bradford Literature Festival continued its eclectic and diverse programming over the final week and weekend with highlight talks from the Palestinian Ambassador Husam Zomlot, two-time Grammy winner Corinne Bailey Rae, comedians Shaparak Khorsandi and Ruby Wax, historian Mary Beard, and vicar and journalist Kate Bottley.

The Doha Debates Town Hall proved to be a success. 

Doha Debates brought their town hall debate format to the festival, with an international panel of journalists, broadcasters, authors and students. 

Doha Debates Town Hall event at BLF

Chaired by journalist and broadcaster Remona Aly, the panel included Pakistani writer and journalist Fatima Bhutto, American journalist and blogger Steve Clemons, and author and comedian Konstantin Kisin.

In a TV news-style set, the panellists and guests looked for consensus across a range of topics, including the West’s media coverage of international conflict, definitions of free speech, the future of social media and its impact on journalistic practices, and the media’s influence on creating political divides and partisanship.

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