Cardiff Book Festival returns for second year on 22 – 24 September.


Friday 22 September

GQ editor Dylan Jones headlines the Friday night in conversation with NME editor Mike Williams about his upcoming book David Bowie-A Life, an engrossing, magisterial biography drawn from Jones’ interviews with the enigmatic star and over 180 interviews with friends, rivals, lovers and collaborators.

Gregory’s Girl star and now crime novelist John Gordon Sinclair opens the evening discussing his new novel, Walk in Silence, a taut, dark page-turner that sees lawyer, Keira Lynch, enter the brutal world of the Albanian mafia in her search for a kidnapped child.

Cardiff-born literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes from Curtis Brown will be hosting a Pitch in the Pub session in the Angel Hotel’s pub The Castle Arms, where aspiring writers can pitch their future bestsellers over Twitter and in person.


Saturday 23 September

Ever wondered how Lady Macbeth’s torment or Cinderella’s sunny disposition were influenced by their DNA? Either way, join Green Man Festival as their Library of Imagined Genes, a biobank containing genetic samples of fictional characters, takes over Cardiff Central Library for the day.

Saturday morning sees local historian Neil M. Sinclair share tales from Tiger Bay, with one of the founding fathers of the British games industry, Ian Livingstone taking to the stage in the afternoon.  Livingstone launched Games Workshop, Tomb Raider and the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks which have sold almost 20 million copies worldwide, and will reflect on his career as his new book The Port of Peril marks the 35th anniversary of the series.

Cardiff’s own Sunday Times bestseller Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coat and The Doll Funeral follows Livingstone,  before Marcel Theroux discusses his latest novel, The Secret Books, an epic adventure through a world of spies, propaganda and revolution in a mystery about the lost years of Jesus Christ.

Adam Kay, a junior doctor turned sold-out Edinburgh Fringe comedian, Radio 4 The Now Show regular, and writer for shows including Mrs Brown’s Boys, will share stories from his new book. This Is Going To Hurt is a first-hand account of life as a junior doctor in all its joy, pain and sacrifice and a love letter to those who might be holding our lives in their hands.

Adam will be joined by Dr Dean Burnett, a doctor of neuroscience at Cardiff University who moonlights as a comedy writer and stand-up comedian.  Whoopi Goldberg’s production company has bought the rights to his book The Idiot Brian, which celebrates the imperfections of the human brain in all their glory, and the impact of these quirks on our daily lives.


Sunday 24 September

In Visit Wales’ Year of Legends, Horatio Clare re-tells ancient tales from the Brecon Beacons and his new Myths and Legends book, including Arthur and his Slumbering Knights, the White Lady of Tretower Court and the gory tale of Black Vaughan.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James Ball will tackle the fake news post-truth world covered in his book How Bullshit Conquered the World, while a special event will remember First Minister Rhodri Morgan as his memoir is released to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the vote that created the National Assembly for Wales.

The co-creator of the hit TV show Hinterland/Y Gwyll,  Ed Thomas, and the photographer David Wilson will be in conversation on how the west Wales landscape inspired the noir detective drama which has taken images of Ceredigion to televisions in over 100 countries throughout the world, as documented in the book Hinterland: Ceredigion Landscapes.

The rest of the programme includes:

  • Writing workshops with Kate Hamer and author of The Unforgotten Laura Powell
  • Happily Ever After? with Cardiff’s Laura Kemp and Jo Carnegie, looking at whether rom com books are needed more than ever in these troubling times
  • Lucy Owen and family reading in English and Welsh from her children’s book Boo-a-Bog in the Park
  • The Clydach Murders- John Morris asks whether an innocent man was wrongfully convicted of the 1999 murders of the Power family, sharing captivating evidence to illustrate his powerful case
  • Merthyr: the crucible of modern Wales? sponsored by Modern Wales, Parthian with Dai Smith, Joe England and Huw Lewis interrogating Merthyr’s role in the 19th century development of Wales and a moving memoir of growing up in Aberfan in the 1960s and 70s
  • The Arthurian Place Names of Wales with Scott Lloyd examining the sites around Wales associated with the legendary King Arthur
  • Dark Land, Dark Skies with Martin Griffiths exploring The Mabinogion in the night sky
  • New Poetic Voices Showcase with Rhiannon Hooson, Rhian Edwards, Emily Blewitt, Sophie McKeand, Susie Wild, Natalie Ann Holbrow and Rhys Milsom
  • Migration, Love and Loss including stories written in response to the refugee crisis with Maggie Harris
  • Gaslight with Eloise Williams, a gothic mystery for children and young adults set in Cardiff
  • Scientists of Wales/Gwyddonwyr Cymru, a bilingual event exploring some of Welsh science’s greatest discoveries
  • Lost Lines of Wales, a nostalgic steam-powered journey with Tom Ferris as he explores the history, heritage and social background of the railway and its passengers brought to life
  • Why Wales Never Was/Pam Na Fu Cymru, a bilingual event where Simon Brooks undertakes a devastating analysis of the historical failure of Welsh nationalism with an apocalyptic vision of a non-Welsh future

Tickets: Weekend wristbands which get you into every event* are available at the early bird price of £25 until 14 July and £30 until 18 August with tickets for individual events starting at £5 for adults and £3 concessions from

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*first come first served if events are oversubscribed. Not including writing workshops.