The Hastings Book Festival celebrates writers and lovers of the written word - a welcoming and open place for everyone. Our first festival took place in August 2018, and has now become a regular and welcomed event on the local calendar.

Every book, story and person is unique -  very much like Hastings  - and the festival will give you the time and freedom to pause, think, connect, and be inspired.

We are an escape for the explorers and a catalyst for the curious – welcome to our Festival!

our aims

  • To advance education by promoting and providing affordable opportunities for the appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of literature and the arts.

  • To promote and run a book festival and outreach activities primarily in Hastings and St Leonards.

  • To develop, promote and deliver a programme of activities to encourage local writers to develop their craft.

  • To work within the local community to encourage greater participation in the enjoyment and creation of the written word amongst schools and community organisations within the area.

affordable ticketing policy

We are committed to making all our events inclusive and accessible, which is why our ticket prices remain low and why our events for children and families are free, ensuring that as many people as possible can access the festival. 

We list our tickets with both a full price and a concessions price.

Concessions are for those on a low income and struggling with the cost of living. This is not limited to any individual category, such as students and pensioners, but relates to anyone who would like to visit the festival but cannot afford a full price ticket.

meet the team

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sam davey, founder and director

Sam founded the Festival in 2017, working alongside fellow writer Marcia Woolf, and has been the Festival Director and co-curator ever since. A former Whitehall Civil Servant, Sam is the winner of the 2019 Fiction Factory national short story competition and has published one book with a small press, the darkly comic fantasy thriller Angels of Islington (“unique and totally brilliant” – Breakaway Reviewers. Sam has always had a passion for books and the written word. In her day job, Sam is Group Head of Programme Delivery for Medica plc. If she has any spare time, you can find her at her beach hut.


wayne berkeley-herbert, director

Wayne volunteered at the first festival and has been involved in the Steering Group ever since. In 2019 he stepped up to become one of the festival directors. Wayne’s background is in sales and marketing, and he has used that experience to propel the reach of the festival’s events and competitions. He co-curates the festival with Sam Davey and is also responsible for fundraising and community engagement. He has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Kent and is working on a novel. If he’s not engaged in the above, then you’ll find him on the beach with the two best-looking cockerpoos in East Sussex! Wayne says ‘I believe passionately that everyone should have access to the written word and whether that’s as a writer or reader it’s so important for our wellbeing. Writing and reading are fundamental to our everyday lives and provide the perfect canvas to escape. I want the festival to reach all of our community and I believe there is a part for everyone to play.’