The Bowling Green

The heart of the festival and the place where it all started, the Bowling Green is the main stage for our biggest literary events, debates, conversations and on-stage interviews. It’s where Kate Winslet read her favourite children’s book to a rammed crowd of kids (and a notable number of fathers). It’s where Alain de Botton conducted his famous Agony Hour, solving the audience’s shouted-out problems live on stage. It’s where Hari Kunzru DJ’d writers’ favourite records at one of our earliest festivals. And it’s where our legendary yearly Literary Pub Quiz takes place.

It’s also a perfect meeting spot, at the crossroads between the Walled Garden, the Estuary, the Maze and the House. And it’s the site of many unique happenings, including  writer Geoff Dyer juggling fire, chefs Angela Hartnett and Peter Gordon showing off their culinary chops and Shami Chakrabarti taking to the stage to the sound of the Beastie Boys’ ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)’

Emily Maitlis

Katy Brand

Martin Parr

Patrick Gale

Viv Groskop

Robert Elms

Decca Aitkenhead

Sir Tim Smit

Max Porter

Jon Savage

Peter Golding

Gina Rippon

John Lanchester

Jon Gray & Jamie Keenan

Tristan Donovan

Amy Raphael

Kurt Jackson

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