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!)’

Charlie Higson

Olia Hercules

Katy Brand

Emily Maitlis

Polly Russell

Max Porter

Patrick Gale

Martin Parr

Ben Okri

Viv Groskop

Robert Elms

Decca Aitkenhead

Jon Savage

Sir Tim Smit

Kate Williams

David Hepworth

Matthew de Abaitua

Matthew De Abaitua

Richard Larn OBE

Peter Golding



Gina Rippon

John Lanchester

Rosie Wilby: The Break-up Monologues

Jon Gray & Jamie Keenan

Tristan Donovan

Kurt Jackson

John Mitchinson