Margate Bookie…


Margate Bookie lit fest

…the friendly literature festival by the sea

The Margate Bookie is a celebration of literature that happens right on the gorgeous Kent coastline. This year it’s running at the beginning of June, and I’ve been chatting to Francesca Baker about what makes it so special.


Margate bookie author

The Margate Bookie is a Registered Charity (1174819) that was set up by Andreas Loizou. We’ve grown from a single afternoon in a disused warehouse to a four day festival, creative writing courses, zines, workshops and book groups.

From a tiny first audience of 80 people, the Margate Bookie has grown to 5,000 visitors a year. We’ve had a four-year old girl draw a zine and a ninety-four year old man read his haikus. We love how books bring people together, teach them new things, turn strangers into friends and fire up our imaginations.

What to expect

Margate Bookie author signing

We exist to spread a love of reading and writing. Our wraparound events create safe spaces for writers. Our community events turn individuals into communities. The high quality names at the literature festivals that we run inspire the audience and our mentoring schemes and courses support their creativity.  

We see ourselves as a friendly and accessible literature festival for everyone, including people who wouldn’t ordinarily think that this type of event is for them. Our identity as ‘the friendly lit fest by the sea’ is really important to us.

Francesca’s involvement

I first got involved in 2018. I’d just moved back to my parents in Kent very sick, and wanted to find a community of people who loved books, just like I’d had in London. I emailed Andreas and he got back to immediately asking if I’d be interested in doing podcasts. Next thing I know I was set up in the Turner in a deckchair with a microphone interviewing well renowned authors and local writers. Since then my role has grown, and I look after marketing and PR, as well as support on programming, and mentor members of our team.

The word community gets overused in charity speak. But Margate Bookie really is. Our audiences speak of the joy they find in discovering new authors and sharing their love of literature with others. Our team rally together to put on brilliant events that really connect with people.

This year’s festival

After a couple of years of doing online events we’re back in 2022 with a four day extravaganza. The Margate Bookie takes place this year over the Jubilee weekend, June 2-5 2022. You can enjoy an impressive range of sessions, workshops and talks from an outstanding array of writers, authors and speakers. The line up includes the famous Bookie Poetry Slam, children’s events, debut novelists and established writers including Maggie Gee, Zoe Gilbert, Rosie Wilby, Jude Cook, Samantha Ellis, award winning authors and journalists Daisy Buchanan and Lauren Bravo, and Costa Book of the Year 2021 winner Monique Roffey.

We’re delighted to return with an exceptional line up of writers, authors and performers. Our team have been outstanding over the last year, we’ve had so much support from local people, and the publishing and arts industry has been working hard to maintain confidence in challenging times. It’s going to be fun!

Tickets are available here

I hope you have a super time if you are able to join us!

Margate Bookie artwork

Thank you to my guest today, Francesca, for sharing the story of the Margate Bookie. This is a guest post and I have not received anything in return, I am simply keen to share the love! For more information about how I work, please take a look at my disclosure page.

N.B. Images have been provided by the organisers of the Margate Bookie. Please do not reproduce without permission.