Get ready for Margate Bookie 2019

Margate Bookie returns

The Margate Bookie returns for its fifth year to celebrate literature across a packed weekend by the sea from Friday, November 22 to Sunday, November 24.

Held at Turner Contemporary and other Margate venues, the festival has its biggest line-up yet, bringing together a range of literary heavyweights and emerging local talent led by founder and director Andreas Loizou.

There will be exciting writing masterclasses, poetry slam nights, life drawing models, graphic novels, short film screenings, and visual and experimental storytelling.

Bestselling novelist Lisa Jewell, author of The Family Upstairs, is joined by Amanda Jennings and Tammy Cohen as she speaks about her impressive catalogue and how to bounce back from setbacks; crime writer Mark Billingham reads from his latest novel Their Little Secrets and British historian Alison Weir is talking about her new book Anna of Kleve: Queen of Secrets. 

BBC Radio Four’s first ‘Writer in Residence’ Sebastian Baczkiewicz reflects on his life as a film, radio and theatre writer and discusses his radio drama Pilgrim. Five eclectic local writers, Dan Dalton, Dale Shaw, Maggie Harris, Marianne Dissard and Chloe Timms, share stories from their recent works. 

Mark Billingham credit Steve Best

Short readings will come from six established authors – Nicci Cloke, Jeff Hilson, Lesley Kara, Renee Knight, SJ Watson and Helen Young. Graphic novelist Meirion Jones deepens our understanding of other people’s thought processes and beliefs through visual storytelling. Members of Walking with The Wasteland and artist Elspeth Penfold tackle experimental storytelling based on the work of T.S Elliot. 

Kent’s biggest night of poetry returns with a selection of brilliant poets battling it out to be crowned the Bookie Champ including headliner Inua Ellams. Writers Travis Elborough and Mel McGrath delve into the narrative of place by exploring the quirks and trappings of identity.

Marianne Dissard Photo by Cynthia Karalla

With a selection of immersive panels for budding writers, publisher Scott Pack teaches a masterclass on how to pitch a book to agents and publishers. Award-winning Faber author Elise Valmorbida and positive psychologist Vanessa King apply the science of happiness to creative writing and divulge how mindfulness can enhance storytelling. 

Creative writing teacher and Vanguard founder Richard Skinner leads an interactive workshop identifying the best ways to write a novel. Lucy Claire and Elspeth Penfold curate an exhibition showcasing original writing, poetry and writer reflections.

Theatre practitioner Annie Sutton and author of Theatre of Practice demonstrates how to make your body the focus of expression. Theatre group Alarms & Excursions tell the stories of Margate’s disposed and disadvantaged in native tongues, music and movement. Postcards From the Past author Tom Jackson chats to Seaside Photographed curator Karen Shepherdson and Scott Pack on their postcard picks in a live podcast recording. Two short films including Elspeth Penfold’s Walking with Shrines and Owen Lowery’s Transitions are being shown in a free screening.

Multi-instrumentalist and author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Louis de Bernières returns to Margate to play his self-penned songs, and novelist PJ Whiteley discusses his new romantic comedy A Love of Two Halves while musician Nigel Girling performs songs featured in the book.

Artist, weaver and walker Elspeth Penfold leads a workshop on meditative knotting while listening to stories. Aimee Louise Lewis and Connor Sansby embark on a whisky tasting session, intertwining drinking drams with the stories behind them. SelfMadeHero and Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School team up for a unique life drawing experience with a combination of burlesque, ballet and banana dancing.

Margate Bookie has held a literary festival every year since 2015 and has reached more than 10,000 people through readings, workshops and retreats. Festival director Andreas Loizou grew up in Margate and founded the Bookie to share his passion for reading and writing.  

General Ticket – £4-£6

Inspiration Special – £10: Includes: Bookie Slam, Vanguard Readings and Happiness, Creativity and Writing

Saturday Ticket – £20: Includes: A Sense of Place, Vanguard Readings, Postcards from the Past Podcast, A Love of Two Halves and Louis de Bernieres

Sunday Ticket – £24: Includes: Alison Weir, Elise Valmorbida and Vanessa King, Mark Billingham, Self Made Hero and One for the Road

Find more details at