Kendal Mountain Book Festival

Our Book Festival is an interwoven and much loved part of the award-winning Kendal Mountain Festival, which takes place in Kendal each November.

At its heart, Kendal Mountain Book Festival celebrates and explores our relationships with nature, landscape, people and place sharing ideas, stories, and voices from around the world. Through literature and the arts the Festival provides an opportunity to pause and explore the living world around us.

Our Book Festival Director, Paul Scully says:“Our Festival is a place where we can reflect on our relationships with nature, landscape, society and to each other. A space where people are challenged to be receptive to different ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. We hope you are able to join us, no matter who you are, in this wonderful community of ideas, words and wanderings.

With over 35 events of discussions, talks and performances we hope to immerse our audiences in adventure, overflowing with uplifting optimism and full wonder for the world.

Let us also take this opportunity to thank our patron, Robert Macfarlane for his unwavering support.


‘“Joy” is the theme of this year’s Kendal Mountain Festival. This little, common word carries so much power. It comes to English from the Latin “gaudere”, meaning “to rejoice”. To rejoice is to re-juice, to be refreshed and inspired, to fill the battery back up, to have your eyes widened by wonder once again. Joy is also born of companionship and community –– and here at Kendal, where stories are told by many voices and to many ears, community is at the festival’s heart. Joy can also be the fuel of change. “Joy is my resistance”, says community leader Cherelle in the film We Are Nature, which won last year’s Rab Grant Award, “there is a fight happening out there, and we can’t fight it if we’re not recuperating and resting and just having joy.” Amen to that. Hope can be hard to find in the world right now, so may your experience here in Kendal be joyful, immersing you in worlds, lives and perspectives, and in stories, films and songs which will leave you awestruck, enthused and energised. Welcome to the Kendal Mountain Book Festival—and rejoice!’

What a brilliant festival! I went to so many brilliant book talks. The one event that stands out is the Music On Nature with Rob Macfarlane. It was a very special evening and I have never heard anything like it before. Please can we have more next year!Matthew Scott

I just wanted to say what a blinder of an event the Festival was this year. Great diverse and imaginative content. Truly something for everyone.

Dina Mufti

You could’ve heard a pin drop. George Monbiot imploring that humanity change track. Impeccably steered by Lee Schofield. What a book talk at the Festival. 

Sophie Pavelle.

Thank you for inviting us. Thank you to Kendal and the people of the festival for etching a memory into the deepest part of me. It will never fade for it is signed with pigment ink, the pigment of a collective honesty.

Manni Coe

Festival Bookshop

Brewery Arts Centre

Looking for your next read? We’ve got all your bookish needs covered at our Festival bookshop. We will stock all the books from our current programme. Come in for a browse, be inspired and take away a cracking read. Perfect place for buying your Christmas presents.There will be author book signings all weekend.


We are honoured to host two very prestigious literature awards at Kendal...

Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature 2024

Every year we have the honour of hosting this prestigious award at Kendal.

Established in 1983 to commemorate the lives of Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker, the Boardman Tasker Charitable Trust celebrates their legacy by awarding the annual Award for Mountain Literature and the Lifetime Achievement Award.



We are proud to be working alongside the The Nature Chronicles Prize, a brand new nature writing award, a global biennial competition.

Created in memory of Prudence Scott, a lifelong nature diarist who died in 2019, the award aims to find engaging and unique essay length works which share a commitment to truth telling and respond to the time we are in and the world as it is.

We'll be hosting the award-ceremony in November 2024 when one writer will win £10,000! And a further 5 shortlisted writers will receive £1000.

© Kendal Mountain Festival 2023