When we were one, we had just begun: a handful of people coming to hear nine speakers spread over nine events in the Charleston apple-shed, seating about 30. A quarter of a century on, the impetus behind the Festival remains the same: a perpetuation of the creative, artistic and intellectual ideals of the original inhabitants of Charleston, even though we now hold 30-40 events in a large marquee and host over 100 speakers. We were one of the very first literary festivals. There are now over 300 in the UK. However, the Charleston Festival remains distinctive. We retain a sense of intimacy and the house and its history confer a unique cultural aura.

Some speakers have become inextricably identified with the Festival: Alan Bennett’s Diaries contain several mentions of Charleston and Eileen Atkins premiered many of her performances at the Festival. We are delighted that they can join us to celebrate our 25th Anniversary.

The programme includes many defining voices of the last 25 years: Carol Ann Duffy creates a Charleston Anniversary poem; Ian McEwan reveals a work in progress; David Hare considers the role of drama in society; Richard Dawkins wonders what makes a scientist; Nicholas Hytner extols Shakespeare; Grayson Perry interrogates fashion; Michael Morpurgo believes there should be no glory in war. And much, much more.

Welcome to our 25th Anniversary Festival!


Date1 Date2 Date3 Date4 Date4 Speaker2 Speaker3 Speaker4 Speaker5 Speaker6 Speaker7 Absolutely Joanna Lumley with Colin McKenzie Speaker9 Speaker10 Speaker13 Speaker20 Speaker21 Speaker22 Speaker23 Speaker24 Speaker25 Speaker26 Speaker27