Major plot twist for Stratford Literary Festival - The Leamington Observer

Major plot twist for Stratford Literary Festival

Leamington Editorial 3rd May, 2024   0

STRATFORD Literary Festival saw a major plot twist at the 11th hour that almost led to its cancellation.

Less than two days before some of the country’s best-known authors and personalities were set to descend on the town for the major five day literary event, a fire broke out at the host venue – the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Dramatic scenes worthy of any best-seller saw all the guests evacuated and eight fire crews attend the blaze which broke out at the Bridgefoot hotel just before midnight on Monday (April 29).

And while the fire was put out safely and there were no casualties, the hotel was unusable for the festival which was due to begin on Wednesday (May 1).




Organisers were determined to press ahead however, and in a happy ending, the Stratford community rallied together to provide a host of other venues for the visiting guests to deliver their talks to over 1,000 ticket buying festival-goers.

Stratford Playhouse, the Welcombe Hotel, the RSC, Holy Trinity Church and others all offered to take over hosting duties. and relieved organisers took to social media to let attendees know the event was still going ahead.


A statement read: “As you may have heard, there was a fire last night at the Crowne Plaza hotel. No one was hurt thankfully, but the venue is not useable.

“We have been working hard today to resolve this situation and all the events have now been relocated.

“We are determined the festival will go ahead as normally as possible. Thank you for your understanding.”

Stratford Literary Festival is now recognised as one of the UK’s leading literary festivals and this year saw over 70 events featuring famous names such as classicist Mary Beard, queen of crime fiction Val McDermid, bestselling author David Nicholls, and children’s favourite Michael Rosen.

Patrick Grant, a judge on the popular Great British Sewing Bee television show. comedian Alistair McGowan, bestselling author John Boyne, and Costa Prize winner AL Kennedy were also part of the stellar line-up.

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