Cold and dreary January is the perfect month to make travel plans for the year ahead. And what better reason to embark on a new adventure than a beautiful book festival you’ve been dying to visit? With venues ranging from Indian palaces and ocean fronts lined with palm trees to eclectic English market towns, here’s our pick of the 25 best annual book festivals around the world.
1. Jaipur Literary Festival, India, January
While thinking of this dusty, provincial city usually brings images of spectacular pink palaces – still guarded by turban-wearing watches – to mind, Jaipur is actually making a big name for itself in the book world. Every January, the literary community gathers for the annual Jaipur Literary Festival, which is said to be the largest free book event in the world. From Nobel laureates to local language writers, Man Booker prize winners to debut novelists, the festival offers five days of readings, debates and discussions at the beautiful Diggi Palace in the Rajasthani capital. If we could go to one literary event in 2014, this would probably be it.
2. Hay Festival Cartagena, Colombia, January
Slightly more exotic than its Welsh counterpart, the Hay Festival Cartagena has become one of the most important literary events in the Hispanic world. Every year, a celebration of literature, visual arts, cinema, music, geopolitics, journalism and the environment takes over Colombia’s colourful walled city for four very lively days.