The Mayfair & St James’s Literary Festival is back this autumn.


Join us and a host of literary luminaries at venues on your doorstep.

Grosvenor will be sponsoring the festival which runs from October 28th to November 3rd.

Mayfair Times will once again be partnering with The Josephine Hart Foundation and its director Shevaun Wilder.

Literary-inspired events across Mayfair and St James’s will build on the success of the inaugural festival last year.

Great actors will be reading great poetry at venues including The London Library and The May Fair Theatre.

Finally, the festival will end with “a star-studded intimate” Evening of Irish Poetry and Song at Corrigan’s Mayfair.

Acting stars

Last year’s festival featured leading actors performing pieces of great literature.

Participants included Brid Brennan, Simon Callow, Adrian Dunbar, Martina Evans, Deborah Findlay and Bob Geldof.

Other famous names included: Merlin Holland, Felicity Kendal, Elizabeth McGovern, Bernard O’Donoghue, Petroc Trelawny and Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander.

New this year is a film season Ink on Screen at the Regent Street Cinema.

It will explore the indelible link between cinema and the written word.

Films based on books, plays, poems or screenplays will be screened. There will then be Q&As with authors, actors and directors.

The season will be produced by acclaimed actress Justine Waddell via Asterisk Films & Projects.


Keith Bailey, Mayfair Director, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, welcomed the festival.

“In its second year, the Mayfair & St James’s Literary Festival is shaping up to be a vibrant and exciting event that celebrates today’s literary community and commemorates the rich cultural heritage of Mayfair and beyond.

“At Grosvenor, we recognise the critical role that culture plays in making our estate in Mayfair more active and open.

“We are proud to support Mayfair Times to deliver a diverse and inclusive programme that will appeal to many.”

Selma Day, Editor of Mayfair Times and founder of the festival, said: “Mayfair and St James’s have been the centre of the literary community for hundreds of years. We we want to play our part in celebrating this.”

Great actors reading great poetry

Shevaun Wilder, artistic director of the festival, said: “Last year we presented celebrated late author and poetry evangelist, Josephine Hart’s wonderfully-curated Poetry Hours on T.S. Eliot, Oscar Wilde and the WW1 poets.

“This year, we will bring you more ‘great actors reading great poetry’ at The London Library and The May Fair Theatre and for a star-studded intimate ‘Evening of Irish Poetry and Song’ at Corrigan’s Mayfair as the festival finale.”

She also emphasised that the festival would celebrate women’s creativity and success in the literary world as authors, publishers and commentators.

Stephen Fry

Actor and local resident Stephen Fry said: “The history of poetry and literature in Mayfair and St James’s is almost as long as the history of English letters itself.

“It is a wonderful thing to keep this alive.”

Dylan Jones, editor of GQ and trustee of the Hay Festival, added: “Mayfair has such a rich cultural heritage that it makes perfect sense for the area to have its own literary festival.

“In fact, I can’t believe it hasn’t had one before.

“I am looking forward to appearing so much, as the area has a strong attachment to me, both personally and professionally.”


Mayfair Times Mayfair & St James’s Literary Festival 2019 runs from October 28th to November 3rd.

To find out more about the festival sponsors Grosvenor, read here.

For more information on The Josephine Hart Poetry Foundation, read here.

To find out more about Shevaun Wilder, artistic director of the festival, read here. 

For the history of Grosvenor House Hotel’s literati connections, read here.

For the history of Grosvenor House Hotel’s connections with Royalty and A-list celebs, read here.

With grateful thanks to our public relations partners Curzon PR.