Bridport is a busy and lively market town in West Dorset some 1.5 miles from the English Channel near the confluence of the River Brit and its tributary the Asker. Its origins are Saxon and it has a long history as the centre of rope-making. On the coast, and within the town’s boundary, is West Bay a small fishing harbour once known as Bridport Harbour. Bridport is twinned with Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, France. During the reign of King Alfred, the town became one of the four most important settlements in Dorset with the construction of fortifications and establishment of a Mint. In 1253 it was awarded its first charter by Henry III and two members were subsequently sent to Parliament. In the 14th and 15th centuries Bridport, like other Dorset coastal towns, suffered heavy losses due to the Black Death and attack from raiding French and Spanish forces. Since the Middle Ages, the town has long been associated with the production of rope and nets for ships both large and small but the industry went into decline late in the 20th century.

With the new Millennium Bridport has flourished into a bustling and vibrantly energetic community with Street Markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays and a Vintage Quarter selling almost everything on a daily basis.   The town has become a very popular destination for those who wish to explore the Jurassic Coastline – now a World Heritage Site – and attracts artists and writers who have found inspiration from the landscape and coastline since they settled here. Visitors flock from much further afield to enjoy the many annual festivals that take place in and around the town including the unique Hat Festival and the Bridport Literary Festival now in its 18th year.

Bridport Literary Festival

The Festival was spawned in 2005 from the internationally renowned Bridport Prize, founded in 1973, to raise funds for the fledgling Bridport Arts Centre, a role which it still fulfils to this day. With a reputation for excellence, the Prize attracts entries from across the globe to its four competitive strands in poetry, short stories, flash fiction and for first novel. The Bridport Literary Festival, now an independent charity, has equally grown in reputation and stature and we welcome writers and audiences from all over the country to enjoy an eclectic programme of events which attracts those of all tastes and interests. The dark days of November encourage everyone to listen, read and enjoy books, and the town of Bridport and its closeness to the Jurassic coastline at West Bay bustles with energy throughout the year. Its twice weekly street market and vintage area, together with its feast of eateries and places to stay provide a perfect backcloth to any festival. Bridport is a town with so much to explore and enjoy.

President: Lord Fellowes of West Stafford

Festival Patron: Sir Michael Holroyd CBE

Deirdre Coates – Chairman,
Philip Sturrock, Kate Hobbs, Richard King,
Venetia Ross Skinner, Sarah Wild

Patron of the Friends
of the Festival:
Kate Adie CBE

Festival Director: Tanya Bruce-Lockhart

The Team:
James Crowden,  Tanya Harley,  Margery Hookings, Tom Hughes, Joanna Jacobson, Rose Joly, Adrian Munden, Graham Shackleton, Annette Smallwood

Tickets: 01308 424901 |

Charity No: 1147075