About Us


Founded in 2016 by author Jamila Gavin, Stroud Book Festival has grown from a small local event to a full, five-day Festival, which in 2019 welcomed 4,500 people to more than 40 events. In 2020, in response to COVID, we raised £10,000 through community  fundraising to make all our events free and online. In 2021 we have been shortlisted for SoGlos event of the Year. 

Staged annually each November by a team of local authors and experienced publishing and cultural professionals, the Festival aims to present a creative programme of high-quality, entertaining and thought-provoking events to engage audiences in our vibrant local community and beyond. 

In the course of our first five Festivals we have played host to many famous names – Lemn Sissay, Julia Donaldson, Bernardine Evaristo, Ian McEwan, Mary Portas, Kamal Ahmed, Rachel Joyce, Cath Kidston, Joanna Trollope and Prue Leith to name but a few. Stroud Book Festival also supports and promotes writers, poets, illustrators, publishers and booksellers local to Stroud and the surrounding areas. We are always keen to work hand in hand with the wider creative community and make the Festival accessible to as broad an audience as possible.

Stroud Book Festival is committed to inspiring children and young people to tell their stories and become lifelong readers. We work with local primary and secondary schools, along with other community organisations including Stroud Library, to create fun and creative ways to inspire our youngest Festival goers. In 2019, more than 700 children joined us at the Stroud Subscription Rooms for our Schools’ Day for local primary schools, with visiting authors including Joseph Coehlo, Atinuke, Onjali Q Raúf and Christopher Edge. 

Stroud Book Festival strives as far as possible to present an annual programme that is inclusive and representative; whether that be of age, ethnic origin, those with additional needs, religious and political belief, sexual orientation and gender identity.

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Meet the team


Caroline Sanderson

Co-Director / Artistic

Caroline has spent her entire working life in and around books; as a bookseller, as a publicist for a major UK publishing house, and for the past 20 years as a freelance editor and books journalist. She has also written five (nearly six!) books of her own. Beginning with the 2018 Festival, Caroline programmes all our adult events; a job she regards as a privilege, a responsibility and a total joy!


Shannon Newton

Co-Director / Sponsorship

Shannon has worked in Fundraising & Special Events In New York and the UK for 25 years and for the Book Festival since 2017. Shannon works to secure grants, sponsorships and in-kind support for the festival, helping to lengthen the shoestrings of the budget each year.


Jane Churchill

Children's Director

Jane is a freelance children’s book consultant and has worked in children’s books for 40 years.  She has a broad overview of the market from running a specialist children’s bookshop, to PR and  scouting for publishers, programming book festivals and reviewing children’s books.

Dominique Shead

Dominique Shead

Festival Administrator

Dominique has worked in book publishing for 35 years, lives in Stroud and is a freelance book editor.


Rosie Crocker

Social Media & Marketing Coordinator

Rosie is a freelancer in marketing with a particular passion for copywriting and content creation. A recent graduate from Bath Spa University, Rosie manages our social media and supports us with marketing to make sure as many people know about Stroud Book Festival as possible!


Camilla Hale

Volunteer Coordinator

Camilla has worked in events management and the voluntary sector all her working life and is a Stroud Town Councillor.

The Committee

Jane Bailey


John Dougherty


Katie Fforde


Jamila Gavin


Adam Horowitz


Sue Limb


Charles Tongue


Louise Brice

Our Patron


Ian McEwan