Cliveden is the magnificent English country house with a unique and extraordinary history of politics and intrigue, aristocracy and espionage, sex and scandal. Time and again, Cliveden itself has become a character in the story of these isles. Ever since 1666, the house has also been known for its literary salon, helping to inspire writers from Alexander Pope and George Bernard Shaw, Jonathan Swift and Lord Tennyson to Sir Winston Churchill. The Cliveden Literary Festival will evoke the spirit of the great writers and potentates who stayed here and continue the tradition of the house as a sanctuary for lovers of literature.
‘Cliveden Literary Festival is the very best, with great talks, debates and laughter in a stunningly beautiful setting. You simply cannot get better than that!’Sir Antony Beevor
The most dignified and beautiful literary festival on the planet.Alain de Botton
The faces of Cliveden audiences shine with eagerness and intelligence. Their enthusiasm incites the speakers to do their very best. And the question-and-answer sessions are almost best of all: such keen and nifty questions from the audience, who are ready to laugh at even the most serious subjects.Richard Davenport-Hines
Reflecting on @clivedenlitfest, I can't think of another which manages to offer so much - so many literary stars, so many different ideas - in so intimate a space in just two days.Allan Mallinson
"Cliveden Literary Festival is a welcome breath of fresh air to the book festival calendar. Housed in the most exquisite surroundings, the festival is a combination of a global ideas summit fused with the best literature has to offer. A must attend for anyone who has even just an ounce of curiosity!"June Sarpong
‘Historic house, lovely grounds, lots of interesting talks: all make for a memorable weekend.’Margaret MacMillan
In the age of addictive and corrosive 'social media,' a literary festival is a kind of antidote: real people, who read real books, having real conversations in a real place. Make that a really, really nice place and you have the Cliveden Literary Festival. Already a beloved British tradition, despite being only two years old.Niall FergusonHistorian, author of The Square and the Tower.
The Cliveden Literary Festival is something I wish every author could experience at least once. Gorgeous grounds, fascinating discussions and brilliant minds all in one place for the love of thought-provoking books.Dambisa Moyo
One of the most stimulating literary festivals going, in an unbeatable setting. An absolute treat.Sarah Waters
The festival’s themes – politics and scandal; the influence of brilliant women; history in the movies and on TV; art and architecture; espionage, and the shadow of war – reflect Cliveden’s own story as a political and literary salon, a status it has kept into the 21st century.
This year Cliveden was the subject of international interest when Meghan Markle – now Duchess of Sussex – stayed here on the night before her wedding to Prince Harry.
It has been the centre of British political, royal and literary life since it was built and expanded by its influential chatelaines, from the scheming Elizabeth Villiers to the glittering society hostess, Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland, who provoked a constitutional crisis during the reign of Queen Victoria; from the beautiful courtesan Anna Maria, Countess of Shrewsbury and the muse to Alexander Pope, to Britain’s first female MP and arch-appeaser Nancy Astor, who hosted famous guests from Asquith to Gandhi. In the 1960’s Cliveden became notorious as the setting for the Profumo Affair, the sex-and-espionage scandal that brought down a government and changed Britain forever.
Cliveden is now a sumptuous hotel and has its own literary festival where its tradition of power, art, letters and luxury continue to thrive.