Good news for intrepid literary globetrotters, two of the hottest festivals this year take place... on your doorstep. The London Literature Festival (20 May – 8 September, Waterloo) is set to launch a series of authors and singers upon the Southbank, with Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and Catatonia’s Cerys Matthews providing the music. The latter, most famous for going out with Beppe from Eastenders (remember his dodgy goatee?), is hosting a “mass sing along”. Author Audrey Niffenegger, scribe of The Time Traveller’s Wife is one of the many celebrated authors on the bill. The upcoming Hay Festival (23 May – 2 June, Hay-on-Wye) on the Welsh borders, is no longer patronised solely by Guardian readers and socks and sandal wearers – it’s actually quite trendy and offbeat. This year brings comedy from Dara O’Briain and Giles Coren, among others.
Frieze London (17 – 20 October, Regent’s Park), previously inked in every art collector’s diary, has gone mass-market and brings the glamour and buzz of the art world to the entire city. New York’s own Frieze (May, Randall’s Island) retains the grit of its east London roots, but you’ll have to wait almost an entire year to see it all over again as the artists exhibited earlier this month. Over to Africa, where the Zanzibar International Film Festival (29 June – 7 July) brings local carnival spirit with cutting- edge east African film, music and arts. Other film festivals worth checking out include Tribeca Film Festival (April, New York) apparently the brainchild of Robert De Niro to draw crowds down to the shunned Lower Manhattan area in the wake of 9/11. Clever, hey? There is also the Basque San Sebastian Film Festival (20 – 28 September, San Sebastian). This year marks the 61st edition and will launch a section dedicated to adventure and action sports films. (Note: Tribeca is typically stuffed full of philanthropic movie stars, while its northern Spain counterpart is more wonder couple Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem’s stomping ground.) Another arcane European film festival arrives in the form of the Sarajevo Film Festival (16 – 24 August), an eye into the world of groundbreaking young Balkan filmmakers. South-east Asia’s Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (11 – 15 October) in Bali – which celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year – is an more cerebral festival, including cooking demonstrations and workshops, all set on the beatific Indonesian island.