The Quarterhouse, Folkestone
So literary is the town of Folkestone that its Christmas lights are being switched on by a famous novelist. The towns book festival opens on 18November, with an afternoon of free events that include Father Christmas, fireworks, carols and a lantern-lit parade, as well as Jonathan Coe switching on the creative quarters Christmas lights at 5.30pm. From there, he will head to the Quarterhouse to open the book festival at a ticketed event, where he will talk about his trademark combination of social commentary and farce. A glass of wineand a mince pie are included inthe ticket price.
To open its year-long festival, Nordic Matters, the Southbank Centre is hosting an immersive, interactive exhibition exploring the internationally beloved stories of the Moomin family through the life of their author, Tove Jansson. Similar in style to this summers The Wundercrump World of Roald Dahl, it will have latenight Moomin events on Thursdays, archive materials never before seen in the UK, and a pop-up shop on level 2 of the Royal Festival Hall. Suitable for all ages.
From 16 December-23 April, southbankcentre.co.uk
Bestselling author Mark Forsyth is touring with his new book, A Christmas Cornucopia, and where better to start than Hays winter weekend? Discover the warm glow of Scandinavian hygge with Louisa Thomsen Brits, explore The Apple Orchard with Pete Brown and take a world tour of bookshops that have inspired writers with Henry Hitchings. The organisers promise roaring fires in Hay Castle and fairy lights all over town. There are also childrens events and definitely-not-for-children events, such as The Spirits of Christmas, in which three family firms celebrate Welsh whisky and fizz, artisan gin and spirits made from plums, apples and pears.
From 25-27 November, hayfestival.org
A bookshop is for life, not just for bumping up house prices, so see what yours is hosting this Christ
mas. Foyles is offering The Snowman gingerbread-decorating events in Bristol, Chelmsford and London, plus Christmas crafting in Birmingham and Stratford. Theres Christmas lunch at the St Boswells bookshop in the Scottish borders on 10 November; a Victorian evening at Warwick Books on 24 November; Sophie Hannah at the Old Hall hotel in Buxton on 25 November; Robin Stevens talking Mistletoe and Murder with mulled wine and mince pies at Sevenoaks bookshop on 25 November; and Christmas origami with Tomoko OReilly at The Steyning bookshop, Sussex, on 1 and 3 December.
Charles Dickens is known as a London novelist, but he spent his early years in Kent and died at Gads Hill Place in Higham in 1870. To celebrate his life there, Rochester has held a Dickensian Christmas festival every year since 1988, with shopping stalls, Father Christmas and guaranteed snowfall. This years festival promises a seven poor travellers procession, agrand parade, a candlelit procession, an open-air carol concert and visits fromsome familiar characters from Dickens stories.
From 3-4 December, visitkent.co.uk
This new adaptation by the talented Fitzrovia Radio Hour company takes over the spooky vaults beneath Waterloo station for an evening of cabaret, ghosts and Christmas spirit. The company promises spectacular sound effects, cut-glass accents and sharp suits, with Dickenss story reimagined as a 1940s-style radio drama. God bless us, every one!
From 6-31 December, christmascarollondon.com