Literature events – what we’ve learned about audiences

With yesterday being National Poetry Day, we thought it’d be as good a time as any to highlight some of our research into audiences for live literature and libraries.

Audience Report: Live Literature

Here’s our report into audiences for Live Literature Events (pre-Covid, but potentially relevant again as in-person events resume).
Audience Report | Live Literature Events | The Audience Agency


  • 50% of audiences list intellectual stimulation and learning as their key motivation to attend
  • As a proportion of the total audience, more people attend alone than other artforms
  • Poetry & Spoken Word events are more successful at attracting traditionally lower-engaged groups than Live Literature events as a whole.

Libraries and literature events through the pandemic

Some insights into the changes, challenges and achievements that make up the complex story for libraries and literature organisations through the pandemic.

Sectors | Libraries and Literature | The Audience Agency


  • Reading for pleasure has boomed during the pandemic
  • Libraries have suffered a financial triple whammy of budget reductions, loss of earned income and increased costs.
  • Many literary festivals have seen higher audience numbers by virtue of switching to online events.

Do you work in literature or libraries? Share your experiences, questions, thoughts below. Or join us for Literature-themed Community Forum Live event in January – details here Community Forum Live - Libraries & Literature - Events - The Audience Agency Community

(In honour of National Poetry Day, feel free to share a favourite verse as well!)


I’m not sure it entirely qualifies as a poem but I find it very hard not to love these immortal words of Dr Seuss:

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”— Dr. Seuss


Our recent (but slightly pre-pandemic) research for Arts Council England on adult reading and book-buying habits can be found here: Reading for Pleasure: An Evidence Review | Arts Council England