This year’s Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, to be held 6–15 October, is going to be an exciting, vibrant celebration, featuring an abundance of authors from all strands of the literary sphere.
The theme of the Festival for 2017 is ‘Who Do We Think We Are?’, a way to ponder and debate the present-day complexities of life in post-Brexit Britain, as well as ask the important question: what does it mean to be British today?
From British culinary delights to religion in British society, GB sporting heroes and the focus of politics in recent months, Cheltenham Literature Festival aims to cover all bases with its eclectic mix of speakers and topics.
It is challenging to pick out just a few examples from the event’s impressive line-up, but fiction authors will include Sarah Waters, Salman Rushdie, Alan Hollinghurst – whose sixth novel The Sparsholt Affair is hitting bookshelves 5 October – and Philippa Gregory.
Comedians Sarah Millican, talking about her upcoming book tour beginning in Manchester on 6 October, and Al Murray, among others, will take to the stage. For sports lovers, Scottish legend Judy Murray and diving sensation Tom Daley will be in attendance.
Author and activist Juno Dawson will be hosting a talk on transgender politics, and all foodies out there can obsess over icons such as Mary Berry, the nation’s favourite Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussein and the inimitable Nigella Lawson.
Poetry fans can rejoice in witnessing Lemm Sissay, Jackie Kay and other beloved poets on stage, while history buffs can revel in seeing Simon Schama, Natalie Haynes and others speak about their research and writings!
For film and television fans, this festival also has plenty to offer, from queen of comedy Miranda Hart to GoggleBox’s Scarlett Moffat. Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, Veep), whose The Death of Stalin, which has played to great acclaim at recent festivals, will be out on general release in October, will also be attending.
These names are but a tiny number of the more than 1,000 speakers booked in for the Festival who, ranging from such diverse strands of interest as the ancient world, art and design, education, travel literature and young adult writing, can be found on the official website, where tickets can also be purchased.
The festival will be hosting a theatre event in honour of the 75th anniversary of Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five series, and – wonderfully – a Where’s Wally trail around Cheltenham town centre to celebrate thirty years of the iconic character.
Not only that, but the Festival will also launch the brand-new Borough Press First Novel Prize, as well as host plenty of entertainment as part of the its ‘Festival Lates’, including spoken word gigs, the Harry Potter-themed HogWhats Quiz Night and an event for international storytelling phenomenon The Moth.
This is one literature event you don’t want to miss.