Thursday, October 03, 2019

NEWS OF FABULOUS BOOK FESTIVALS FROM CHELTENHAM AND ESSEX

I was delighted to be invited to the upcoming Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival this year, which I discovered,  is the longest-running festival of its kind in the world.  Started in 1949 by George Wilkinson, in conjunction with Tewkesbury-based author, John Moore, serving as its first director, its provenance is second to none. 

I would add that my own fabulous annual Essex Book Festival, which takes place throughout the month of March each year, is also a wonderful place to visit, also with a prestigious line-up of famous folk from all genres of contemporary literature and the Arts.
Yours truly and Lord Bragg at Essex Book Festival
But let's study the current Cheltenham bonanza of literature due to start tomorrow. What an amazing historical beginning when that famous actor of the past, Sir Ralph Richardson, born in Cheltenham, launched that first Festival, with Cecil Day-Lewis - another of my favourite  writer/poets - who taught at Cheltenham College - reading a selection of his favourite verse at that very first gathering. 

This 70th Anniversary Festival currently enjoys being sponsored by our national newspaper The  Times and Sunday Times as its 'title' sponsor: therefore making the full name of the Festival "The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival". 

The Festival's current Artistic Director is Sarah Smyth and its Festival Director is Jane Furze. The Festival prides itself in showcasing the biggest names from contemporary culture with award- winning authors, up-and-coming writing talent and controversial debate. The 2013 Literature Festival issued around 135,000 tickets and certainly remains one of the most prestigious literary events in the world. Each year, visitors look forward to the presentation of the Nick Clarke Award for the best broadcast interview, as well welcoming literary prize winners to discuss their most recent work. This Festival interprets the term "literature" widely, featuring writers in every genre, including a good number of journalists and politicians. 

The Festival's current Artistic Director is Sarah Smyth and its Festival Director is Jane Furze. The Festival prides itself in showcasing the biggest names from contemporary culture with award- winning authors, up-and-coming writing talent and controversial debate. The 2013 Literature Festival issued around 135,000 tickets. This Festival remains one of the most prestigious literary events in the world. The Festival also sees the presentation each year of the Nick Clarke Award for best broadcast interview, as well welcoming literary prize winners to discuss their most recent work. The term "literature" is interpreted widely, featuring writers in every genre, including a good number of journalists and politicians.

Described as a 'literary lovers dream', the Festival in past years, has hosted the talents of some of the world's leading novelists, poets, humorists, historians, philosophers, actors and politicians. Previous guests include:

DanTDMSalman RushdieZadie SmithRuth RendellGordon BrownMartin AmisJudi DenchStephen FryMichael PalinIan HislopStephen HawkingRichard HammondArmando IannucciRik MayallRory BremnerJon SnowSimon SchamaMichael BuerkBruce ParrySophie DahlIan McEwanAnne EnrightA. C. GraylingSebastian FaulksNaomi KleinTony BennTerry JonesNick HornbyBob GeldofJeremy PaxmanRupert EverettFrank McCourtBrenda BlethynDoris LessingPatrick StewartToni MorrisonIan RankinKate AdieRichard AttenboroughDavid StarkeyAntony SherMichael ParkinsonTerry JonesTony RobinsonSandi ToksvigDawn FrenchSimon ArmitageClive JamesRuth RendellAlexander McCall SmithBruce ParryRay MearsFrank SkinnerJanet Street-PorterRoger MooreTony CurtisJohn BarrowmanRussell T DaviesDave GormanCharley BoormanAlexei SayleMark Thomas, and Laura UlewiczWhat a lineup!
More news and views from the Festival will follow. 

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