America Uncovered and Millennial Lives are the festival's main themes, with appearances from American Ambassador Matthew Barzun, Oliver Stone, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Ian McEwan, Alan Cumming, Cheryl Strayed, PJ O’Rourke, Lionel Shriver, Jonathan Safran Foer, Teju Cole, Michael Connelly, Ed Balls, Ken Clarke, Graham Swift, Sebastian Faulks, Edna O’Brien, Clare Balding, Jilly Cooper, Armando Iannucci, Wilko Johnson, Simon Armitage, Joe Wicks, Deliciously Ella, Joey Barton, Vivienne Westwood, Chris Riddell, Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Chris Hadfield. Plus: comedians Alan Carr, Sara Pascoe and Alexei Sayle, and illusionist Derren Brown
A dazzling array of prize-winning novelists, agenda-setters and opinion-formers, historians, filmmakers, artists, academics, journalists , poets, musicians and comedians will come together in celebration of the spoken and written word this October (7-16) for the 67th The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival.
The programme, announced today and available in full at www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature, embodies Cheltenham’s spirit of enquiry featuring some of the world’s most exciting thinkers and commentators, debating the most pertinent issues of our times. Variety is also the order of the day with literary greats rubbing shoulders with fresh new voices, established leaders with Youtube stars, across more than 600 events covering disciplines as diverse as history, politics, film, sport, food, art, fashion, nature, technology and business.
On the eve of the US Election, the Festival turns its gaze on America for one of its two main themes. America Uncovered will examine the fascinating culture, literature, politics and enormous global influence at this pivotal moment in the country’s history. The second major strand, Millennial Lives, spotlights the issues closest to, and most affecting, Generation Y – from the impacts of the latest technology, to the ideas gaining most traction in this rising demographic – plus the wider implications of how we live now.
There are six Guest Curators this year bringing their experience and insight to bear on the Festival’s themes. American writer and critic and former editor of Granta Magazine John Freeman; Professor of American Literature Sarah Churchwell; and comedian Reginald D Hunter celebrate new voices and established greats in the ‘America Uncovered’ strand; while Rapper, Poet and Academic Akala; Girl Lost in the City’ blogger Emma Gannon and writer and performer Cecilia Knapp delve into new ways of seeing the world in ‘Millennial lives’.
From stage and screen, multi-award winning director Oliver Stone flies into Cheltenham to discuss film-making with Mark Lawson for his first UK literary festival appearance; Cheryl Strayed talks about her best-selling memoir Wild, the subject of a film starring Reese Witherspoon; Emma Freud meets film and television star Alan Cumming (The Good Wife);while prolific television writer Andrew Davies (War and Peace, Middlemarch, Pride and Prejudice) talks about his extraordinary career; and legendary Dr Feelgood founder Wilko Johnson explains how he defied death after being given 10 months to live, accompanied by his favourite musical tracks.
To balance the serious discussions, a rich strand of comedy, performance poetry, food and music will fill venues across the festival site. The festival plays host to world renowned Chefs Marcus Wareing, and Antonio Carluccio, healthy-eating sensations Joe Wicks and (Deliciously) Ella Mills and back by popular demand, Marcus Brigstocke who will host special guests including comedian Sara Pascoe for his Big Sunday Brunch. Other entertainment comes in the form of Derren Brown who teaches us how to be happy; punk queen Vivienne Westwood on fashion and climate change; and treasured comedian Alan Carr who tells all. There are special screenings of American classic films; performance poetry; a celebration of Dorothy Parker; counter-culture poet Charles Bukowski remembered in the Festival Lates strand and so much more.
The hugely popular family programme returns, offering over 90 events and workshops led by some of the biggest names in children’s writing including Frances Hardinge, Children’s Laureates past and present Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Chris Riddell and Michael Rosen, comedians and writers Julian Clary and David Baddiel, plus Clare Balding introducing her first children’s book. There are birthday celebrations for two giants of the children’s book world - Roald Dahl and Beatrix Potter, along with appearances from Picture Book makers Chris Haughton, Benji Davies and Rob Biddulph, and a rare festival appearance from astronaut Chris Hadfield who launches his new book and shares his passion for space travel. Meanwhile, YA fans can enjoy the leading voices from the genre, including Marcus Sedgwick, Holly Bourne, Holly Smale and CJ Daugherty and mystery writer Robin Stevens.
Beyond the main stages is a whole host of activities for all ages to discover and enjoy, from locally sourced food and drink, creative writing workshops and masterclasses extending …around town with pop-up performances in the streets and Cheltenham’s very own Lit Crawl, imported from San Francisco’s Litquake Festival. And there are Festival Lates! on site providing deliciously edgy performances.
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