Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is delighted to announce the unmissable line up for 2019, marking the 70th anniversary of the world’s oldest literature festival, which is leading the way in engendering a love of reading in young people.
The Festival will bring more than 900 of the best writers, thinkers and performers of our time to the vibrant Regency town, setting the scene for once-in-a-lifetime conversations to take place over ten extraordinary days of unique experiences, critical debate and literary revelry.
From 4 – 13 October, the Festival Village will host an unparalleled literary line-up including this year’s recipient of The Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence, Colm Tóibín, the new Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell, the highly anticipated Booker shortlist, as well as the most exciting emerging talent on the scene. Dynamic debut novelists include Candice Carty-Williams, Ronan Hession, Elizabeth Macneal, Jessica Andrews and Season Butler as well as the Festival’s showcases of the best new writing in Fiction at 7, Debuts and Cocktails and Proof Parties.
As part of the ‘Seven at Seventy’ anniversary celebrations the Festival welcomes Chris Tse, Kanako Nishi and a raft of international authors to the Cheltenham stage, as well as showcasing unearthed archive audio content, introducing a literary audio trail of Cheltenham, and street art courtesy of Cheltenham Paint Festival on the theme ‘Hurrah for Books’.
There will be up-to-the-minute political analysis fresh from the party conference season courtesy of David Cameron and David Lammy, with The Times debate – joined by Jess Phillips and Rory Stewart – questioning the future of our political parties, and The Sunday Times considering White House contenders with Adam Boulton and Sarah Baxter.
From current affairs to food, history to fashion, sport to art, science to travel, the Festival guarantees something for everyone with the fun extending long after dark with the eclectic Off The Page series of curated events, including a Game of Thrones quiz night, US story-telling sensation The Moth, jazz and poetry fusion group Tongue Fu, an evening celebrating the music of Joni Mitchell and a vibrant spoken word strand. And for one night only the irreverent Lit Crawl returns to take over the streets, pubs and bars of Cheltenham.
The perfect family day out, this year’s Festival includes a packed programme of world class authors and illustrators to inspire toddlers to teens, with The Woodland Trust Wild Wood filled with beloved characters, storytellers and activities, plus a Secret Seven Mystery Trail celebrating 70 years of the world’s favourite detective club. The Festival’s year-round education programmes, inspiring a love of reading and creative writing, also culminates in October with 9,000 school children on site taking part in Literature for Schools.
New partner Sky Arts will broadcast across the final week with live coverage, interviews and events from a bespoke Sky Arts Studio on site. The venue will be a free pop-in space where festival attendees can be part of the filming and take part in other creative activities. Elsewhere on site there will be free events for all ages around the Festival village, The Huddle, hosting an array of talks and brains teasers, including Daily Crossword, Cheltenham Writes and Very Short Introductions, and The Chatterbox, where guests can become secret agents by decoding mysterious messages around the Festival.
THE FULL LINE UP:
COLM TÓIBÍN | CELESTE NG | DAVID CAMERON | TAN FRANCE | NADIYA HUSSAIN | IAN MCEWAN
BERNARDINE EVARISTO | CANDICE CARTY-WILLIAMS | DAVID LAMMY | TOM KERRIDGE | ESTHER FREUD
HELENA BONHAM CARTER | ALI SMITH | ROB BRYDON | CHIMENE SULEYMAN | ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER DAVID BADDIEL | BELLA MACKIE | JORDAN STEPHENS | SCARLETT CURTIS | SEBASTIAN FAULKS | JENNY ECLAIR
SAM WARBUTON | TAI SHANI | RICHARD DAWKINS | TOM HOLLAND | DOM JOLY | STEVE BACKSHALL
CRESSIDA COWELL | MALORIE BLACKMAN | KONNIE HUQ | PAUL WHITEHOUSE | BOB MORTIMER
ANDREW RIDGELEY | LOUIS THEROUX | DAVID SUCHET | ALASTAIR COOK | ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH
KATY BRAND | PAUL MERTON | KERRY HUDSON | TRACY CHEVALIER | ROBERT HARRIS | MARY BEARD
HERMAN KOCH | HOWARD JACOBSON | JACKIE KAY | ROB AUTON | PAUL MULDOON | THERESA LOLA
EMILY MAITLIS | GINA MARTIN | JOHN HUMPHRYS | SIMON SCHAMA | RORY STEWART | JESS PHILLIPS
SOPHIA JANSSON | CARRIE GRACIE | CAROLINE CRIADO PEREZ | VALENTINE WARNER | YASMIN KHAN LEVISON WOOD | HANNAH WITTON | CANDY GOURLAY | DOUGIE POYNTER | DANNY WALLACE
KES GRAY & JIM FIELD | JUNO DAWSON | HOLLY BOURNE | MICHAEL ROSEN | DERMOT O’LEARY
With Guest Curators: MAX PORTER, YOMI ADEGOKE & ELIZABETH UVIEBINENÉ | DOMINIC SANDBROOK
TESSA HADLEY | ANTHONY ANAXAGOROU | LESLIE VINJAMURI | ROBIN STEVENS