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Literature Festival

8th - 17th Octover crack

It may still be Summer outside – but Cheltenham is firmly looking towards the Autumn – as The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2010 goes on sale on 16th August. The Cheltonian took a sneak-preview behind the covers of the festival to find out some of the big names you can look forward to meeting from 8-17 October...

The Festival is inspired by the central theme of Dreams and Nightmares which presents an opportunity to discover how the realm of dreams has influenced writers, thinkers and artists and how they expressed fears and hopes in their work. Ranging from Blake and Coleridge to Frankenstein and Dracula, the Festival will explore the literary power of the unconscious and our enduring fascination with the supernatural.

Five Guest Directors will each programme a series of fascinating events: Kevin McCloud explores architecture and design, Will Hutton investigates finance, China Miéville shares the best of future fiction, Mary Beard brings to life ancient Greece and Rome, and Owen Sheers puts poetry centre-stage.

With over 450 events spread across the ten day literary feast it can be hard to know where
to start! Here’s a few of the not-to-be-missed highlights…

Great literature is at the heart of this year’s programme, and features some outstanding internationally acclaimed writers, including Salman Rushdie, Jostein Gaarder, Bernhard Schlink and A S Byatt.

For younger readers Book It!, the children’s festival goes from strength to strength, with over 80 events to delight, stimulate and entertain. Join bestselling authors Jacqueline Wilson, Judith Kerr and Jeremy Strong, or party with Spot the Dog, and Charlie and Lola.

As ever, the Festival welcomes some of the most recognisable faces from the stage and screen to tread the Cheltenham boards. Join Martin Jarvis for an exclusive Jeeves in Manhattan performance, or hear Stephen Fry, Jerry Hall and critic Mark Kermode discuss their lives in the limelight. For a lighter look at all things literary comedians Jenny Éclair, Dom Joly, Jo Brand and Armstrong & Miller all feature.

Don’t miss sporting legends Ian Botham and Sam Torrance; culinary culture from Rachel Allen, Olly Smith and a whole host of gourmet gurus; and design and lifestyle inspiration from Kirstie Allsop, George Clarke and many more.

A very exciting part of the Festival is the Bonne Maman Big Read with Vintage Classics – which this year explores the literary classic Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. The classic tale of passionate love and tragic misunderstandings, featuring the beautiful and spirited Bathsheba as its heroine, has captivated readers since its publication in 1874. Whether you’ve discovered its delights before or are a lucky first time reader of Hardy’s classic, why not escape the madding crowd and join the Bonne Maman Big Read!

The Bonne Maman Big Read brings together readers from across Gloucestershire to read, discuss and enjoy Thomas Hardy’s classic in completely free book groups. Offering the perfect opportunity to enjoy tasty Bonne Maman treats and discuss the colourful characters and twisting plot of Far from the Madding Crowd, these groups will take place throughout Gloucestershire’s libraries, book shops and offices throughout September. For full details of your nearest Book Group visit:

www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/bigread

Tickets for The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2010 go on public sale on Monday 16th August. To browse the full programme, book your tickets and get involved visit:

www.cheltenhamfestivals.com