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Literature Festival

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The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

From 8-17th October Cheltenham will become the centre of the literary world – as the town welcomes more than 700 of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers, poets and celebrities to The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival. It’s an absolutely bursting ten day programme which has already sold nearly 100,000 tickets. Yes, some star-turns sold out straight away, but there’s still hundreds of surprising, engaging and inspiring events to enjoy. Here we delve under the cover of the brochure and reveal the hidden gems you can still get tickets for….

Big names at a big venue
The Centaur at Cheltenham Racecourse is one of the biggest literary venues in the country – and this year attracts some truly outstanding speakers. The latest addition to this fantastic line-up is illusionist extraordinaire Derren Brown. Announced just a couple of weeks ago, this is an amazing chance to join Derren on a magical mystery tour as he introduces his brilliant and hilarious new book Confessions of a Conjuror. Find out how his weird and wonderful mind works as he discusses his obsession with magic and the amazing journey that is his life so far.

For some star sprinkled comedy double act Armstrong and Miller and the BBC’s new top dog, presenter and comedian Graham Norton, will take to the stage to discuss their hilarious new books. Film legend Michael Caine will also be discussing his extraordinary career that has taken him from The Elephant to Hollywood.

In a rare festival appearance political heavyweight Peter Mandelson will be discussing his recent memoir and delving into the secrets of New Labour. Alastair Campbell, distinguished historian Peter Hennessy, playwright and critic Bonnie Greer and Today’s Justin Webb join Times Editor James Harding in this year’s Times Debate to focus on whether the dream of Barack Obama has survived and ask how much of an impact the presidential election had on the way Britain’s recent historic election was fought. Arguably the most influential feminist of recent years and author of the seminal The Female Eunuch, Germaine Greer will be dazzling the centaur with the details of her eventful writing career.

A Feast of a Festival
This year’s sumptuous programme is bursting with culinary inspiration and pure star quality - from wine and chocolate top baking and deserts; we uncover a world of hidden pleasures and kitchen secrets. Blossoming domestic goddesses can look forward to some advice from home expert Kirstie Allsopp and queens of the kitchen Nigella Lawson and Rachel Allen. Olly Smith, Levi Roots and Antonio Carluccio also feature.

For a real gastronomic treat, join style icon Jerry Hall for an exclusive lunch event at the Hotel du Vin. Sumptuous food, a stunning setting, and a supermodel for company - what could be better?

Pure comedy gold
Cheltenham has an impressive reputation for attracting some of the country’s finest comedians – and there are more laughs in this year’s line-up than you can shake a very literary stick at! Enjoy the lighter side of the festival with TV star and Radio Four favourite Phill Jupitus; ‘grumpy old women’ Jenny Éclair and Arabella Weir; comedy writing guru Armando Iannucci; and the audaciously funny Dom Joly.

Festival favourite, and queen of British comedy, Dawn French introduces her very first novel A Tiny Bit Marvellous exclusively in Cheltenham. This is a completely unique and a fantastic chance to meet one of the nation’s most beloved comediennes. And in a fantastic addition to the published programme comedy great turned Hollywood star Simon Pegg returns to his Gloucestershire roots to introduce his book Nerd Do Well.

Award-winning writers
At its heart the Festival rejoices in the joy of books, the thrill of debate and the unique interaction between writer and reader and this year welcomes some true literary legends. Philip Pullman joins the programme to discuss his gripping new novel The Good Man Jesus and The Scoundrel Christ over a lunch at the Hotel du Vin and an evening event at the Town Hall; highly acclaimed writer A S Byatt explores her novel The Children’s Book; and Sophie’s World author Jostein Gaarder comes to Cheltenham from Norway. Audrey Niffeneger, Roddy Doyle, Rose Tremain and Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend all feature.

Book it! – The Festival for Families and Young Readers
The Book It! Programme is bursting with exciting events for children of all ages to enjoy. From Festival favourites to brand new friends, these events are sure to thrill and entertain in equal measure.

Join in celebrations of some very special birthdays: everyone’s favourite feline Mog will be sharing tales of her many adventures over her 40 years, Maisy will be marking her 20 years with her brand new book Maisy’s Show, join Spot for a storytelling session on his 30th birthday and you might even get to meet the Fat Controller as Thomas the Tank Engine celebrates 65 years with storyteller Liz Fost.

Budding young readers can meet their favourite authors including Festival favourites Jacqueline Wilson, Philip Ardagh and Celia Rees. Whilst the dramatically inclined can also discover the secrets of the theatre in a series of workshops with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

There is so much to enjoy in Cheltenham this October - from award-winning writers, to Peter Rabbit and friends – join in this feast of a festival and become part of the literati jet set!

The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival runs from 8-17th October at venues around town including Cheltenham Town Hall, the Everyman Theatre and the Centaur at Cheltenham Racecourse.

For the full programme visit:

Tickets available online or by calling 0844 576 7979