Another stellar line-up for this year's Stratford Literary Festival - The Leamington Observer

Another stellar line-up for this year's Stratford Literary Festival

Leamington Editorial 13th Feb, 2024   0

MARY Beard, David Nicholls and Val McDermid are part of the stellar line-up for this year’s Stratford Literary Festival.

Names for the festival in May include some of the best-known writers and personalities in the country.

TV Classicist Mary Beard brings the Roman Empire to life, while the queen of crime fiction Val McDermid turns her pen on a re-telling of Macbeth.

Bestselling author of One Day, David Nicholls, reveals his latest novel, You Are Here, while TV’s Great British Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant explains why the fashion industry needs a re-design.

Celebrating its 17th year this year, Stratford Literary Festival is now recognised as one of the UK’s leading literary festivals, attracting thousands of ticket buyers. Over five days from May 1 to May 5, the festival will be offering a programme of nearly 70 events with something for everyone.

Leading its current affairs programme will be LBC presenter James O’Brien and Observer columnist Will Hutton, while Times columnist Daniel Finkelstein will share the moving story of his family and the Holocaust.

Legendary Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee shares her intriguing family history too, and Birmingham MP Liam Byrne will consider the inequality of wealth with Ella’s Kitchen founder Paul Lindley. Charity campaigner Derek Bardowell considers the volunteer economy worth over £4billion and what it means to volunteer.

Inspiring mathematician Marcus Du Sautoy explains why maths can help you win at Monopoly, Gardeners’ World presenter Rachel de Thame recommends plants for pollinators while head of Global Insight at dating app Tinder will guide on finding love.

The festival’s fiction line-up is led by the bestselling author John Boyne, Costa Prize winner AL Kennedy who’ll be asking if we can tell the gender of an author from their writing, and Whitbread Prize winner and local author Susan Fletcher celebrates her latest novel. Broadcaster Michael Wood brings China’s best-known poet to wider acclaim and the successful YA author Alex Wheatle shares the story of his troubled upbringing.

The festival’s selection of events for families and schools includes former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen and current Laureate Joseph Coehlo, with fun interactive workshops to get involved in.

Stage and screen is celebrated with actor David Troughton and award-winning actress Juliet Stevenson who talk about their Stratford. The new co-artistic director of the RSC Tamara Harvey shares her vision for the RSC and smashing the glass ceiling in the creative industries, and impressionist and comedian Alistair McGowan rounds off the festival with a celebration of the genius Noel Coward.

Festival director Annie Ashworth said: “We are really excited by this May’s line-up which we believe has a strong balance of events to embrace all interests. Over the last 12 months the festival has grown to another level and we are thrilled that Julia Donaldson, the UK’s most popular writer for young children, is now patron of our outreach work in schools, the community and prisons. There’s so much books can do to change lives.’

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