Cheltenham Literature Festival: 4 – 13 October 2019

October 4, 2019

FULL PROGRAMME REVEALED FOR 70TH ANNIVERSARY

The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

4 – 13 October 2019

 

Full programme: www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature | Images | Festival Brochure | #cheltlitfest

 

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

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

 

The 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.

 

Booking for the Literature Festival opens to Cheltenham Festivals Members at 10am on Wednesday 28 August and general booking opens at 10am on Wednesday 4 September.

 

COLLECTION HIGHLIGHTS

 

70th ANNNIVERSARY

This year marks 70 years since Cheltenham Town Hall hosted the world’s first literature festival and started a global, cultural phenomenon. As part of ‘Seven at Seventy’ celebrations, the Festival welcomes Guest Curators Max PorterYomi Adegoke & Elizabeth UviebinenéDominic SandbrookTessa HadleyAnthony AnaxagorouLeslie Vinjamuri; and Robin Stevens. Lending their unique voices and wealth of expertise to the programme, events include Sandbrook’s selection of the seven most influential British novels of the last 70 years, Anaxagorou’s rising stars in poetry and spoken word, a series of mystery events by Stevens, and a curated acoustic portrait of our complex and troubled country today from Max Porter.

 

Seven high profile authors will be reflecting on their breakout book in a special series of Cheltenham trademark ‘Celebrate With…’ events: Howard Jacobson on The Finkler QuestionRobert Harris on Fatherland; Jessie Burton on The Miniaturist; Herman Koch on The DinnerTracy Chevalier on The Girl With a Pearl EarringAlexander McCall Smith on The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency; and Jung Chang on Wild Swans. There will also be seven showcases celebrating new writing talent, including Jessica Andrews and Ronan Hession, as well as looking ahead to the breakout names for 2020 such as Deepa Anappara and Evie Wyld.

 

Literature festivals around the world have joined the celebration bringing their leading authors to Cheltenham including Chris Tse, Wana UdobangKanako NishiEsme WangNicole FlatterySarah Henstra and Hernán Ronsino. The celebration of international literature continues with 70 global book festivals recommending one title they would like Cheltenham audiences to add to their bookshelves to form a ‘Reading the World’ reading list.

 

Building on last year’s inaugural ‘Podcast in Residence’ role, Literary Friction take on the 2019 residency and there will be seven unique podcasts featuring archive audio content from the past seventy years, as well as partnerships with seven further bookish podcasts.

 

FICTION

Fiction fans will be spoilt for choice with a stellar line-up of literary superstars including Colm Tóibín, Ian McEwan, David Nicholls, Jung Chang, Ali Smith, Elif Shafak, Jojo Moyes, and Bernardine Evaristo. The Cheltenham audience will enjoy a celebration of the biggest books of the year such as Candice Carty-Williams (Queenie), Elizabeth Macneal (The Doll Factory), Bridget Collins (The Binding) and Damian Barr (You Will Be Safe Here) as well as new reads from Howard Jacobson, Victoria Hislop, Kevin Barry, Jessie Burton. George AlagiahTom Bradby and Peter Hanington will draw upon their frontline experience to share fiction as thrilling as their day jobs, Richard Roper and Beth O’Leary celebrate feel-good fiction, Deborah Moggach and Jenny Éclair examine the baggage of inheritance and family ties, Chris Power and Sarah Hall will reveal the art of the short story, plus last year’s Guest Curator Sebastian Faulks becomes our latest literary castaway as he returns with ‘Desert Island Reads’. There will also be the opportunity to hear from The Times and The Sunday Times Literary Editors, Robbie Millen and Andrew Holgate.

 

The Festival welcomes a host of killer women at the top of the crime and thriller genre including Patricia CornwellLouise DoughtyOyinkan BraithwaiteDenise Mina and Erin Kelly, with Jessica Fellowes and Kate Weinberg discussing the secrets to plot a thrilling mystery. For further suspense, Alex North and CJ Tudor explore the dark side of human nature; Herman Koch and Louise Candlish discuss the appeal of writing toxic characters; the husband and wife writing duos behind pseudonyms Nicci French and Ambrose Parry will be revealedand masters of the genre Mark Billingham, Christopher Brookmyre, Doug Johnstone, Stewart Neville and Luca Veste discuss the future of the crime writing.  

 

There is also plenty for historical fiction fans, including Philippa Gregory on her period page-turner Tidelands, Tracy Chevalier on her beautifully orchestrated new book, A Single Thread, set between the two Great Warsas well as Robert Harris (The Second Sleep), Stacey Halls (The Familiars) and Diane Setterfield (The Thirteenth Tale).

 

CLASSIC LITERATURE

From George Eliot to Orwell, Chaucer to the Moomins, we are celebrating some of our most-loved classics as well as revealing the answers to burning questions such as: who are literature’s worst parents, which dystopian thrillers are most relevant now, and can words still pack a punch in the age of Twitter with Simon Schama. BBC Radio 2’s Book Club with Mariella Frostrup and guests will be exploring how novels have always been a revolutionary agent of social change ahead of the 300th anniversary of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, and Tessa Hadley, Colm Tóibín and Bernardine Evaristo are explaining the pleasures and motivations of re-reading. 

 

Acclaimed actors Christopher Eccleston and Sheila Hancock will be joining Allie Esiri to celebrate Shakespeare’s dazzling body of work, actress Maureen Lipman remembers the inimitable Joyce Grenfell and her Hurrah for Books performance at the first ever Cheltenham Literature Festival in 1949, Kathy O’ShaughnessyJuliette Atkinson and Rebecca Mead mark George Eliot’s bicentenary by delving into her fascinating life and work, plus Tove Jansson’s niece Sophia Jansson will share readings from the intimate letters of the beloved Moomins creator. Lara Prescott is joined by Boris Pasternak’s great niece Anna Pasternak to discuss the startling true story behind one of literature’s most memorable love stories Doctor Zhivago, and the Festival celebrates the life and writing of the much-loved literary figure Patrick O’Brian with his step-son Nikolai Tolstoy.

 

STAGE & SCREEN

The Festival is thrilled to welcome a multitude of music superstars including the masterful Andrew Lloyd Webber, Blondie legend Debbie HarryStatus Quo front-man and founder Francis Rossi and WHAM’s Andrew Ridgeley who will reflect on his life-long friendship with George Michael. Mark Radcliffe shares how music can transform our lives, Glastonbury’s Emily Eavis reveals the untold stories from the festival and there will be an evening of musical magic to celebrate Joni Mitchell.

 

Screen icon Helena Bonham Carter will discuss her exceptional and singular career, and there will be secrets from behind the scenes with Richard Curtis discussing his love of The BeatlesOscar-winning Dustin Lance Black on his deeply personal story of coming out to his Mormon mother, plus screenwriter Julian Fellowes and producer Gareth Neame on the much-loved Downton AbbeyDick Clement and Ian La Frenais, creators of beloved comedies Porridge and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet will look back on their long careers, Daisy May and Charlie Cooper will discuss the BAFTA winning success of This Country, David Suchet will reflect on a career spent behind the camera, and beloved documentary maker Louis Theroux will share his strangest times in television. Comic Relief co-founder Lenny Henry will be leading the laughs, with more to come from the likes of David MitchellRichard AyoadeKaty Brand and Paul Merton.

 

POETRY, SPOKEN WORK & OFF THE PAGE

In an exclusive Festival commission, Guest Curator Max Porter brings together Kerry Hudson, Niven Govinden, Momtaza Mehri and Rachael Allen with musicians Alula Down to create an acoustic portrait of our complex and troubled country today. Guest Curator, poet and Out-Spoken founder Anthony Anaxagorou presents his Dream Team of Mona Arshi, Jack Underwood, Caroline Bird, Wayne Holloway-Smith and Kei Miller. The Cheltenham audience will hear from further vibrant voices in the poetry and spoken work scene including Rob AutonMatt Abbott, Ben Norris, Rachel Nwokoro, Young People’s Laureate for London Theresa Lola, alongside Chris Tse, Paul Muldoon, Brian Bilston, Pam AyresJulia CopusJoe Dunthorne, new Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, and Scottish Makar Jackie Kay will be selecting her top ten of the most exciting BAME writers working in the UK today. The literary revelry continues after dark with a Game of Thrones Quiz Night, music from the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, some wonderfully and wildly misinformed insight from character comedian Christopher Bliss, and more from the much-lauded Bang Said The GunTongue Fu and The Moth.

 

CURRENT AFFAIRS

David Cameron will appear in the first event for his memoir For the Record, discussing his life, career and perspectives on the EU referendum and the future of Britain’s place in the light of Brexit. Joining Cameron on the exceptional Current Affairs line-up is David LammyJess Phillips, Caroline Criado-PerezJames O’Brien, Gina Martin, Laura Bates, Nimko Ali, The Times editor John Witherow, The Times and The Sunday Times journalists Daniel Finkelstein, Rachel Sylvester, Matt Chorley, Sarah Baxter and Phillip Collins, with a glimpse behind the broadcast scenes from Emily MaitlisJohn HumphrysNick Robinson and Ed Stourton.

 

The Festival looks outwards to Erdogan’s Turkey with Hannah Lucinda Smith and novelist Elif Shafak, to Trump’s America and his approach to global affairs with Chatham House’s Leslie Vinjamuri, to China and opportunities for women with Carrie Grace, the challenges India faces with Robin Niblett and Champa Patel; and to Putin’s Russia with Mark Galeotti, Peter Pomeranstev, and BBC Newsnight International Editor Gabriel Gatehouse.

 

Mostly Lit podcast host Derek Owusu and Jeffrey Boakye consider the experience of black men in Britain today, and Guest Curators Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené explore how it feels to be a black woman in a predominantly white space. Anthony Anaxagorou is joined by Mariam Khan and Chimene Suleyman to discuss how art and activism can be best combined to create positive social change, Jérôme Tubiana, David Constantine and Hashi Mohamed explore astounding accounts of human endurance and faith against overwhelming odds and terrible injustice, and Aeham Ahmad will be playing the piano on stage as he shares memories of performing in the streets of war-torn Syria.

 

HISTORY & ANCIENT WORLD

Moving individual stories of the Windrush generation will be shared from Colin Grant and Amelia Gentleman, literary critic Bart Van Es and biographer and historian Jeremy Dronfield will chronicle how the trauma of the holocaust gave rise to astonishing stories of courage and survival, plus there will be further historical insight from Guest Curator Dominic Sandbrook, William DalrympleGiles Milton with Anthony Seldon and polling expert Deborah Mattinson asking who was the most disastrous prime minister in British history. Virginia Nicholson considers the experience of women in the 60s, The Favourite author Ophelia Field and Anne Somerset explore Queen Anne’s life, and the relationship between Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth II is given a fresh take by author, historian and television presenter Kate Williams, plus novelist Katie Hickman will reveal the extraordinary lives of the British women who made their way to India and changed history. For ancient history aficionados, Mary Beard and Llewellyn Morgan will join author and classicist Peter Stothard to celebrate the power of Roman poetry on lifestyle and philosophy, whilst Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Daisy Johnson and Natalie Haynes will explore how we relate to myths in the modern life.

 

FOOD & DRINK

Cheltenham’s famous Art Deco restaurant The Daffodil will be transformed into a mecca of global foodie delights. Audiences will be transported around the world with mouth-watering Middle Eastern recipes from Yasmin Khan, sumptuous Moorish cooking courtesy of Ben TishDishoom chef Naved Nasir and co-founder Shamil Thakrar cooking up a feast of Indian delight, and native Russian flavours from Alissa Timoshkina. Festival favourite Tom Kerridge will be sharing his foodie tips for a happier lifestyle and Valentine Warner records his journey through grief told in recipes of love and memories. There will be flavour mash-ups from Bake Off’s Liam CharlesRukmini Iyer (The Quick Roasting Tin) will demonstrate the art of hassle-free cooking, Pam Corbin shares her pioneering jams, pickles and preserves and there will vegan delights from Rachel Ama (Rachel Ama’s Vegan Eats) plus Henry Firth and Ian Theasby Johnson (BOSH). Plus, Jancis Robinson (The World Atlas of Wine) will be revealing the art of pairing a delicious three-course meal with matched wines.

 

 

LIFESTYLE

Queer Eye will meet Bake Off with Tan France and Nadiya Hussain discussing their upbringings and new memoirs and Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer will talk life, friendship and the joys of fishing. Comedian Jen Brister (The Other Mother), Christine Armstrong (The Mother of All Jobs) and Matt Coyne (Man Vs Toddler) will share hilarious anecdotes and chart the ups and downs of sharing life with tiny humans.

 

Emily Dean and confirmed cat lover David Baddiel will be discussing tales of grief and recovery, The Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen will share tales from the farm, and Jordan Stephens, Clementine Inti Chavez Perez and Capser Walsh will discuss what it means to be a man in society today. Tom BradbyMarina Benjamin and sleep scientist Nicola Barclay will anatomise the cause, consequence and potential cures for insomnia, plus Guest Curators and authors Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené (Slay in Your Lane), vegan chef Rachel Ama, pilates and wellness coach Isa-Welly and Amy Thomson will help the audience strike the perfect balance in our busy lives, ranging from our approaches to digital health, to what we eat.

 

There will be gardening tips galore from Anne Chambers, Vanessa Berridge, Clare Foster, Rowan Blossom and Caroline Donald, and the doyenne of English interior design, Nina Campbell, will impart her wisdom. Lovers of classic fashion will be taken on a beautifully illustrated tour through the V+A’s blockbuster DIOR exhibition by curator Oriole Cullen and Condé Nast chairman Nicholas Coleridge will reflect upon his thirty-year career. There will be an exploration of feminist art and fashion from V&A curator Jenny Lister and drag queen Crystal Rasmussen and drag king Daisy Hale will explain how the art of pushing gender boundaries has taken hold of pop culture. The Times Fashion Editor Anna Murphy advises on how not to wear black and three of the country’s top names in beauty – facialist Alexandra Soveral, make-up artist Hannah Martin and hair stylist Kiki Koh – will be on hand.

 

SPORT

A host of sporting legends will grace the stages of Cheltenham this year kicking off with Welsh rugby titan Sam Warburton, and for cricket fans there will be England’s greatest batsman Alastair Cook, plus Prashant Kidambi and Philip Collins. The Festival will celebrate inspirational women who have pushed themselves to the limits of their endurance, including record-breaking ultra-running phenomenon Mimi Anderson, the first woman to complete the infamous Transcontinental Race, Emily Chappell and Lara Prior-Palmer, the youngest-ever champion and the first woman to win The Mongol Derby.

 

ART & DESIGN

This year’s Art & Design series explores everything from the architecture to illustration, including a very special discussion about Lucian Freud with his daughter Esther Freud, revered British illustrator Charlie Mackesy on his favourite pieces, Turner Prize-nominated artist Tai Shani celebrates rebel female muses, and ‘Cold War Steve’ Chris Spencer explains why we need satirical art now more than ever. Grant Wilson and Naomi Wood will examine the Bauhaus movement’s cast of characters in its centenary year, Andrew Hill and Emilie Taylor take a look at Ruskin’s contemporary legacy, and Jason Webster and Claudia Hopkins show how Spanish art is inescapably intertwined with the country’s turbulent history. Kate Bryan shares the dazzling and explosive stories behind some of art’s most influential romantic relationships, Ossian Ward illuminates the Old Masters as well as the dramatic vibrancy of contemporary art, Marit Paasche and Clare Hunter recognise the political and protest power of sewing, Jackie Bennett studies the intimate relationship between artist and garden, plus Angela Summerfield and Christiana Payne look at the role of trees in inspiring some of our greatest artworks.

 

FAITH & PHILOSOPHY

The Cheltenham audience will find enlightenment and fascination in all schools of philosophical thought, with Richard Dawkins expanding further on atheism in Outgrowing GodPeter Stanford exploring the reasons behind why so many of us still believe in angels, and historian Tom Holland describes Christianity’s transformative legacy on Western thought. Author Karen Armstrong will argue the importance of rediscovering global scriptures, and A.C Grayling will take the audience through the epic journey’s and traditions of Western and Eastern philosophy – from Buddha, Confucius and Socrates to Mill, Nietzsche and Sartre.

 

SCIENCE

In this year’s Science line-up, Martin Rees offers a provocative and inspiring look at the future of humanity, and Arthur I. Miller contemplates on what it means to have original thought, creativity and consciousness in the age of machines. Rick Edwards and Michael Brooks will explore the science of death and mass destruction through some of our best-loved Hollywood blockbusters, and Angela Gallop, one of the world’s most eminent forensic scientists, will discuss her ability to reconstruct violent events and how she solved so many intractable cases. David Nott shares his extraordinary experience as a trauma surgeon in the world’s most dangerous war zones, Christie Watson reflects on twenty years in nursing, and Nicci Gerrard alongside Wendy Mitchell ask important questions about how we love, care for and value those who suffering from dementia.

 

NATURE, TRAVEL & ADVENTURE

An inspirational list of speakers will share their unique journeys including Sue Perkins on the Mekong, Adam Weymouth on his solo canoe odyssey along the Yukon River, Raynor Winn will revisit her 630-mile walk on the South West Coastal path, comedian Dom Joly will trace his hike across Lebanon, and Monisha Rajesh will recount her 45,000-mile adventure on the world’s most remarkable railways. Great historical adventures will be retraced by travel writer Alastair Humphreys who reflects on Laurie Lee’s iconic journey from the Cotswolds through Spain, and author and filmmaker Jacki Hill-Murphy recounts the achievements of early female explorers including Victorian nurse Kate Marsden’s epic trip across Siberia.

 

BAFTA winning naturalist, writer and television presenter Steve Backshall will share his exploration of undiscovered worlds and former British Army Officer and explorer Levison Wood will whisk the audience through the heart of Middle East. Writer Luke Turner  and journalist Emma Mitchell will demonstrate the healing power of nature, editor Clare Gogerty and explorer Erling Kagge will show us how to travel in a way that enhances your connection to the world, adventurers Mark Boyle and Ben Fogle will explore the joys without modern technology, plus writers Philip Marsden and Dan Richards will discuss fulfilling life-long travel ambitions and why we remain drawn to the wild, and The Sunday Times travel team, including Susan D’Arcy, will be sharing their expert knowledge.

 

PSYCHOLOGY

Activist, journalist and curator Scarlett Curtis will be joined by an exciting line-up of inspirational contributors from her new anthology It’s Not OK to Feel Blue (and other lies) to discuss what their mental health means to them; Chief Survival Instructor to the British Military, John Hudson, gives lessons for everyday life taken from the first-hand accounts of near disaster experiences; Matthew Syed shares his radical blueprint for creative problem-solving; Ella Risbridger and Bella Mackie share how alternative therapies of cooking and jogging helped them in their mental health recoveries; and YouTubers Hannah Witton, Khalaf and Instagram star Megan Jayne Crabbe encourage discussions about body image, imperfections and being confident in your own skin.

 

FAMILY

The packed Family programme has more selection on offer than ever including the new Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell, with a world of mythical creatures and a special event with festival friends revealing what lies inside their notebook pages. The incredible programme also welcomes the legendary Malorie Blackman and her highly anticipated new Noughts & Crosses novel, presenter Dermot O’Leary and illustrator Nick East with the latest escapades of Toto the Ninja Cat, and some horrendously horrid fun with Francesca Simon. There will be crime capers with Guest Curator Robin Stevens, adventures galore with Helen Skelton, Abi Elphinstone and Candy Gourlay, plus much more from the likes of Danny Wallace, Dougie Poynter and Konnie Huq.

 

For littles ones there will be family fun with multi-award winning Oi Puppies! duo Kes Gray and Jim Field, and the Festival will be marking the birthdays of some famous characters including Kipper, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Elmer, as well as the 30th anniversary of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt with the great Michael Rosen. There will be family shows I Believe in Unicorns, The Rainbow Fish, The Greatest Comic-Making Show On Earth and Maisy Mouse, for spoken word and music lovers the Tongue Fu for Kids band will be performing, while Mark Llewelyn Evans introduces the thrilling story of opera.

 

Budding young creatives can take top tips from the best in the business with workshops on everything from fairy-tale animation to writing adventures and detective move making. Plus the Festival is hosting its first ever ‘Big Family Book Quiz’ to challenge book knowledge, creativity and nonsense know-how! And if that’s not enough for YA fans Juno Dawson, Holly Bourne, Matt Abbott, Jenny Downham and Dean Atta will be taking to the Cheltenham stage.

 

EDUCATION & YEAR-ROUND OUTREACH

This year’s extraordinary ‘Literature for Schools’ programme includes Cressida CowellFrancesca Simon, Chris Riddell, Hilary McKay, Kit De WaalKiran Millwood Hargrave and Anthony Anaxagorou amongst many others, including Guest Curator Robin Stevens leading a series of mystery events. Spoken word artist Sophia Thakur will be performing with students from the Festivals’ year-round outreach programmes – Beyond Words, Write Now and Amnesty’s Words that Burn – in the Young Writers’ Showcase, and authors taking part in Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils – the Festival’s flagship education project supporting teachers with a national network of free reading groups – will be igniting creativity with workshops from Vashti HardyJoe Todd-Stanton and Emma Carroll. Plus the first of the new books selected for the 2019/20 programme will be revealed during the Festival!

 

FESTIVAL PARTNERS

Title Partners: The Times and The Sunday Times

Principal Partners: Baillie Gifford; Cunard; Sky Arts; Thirty Percy, University of Gloucestershire; Waterstones. Woodland Trust.


My son’s wedding day

June 29, 2019

My son is getting married today.

Daniel and Miriam met online, as is the way of the world now. It turned out that they lived just a block or so apart in Brooklyn. Daniel has always been cautious, but when he met Miriam a couple of years ago, I think he fell for her pretty quickly. The first story he told me about her was just a month or so after they met.

It was around Easter and Daniel had a hankering for one of those Cadbury Creme Eggs. They took a walk around their neighborhood and visited a few bodegas, but none had the elusive egg. He settled for some other candy bar and that was the end of it. Or so he thought. A couple of days later, a package arrived from Amazon. Miriam had sent him some of the eggs.

Daniel told me that story to illustrate how kind and thoughtful she was. She just kept on being that kind and that thoughtful as their relationship deepened. Her sisters both live nearby as does her cousin, and many friends. He became more and more immersed in her world, and she in his. Then they moved in together.

They came to Florida and stayed with us for a few days. He flew home with her to Chicago and spent time with her family. Her parents and sisters were going to be in Florida and we all met up for dinner. That was the first time Daniel had ever wanted us to meet a girl’s family. Her parents were back the next year, and again our families got together. I think we all knew this was serious.

All along, he sent me lots of pictures of their dating life. Dinners with her sisters or friends. Parties. Fun runs. Protest marches. The NYC Marathon (her sister ran and the whole family came out to cheer her on.) Concerts and other events. Holidays. They came back to Florida for Thanksgiving. They went to Chicago for Passover. They celebrated Rosh Hashanah at home, starting their own tradition. I had a big birthday and wanted to celebrate at Epcot Food & Wine, and they flew down for the weekend. They were a team.

We all fell in love with Miriam. How could we not? She is not only kind and thoughtful, she is brilliant, and beautiful, and when she smiles, she lights up the room. They share the same values and morals, the building blocks of a life together.

Last winter, they planned a trip to Paris. I asked Daniel if he was going to propose, and he said no. They had talked about marriage, he told me, but he hadn’t yet bought the ring. But Paris worked its magic on him and while Miriam was putting their “love lock” on a bridge, he found himself down on one knee. When she turned back around, he proposed.

The wedding plans were made, options discussed and explored. Miriam’s aunts threw her a baking shower at Sur La Table in Chicago. My daughter and I flew out for the weekend and got to meet more of her family and friends, and we loved them all. They fed us and cossetted us and made us feel like family.

Now it is finally here. Their wedding day. I couldn’t be any happier for them, and for us.

Miriam and Daniel, may you live happily ever after!


Reading Dangerously

May 21, 2019

 

Laurie Halse Anderson joins Colson Whitehead in ‘Reading Dangerously’ at the Freedom to Read Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

New York Times bestselling author and intellectual freedom advocate Laurie Halse Anderson will speak at the Freedom to Read Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in Washington, D.C. on June 22, 2019.  Anderson, recipient of the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her young adult titles “Catalyst,” “Fever 1793” and “Speak,” has been recognized for her ongoing advocacy against censorship.

Anderson is known not only for her award-winning works, but also for her willingness to tackle challenging – and often challenged – topics.  Her book “Speak,” a young adult title that deals with sexual assault, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. “Speak” has been challenged numerous times and is still touching lives and making waves despite progress and the #metoo era.

Anderson will be joining keynote speaker Colson Whitehead, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Underground Railroad,” on the stage at the 50th Anniversary celebration. The celebration will take place during the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in the Renaissance Washington D.C.’s Grand Ballroom, 999 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. and will begin at 6 p.m. The event is open to the public, and appetizers and a cash bar will be available. Tickets are $25 and available for purchase on the FTRF website or through ALA conference registration.

To mark its 50th Anniversary, the Freedom to Read Foundation has commissioned a limited-edition commemorative book, “Reading Dangerously,” to highlight its 50 years of advocacy, education and litigation on behalf of the freedom to read.  The book features an introduction by author Neil Gaiman and an essay by former FTRF director James LaRue that looks forward to the foundation’s next 50 years.  Supporters of the foundation can reserve a copy of the book and purchase tickets to the celebration through its Kickstarter campaign, online at bit.ly/FTRFKickstarter.

The Freedom to Read Foundation is a nonprofit legal and educational organization founded in 1969 to promote and protect the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press; protect the public’s right of access to information and materials stored in the nation’s libraries; safeguard libraries’ right to disseminate all materials contained in their collections; and support libraries and librarians in their defense of First Amendment rights by supplying them with legal counsel or the means to secure it.

In addition to its litigation and legal advocacy in defense of First Amendment freedoms, the foundation supports projects and programs to educate librarians and the public about the importance of defending the right to read and speak freely by providing grants to libraries, schools, and community institutions across the country. FTRF also supports and funds initiatives and scholarship programs to improve intellectual freedom education for LIS professionals and students.

The Freedom to Read Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Celebration is sponsored by Penguin Random House LLC, Penguin Random House Publisher Services, Avenue4, Gale, a Cengage Company, Association of American Publishers Foundation, EBSCO, OCLC, Bound to Stay Books, ProQuest, HarperCollins, Rakuten OverDrive, Inc., Hachette Book Group, Simon and Schuster, Author’s Guild, Library Leadership & Management Association (LLAMA), Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS), American Association of School Librarians (AASL), SAGE Publishing, Public Library Association (PLA), Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), Association of Specialized Government & Cooperative Library Agencies (ASGCLA), Visiting Librarian Service, Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and the trustees, members, and friends of the Freedom to Read Foundation.

For additional information regarding the 50th Anniversary Celebration, please visit www.ftrf.org/page/FTRF50 or contact Yumeka Brown at ybrown@ala.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Capital Crime Festival 2019

May 13, 2019

Capital Crime Festival

26-28th September 2019

(Wish I could go!)

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line up so far: https://www.capitalcrime.org/guests/

Talk about a dream lineup… 

Abir Mukherjee| Ian Rankin| Kate Atkinson | Martina Cole | Ann Cleeves| Mark Billingham | |Tom Bradby | John Connolly| David Baldacci | Frank Gardner | Robert Glenister | Robert Harris | Charles Cumming  Peter James | Lynda La Plante | Simon Mayo | Steph McGovern | Kate Mosse | Denise Mina| Leye Adenle| Dreda Say Mitchell | |Catherine Steadman | Stella Rimington | Don Winslow | And many, many more to come… 

Capital Crime today announces further names for its inaugural festival taking place this September at the Connaught Rooms in London. Mark Billingham, Martina Cole, Ian Rankin, Ann Cleeves, Don Winslow, Robert Glenister, Leye Adenle, Denise Mina, Catherine Steadman and Abir Mukherjee are among the guests announced today.

The first international crime and thriller festival in London, Capital Crime offers fans unprecedented access to their favourite crime and thriller creatives. Capital Crime is a celebration of books, films and TV and the line-up is an unrivalled mix of world class talent, rising stars and newcomers. Capital Crime is a must for fans of all things crime and thriller.

Among the stellar list of speakers are Kate Atkinson, David Baldacci, Ann Cleeves, Robert Harris, Peter James, Lynda La Plante, Simon Mayo, and Kate Mosse.  (list of confirmed guests can be found here: https://www.capitalcrime.org/guests/).

The crime and thriller community is excited about Capital Crime.

Martina Cole (No Mercy – Headline – Autumn) said: ‘We have all been waiting for a London based festival like Capital Crime.  It’s fantastic to see such a diverse line up of crime and thriller writers taking part.  David Headley and Adam Hamdy have put together an amazing programme of events for the first crime festival in London and I’m thrilled to be part of it.’

Ann Cleeves (The Long Call – Pan Macmillan – September)  ‘I’m delighted to be taking part in the very first Capital Crime and can’t wait to meet readers and writers in London in September.’

Best-selling London based author Abir Mukherjee (Smoke and Ashes – Vintage – June) said: ‘London is one of the world’s great cities, the setting, and often the inspiration, for some most infamous true crimes and some of the world’s best loved fictional detectives. It’s the home of Scotland Yard, Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes and a natural location for a festival bringing together international fans and authors in a celebration of the very best and latest that crime fiction has to offer. It’s long overdue and I hope Capital Crime becomes a regular fixture in the crime fiction calendar.’

Panels of note include: The Interrogation of Mark Billingham: The bestselling author is put through his paces by Graham Bartlett, an experienced police interrogator; Ian Rankin discusses The Human Cost of Crime with Don Winslow. Also there is a quiz panel Whose Crime is it Anyway? pitting debut crime and thriller authors against each other with Paul Clayton hosting; The Forensic Mind: Denise Mina and Ann Cleeves discuss what makes a great detective, moderated by Chris Ewan;  Plus Are We Living in An Espionage Thriller: Tom Bradby, Charles Cumming, Frank Gardner and Stella Rimington offer their unique insights into events that concern us all.

Capital Crime is a diverse, inclusive and socially responsible festival, running initiatives including social outreach to support students exploring a literary career, an innovative digital festival and the launch of their New Voices Award. The festival is the brainchild of British screenwriter Adam Hamdy and Managing Director of Goldsboro Books, David Headley.

David Headley: ‘It is thrilling to announce more fantastic authors and creatives who are attending our first Capital Crime festival. The support and enthusiasm we have received is wonderfully encouraging and we are looking forward to an amazing inaugural event.’

Adam Hamdy: ‘We’re excited to be able to reveal more of the Capital Crime line-up. We’re very grateful for the support we’ve had from authors and the publishing community and can’t wait to bring our exciting new festival to London.’

Tickets for the festival are now on sale at https://www.capitalcrime.org/

About David Headley

David Headley studied theology in London and Durham before co-founding and becoming the Managing Director of Goldsboro Books, a much admired, leading independent bookseller, based in central London.

He has gained a reputation for championing debut authors and he created the UK’s largest collectors’ book club. David has won awards for bookselling and in 2015 he was included in the Top 100 most influential people in publishing by The Bookseller.

David is also the MD of The Dome Press, a small, independent publisher based in London, and co-founder of Capital Crime.

About Adam Hamdy

Adam Hamdy is a London-born, British screenwriter and author. Adam recently signed a three-book deal with Pan Macmillan. BLACK THIRTEEEN, the first book in the new thriller series, will be published in autumn 2019. As a screenwriter, Adam is currently adapting a multi-million copy New York Times bestselling novel for a US studio. In the past year he has written screenplays for four Academy Award-winning production companies on both sides of the Atlantic. Adam has a degree in Law from Oxford University and a degree in Philosophy from the University of London. He is a seasoned skier, rock climber, and marksman.

 

About New Voices Award

Capital Crime will be launching an exciting competition to help undiscovered crime and thriller authors further their writing careers. Writers are invited to upload the first three chapters of their novel to the Capital Crime website and festival attendees will be able to vote for their top choice. The ten entrants with the most votes will be invited to the Opening Night Cocktail Party and the winner of the New Voices Award will be selected from that shortlist and announced on the night. 

About Capital Crime Social Outreach Initiative

Capital Crime is a diverse, inclusive and socially responsible festival. With more cuts than ever to creative programmes in schools and universities across the United Kingdom, Capital Crime wants to support the communities on their doorstep to ensure they do not miss out on the opportunity to meet leading industry professionals and authors. Capital Crime’s Social Outreach Initiative hopes to inspire and educate aspiring talent and includes events with bestselling authors and publishing professionals for state-funded sixth-form students and special ticket rates for librarians and low-income families.

Photos of the first event here: https://twitter.com/CapitalCrime1/status/1113409181778948096 

About the Capital Crime Digital Festival 

Capital Crime is launching a Digital Festival in conjunction with the live event. This will provide an opportunity to reach crime and thriller writers and readers all year round. The Capital Crime Digital Festival will showcase interviews, profiles and features with over 70 authors on multiple platforms after the inaugural festival. It will be regularly updated throughout the year with new and engaging content.

www.capitalcrime.digital

For more information on Capital Crime please contact:  Sophie Ransom and Phoebe Swinburn at Midas PR on sophie.ransom@midaspr.co.uk @sophmidas andphoebe.swinburn@midaspr.co.uk @phoebe_swinburn or call them on: 020 7361 7860


Introducing the new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge Device

May 2, 2019

TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGH!

Introducing the new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device, called BOOK

BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology; no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected, or switched on. It’s easy to use. Even a child can operate it.

Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere – even sitting in an armchair by the fire – yet it is powerful enough to hold as much as a CD-ROM.

BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with one of two different custom devices, a BINDER or DOUBLE STITCH BINDING, which keep the sheets in their correct sequence. Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density.

Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly to your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet.

BOOK never crashes nor requires rebooting. The “browse” function allows instant movement to any sheet, forward or backward, as one wishes. Many come with an “index” feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.

An optional “Bookmark” accessory allows you to open this device to the exact place you left it in a previous session — even if the device has been closed. bookmarks fit universal design standards; thus, a single bookmark can be used in devices by various manufacturers. Conversely, numerous bookmarkers can be used in a single device if the user wants to store numerous views at once. The number is limited only by the number of pages in the device. You can also make personal notes next to the text entries in this device with the optional programming tool, Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Styli (PENCILS).

Portable, durable, and affordable, BOOK is being hailed as a precursor of a new entertainment wave. BOOK’s appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform and investors are reportedly flocking to the medium. Look for a flood of new books at your local library or bookstore!

Welcome to Throwback Thursday; I originally posted this in 2001! Still holds up. Wish I knew who wrote it but I could not find a definitive answer. Another internet mystery…


What I’m Reading: Alyson Richman

April 22, 2019

Author Alyson Richman shares three books that she hasn’t been able to put down!

Click to purchase

THE SECRET OF CLOUDS by Alyson Richman

Named One of the Best 2019 Winter Books by PopSugar and Chosen as One of 9 Books to Read (or Gift!) This February by Instyle!

From the #1 international bestselling author of The Lost Wife and The Velvet Hours comes an emotionally charged story about a mother’s love, a teacher’s promise, and a child’s heart….

Katya, a rising ballerina, and Sasha, a graduate student, are young and in love when an unexpected tragedy befalls their native Kiev. Years later, after the couple has safely emigrated to America the consequences of this incident cause their son, Yuri, to be born with a rare health condition that isolates him from other children. Maggie, a passionate and dedicated teacher agrees to tutor Yuri at his home, even though she is haunted by her own painful childhood memories. As the two forge a deep and soulful connection, Yuri’s boundless curiosity and unique wisdom inspires Maggie to make difficult changes in her own life. And she’ll never realize just how strong Yuri has made her—until she needs that strength the most….

A novel that will make readers examine what it means to live life with a full heart.

Kindle

Audible


A letter to authors from a rabid reader & reviewer

March 31, 2019

Dear authors,

I am writing you this letter because I love you and feel that you need a tiny bit of advice. Certainly not all of you, but some of you. Especially the newbies.

I am here to discuss your web presence and why it is important.

You may not know that I have been reading about a book a day for most of my life. I have long championed books and reading, and I was one of the first book bloggers out there. I started writing about books in the early 1980’s on CompuServe (if you’re old enough to remember that!) then discussed books in various chat rooms on AOL (waving at “Men with Minds”) then started my own website in 1994 using (the long defunct) GeoCities. I found it a great way to remember books I’d read and books I wanted to read.

A year or so later, a publicist (I think it was Miriam Parker from Time Warner, and I really, really wish I could remember the title of the first book I gave away!) reached out to me, asking me if I wanted to give away some of their books. I loved getting free books and figured other people would too so I jumped all over that. Oh, I was getting my free books from work, I was a bookseller for Borders. Another defunct company. We received galleys and one of the benefits of working there was getting a book allowance each month to purchase books. Plus a deep, dirty secret was that we were allowed to borrow books! Hardcover only, one at a time, and the book jacket was kept in the store to keep it pristine and help keep track of the books that were borrowed. But I digress.

In 1998, my husband bought me my own domain name  and I started a book review site. It’s ridiculously easy and pretty cheap to buy a domain name; I use GoDaddy.Here we are, more than twenty years later, and I am proud to say that in addition to posting to thousands of reviews, I’ve also given away thousands of books. Yes, thousands. Sadly, I never really kept track of the books I gave away, an opportunity lost. But I do remember the very first book I reviewed for a professional, authoritative journal – Must Love Dogs by Claire Cook, for Library Journal.

Anyway, that’s enough background on how I ended up here. Now here is my two cents.

If you are a published author, if you have a book for sale anywhere, then you need a website. There is just no avoiding it. I am constantly amazed at how many authors don’t feel the need for one. Every month I give away a bunch of signed books in partnership with the International Thriller Writers organization (free membership for authors!) When I publicize those books, I like to include ways for readers to connect with the authors. It doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but especially today, here in 2019, there is just no excuse for not having a website and yet several times a year I can’t find a website for an author.

I don’t care if your day job is doctor, lawyer, or CIA chief, if you are selling books, you need a website. You don’t have to build it yourself! Here, contact xuni.com, they have been doing author websites since 1998! They are super easy to work with, really creative and professional and not only will they build you a website, they will take care of it for you. At, from what I understand, a very reasonable cost. Don’t like them? There are lots of others. Go to a few of your favorite authors websites and scroll down to the bottom. There you will usually find information on whoever built the site. If you can’t find it, ask me. I’m a librarian, I do research for a living and I’d be happy to help, gratis.

By the way, your website needs to look professional. You don’t have to spend a ton to make it look good but if you’re going to do this, do it right. I have seen some author websites that are truly awful. Even some NYT bestselling authors! I have even gently suggested that they might want to freshen up their web look. Not everyone takes my advice. So sad. Let’s face it, I am opinionated – hence the book reviews! Anyway…

Meet Loki. Yes, he is smiling. And reading on my iPad.

You also need a social media presence. At minimum, Twitter and the big, bad, evil empire itself, Facebook. You don’t have to link your personal FB page, you can build a Fan Page, it’s easy peasy. Here are directions courtesy of WikiHow. Once you have a fan page and Twitter feed, you don’t have to do a lot but you have to be there and check in once in a while. Instagram would be good, too. Post pictures of your book covers, author events, and your dog. Depending on the type of book you write, Pinterest. Have you been interviewed on TV? Then build yourself a YouTube channel. Have something to say? Say it on your blog or reddit or tumblr! This is not difficult or time consuming. I’ve even provided you with links! Just click and do it. Oh, and if you’ve published a book, you’re already on Goodreads so you might as well link to your page on your website.

If you’re not sure what authors should do or not do. go look. Here are a few that have great web presence: Lisa Scottoline; Chris Bohjalian; and just in case you think you have to be a NY Times bestselling author to have a strong web presence, check out Nancy J. Cohen, she has an amazing web presence. She could teach classes on it. In fact, she has! Which reminds me, if you belong to a writing organization like Mystery Writers of America, ITW or Romance Writers of America, etc. they often have great information on how to do all this stuff on their websites and at their conferences.

Which brings me to my next point.

If you do have a social media presence, or are in the process of creating one, please, please make sure you include links to your feeds on your website. Why do I have to Google the shit out of you to find your Twitter feed? That defeats the purpose! And just a bit of advice here, you may not want to create a FB or Twitter page based on your character’s name or book title. What happens when you branch out into something else? Be forward thinking, use your real name or your pseudonym. If you have to add “writer” or “author” or “books” to it to get that name, do so. Maybe shorten it up a bit by using initials, like Robyn Carr, or as I think of her, @RCarrWriter does.

Okay, I think that’s it. This stuff has been weighing on me for years. Years! Frankly, it amazes me that publishers aren’t forcing their authors into this stuff. The smart ones do. Oh, and if you’re self published, that is no excuse! It’s even more important for you to be out there and accessible to your readers. Will you get cranky hate mail? You may. Feel free to delete. Will you get into Twitter wars? With any luck, yes! Just remember that old adage, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Librarian at work (you can tell by the glasses)

Please, if you have any questions about any of this and don’t have a teenager to ask, I am here for you and happy to help. Librarian, remember? I am really good at finding information and happy to help you in any way I can. No, I won’t build you a website but short of that, ask me.

Thanks for reading; now go sell some books!

with love,

Stacy
your favorite BookBitch

PS: I cannot believe how many exclamation points I’ve used in this letter. Rant. Letter. Whatever. Just FYI, I loathe exclamation points. I feel that the words should be powerful enough on their own but apparently not here, not today. Moving on now…

 

 


What I’m Reading: Michael Beschloss

January 21, 2019

Michael Beschloss, author of many super interesting books including his latest, PRESIDENTS OF WAR,on what he’s reading. I’m curious!


Merry Christmas 2018!

December 25, 2018

Thank you to all my readers, those who comment, those who email, and those who just lurk. I know you’re there and I appreciate every one of you!

Last week I had another eye surgery and am slowly recovering. Hopefully, this will be the last, at least for a long, long time. I’m very hopeful that my vision will return soon. Fortunately, I am still able to read! This, working on a computer, is especially difficult right now. But this too shall pass.

I wish you all a joyous holiday season. I hope you get to share it with people you love and of course, good books to read!


George R. R. Martin’s Guide to New York City Pizza

December 20, 2018

Just for the fun of it!