One of the most popular literary festivals in the world, the Times Cheltenham Literature Festival has an incredible line-up for 2015. This year, the 10-day festival is expected to sell more than 100,000 tickets, attracting visitors from across the globe.
The 2015 Cheltenham Literature Festival features more than 600 world-renowned writers, poets, comedians, politicians, designers and thinkers. Each year the festival has an over-arching theme, with last year’s “Brave New Worlds” theme focusing on technology, democracy, and the future. The 2015 theme is “Defining moments from the past, present and future”
History of the Event
The Cheltenham Literature Festival has a long history which dates back to 1949, making it the longest running literature festival of its type in the world. The festival was initiated by Spa Manager George Wilkinson and Tewkesbury-based author John Moore with the simple goal of celebrating literature.
Over the past 66 years the festival has presented thousands of authors, performers and influential thinkers including: Ian McEwan, Sue Townsend, Gordon Brown, Stephen Fry, Michael Palin, Doris Lessing, Patrick Stewart, Rik Mayall, Patrick Stewart and Richard Attenborough.
There are dozens of events at the festival this year including lectures, storytelling, writing workshops, education projects, comedy performances, poetry readings, interviews and book groups.
Each year the Cheltenham Literature Festival features a different book as the ‘Festival Big Read’ — a book for attendees to read and discuss. The 2014 big read was Laurie Lee’s classic, Cider with Rosie. This year’s big read will be announced shortly.
The biggest drawcard for the festival is the chance to hear authors and poets speak about their work. This year some of the world-renowned writers involved in talks include:
• Peter Carey
The Booker prize-winning Australian novelist will participate in an interview at the event. This year Carey is set to receive The Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence.
• John Banville
Award-winning Irish novelist and screenwriter will be talking about his work
• Julian Barnes
Author of Booker prize-winning The Sense of an Ending
• Anne Enright
Irish author who wrote the very popular novel The Gathering
• Pat Barker
Author of the Regeneration Trilogy, dealing with the First World War
• Salman Rushdie
The famous British-Indian novelist and essayist will be talking about his work
• Audrey Niffenegger
The author of The Time Traveller’s Wife will be appearing to discuss her recent work.
• Patrick Gale
The author of ‘A Perfectly Good Man’
A number of debut authors will also be in attendance including Laura Barnett, Claire Fuller, Francesca Haig, Julia Rochester, Sarah Leipciger and Helena Coggan.
This year’s guest director will be the rapper George the Poet, a selection reflected by the number of high-quality poetry events over the 10 days. People giving poetry performances and discussing poetry include: Les Murray, Wendy Cope, Paul Muldoon and Oxford’s professor of poetry Simon Armitage.
Non-fiction authors giving talks at the event include:
• Robert Macfarlane will talk about his recent bestseller Landmarks.
• Shakespearean scholar James Shapiro will be talking about all things Shakespearian
• Robert Tombs, the author of The English and Their History, talking about British history
• Ian Kershaw, author of The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation will be taking this important time in Europe’s history
From the political realm, conservative politician Nigel Lawson, British economist Gus O’Donnell and Labour Party politician Alistair Darling will explain ‘How to Write a Budget’. James Rubin, former US Assistant Secretary of State will talk about the history of the Cold War.
When and Where
The event will be held Friday 2 to Sunday 11 October 2015 at the Cheltenham Town Hall, Imperial Square and Montpellier Gardens.
The Cheltenham Literature Festival is your chance to meet your favourite authors and celebrate literature while enjoying beautiful Cheltenham! Tickets go on sale soon.