Audible is among four new partners joining with the Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival to deliver the charity's "hybrid" event this year.
Times Radio, the Bupa Foundation and Marquee TV, the streaming service provider for the festivals virtual events, are also partnering with the festival. Returning partners include Waterstones, Sky Arts and Baillie Gifford.
Running from 2nd to 11th October, the world's oldest literature festival will be live streamed for the first time and run a combination of digital and in-person events with writers, thinkers, performers and new voices.
Audible will support perfromances including "A Good Listen: The Making of an Audiobook", which will give viewers an insight into audio narration with actor Imogen Church and crime writer Mark Billingham. Audible will also head up audio performances from Niamh Campbell, winner of the Sunday Times Short Story Award, and the "Diverse Ideas, Ground Breaking Writing" event featuring representatives from Jacaranda Books. The press will discuss their trailblazing initiative, which sees 20 works by 20 black writers published in 2020.
Kevin Addley, country manager at Audible in the UK, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Cheltenham Literature Festival to create a programme of live and digital experiences celebrating the art of audio entertainment. We will be taking book and audio lovers behind the scenes to discover how audiobooks are created, celebrating exciting and diverse new voices in audio with our partners Jacaranda Books and The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award, and sharing a preview of a selection of new Audible Originals coming this Autumn.”
The line-up for the digital and physical programme has been guest curated by Elif Shafak and Dishoom’s Shamil Thakrar.
There will be over 160 events with more than 100 broadcast live from Cheltenham’s Town Hall and the Everyman Theatre in front of a socially distanced live audience.
Novelists on the bill include Nick Hornby on his first novel in six years, Just Like You (Viking), Andrew O’Hagan with Mayflies (Faber), and John Lanchester giving a taster of his upcoming story collection Reality and Other Stories (Faber). Breakout debut author Naoise Dolan will reflect on the success of Exciting Times (W&N).
There are also appearances from writers including Dolly Alderton, D B C Pierre and Victoria Hislop with pre-recorded talks from Kiley Reid, Ann Patchett and Elizabeth Strout, alongside Edna O’Brien who will receive this year’s Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence.
Ian George, Festival Director of Cheltenham Festivals, said: “Cheltenham Festivals are committed to working with partners who support our charitable mission, and share our ambition and passion. This year’s Literature Festival and its pioneering hybrid format is a bold move for us and the industry—it could change landscape of literary festivals for the future. We are thrilled to have the continued confidence of our longstanding partners and also to welcome three dynamic new additions to our festival family. Together, we are set to reach a new, virtual audience and ensure that our exceptional offering is more accessible than ever before—and we can’t wait to see the next chapter in the Cheltenham Literature Festival story unfold in October.”
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