Cheltenham Festival to star McEwan, Shriver and Safran Foer

Cheltenham Festival to star McEwan, Shriver and Safran Foer

Ian McEwan, Lionel Shriver and Jonathan Safran Foer are among the prize-winning novelists confirmed for the 67th The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, after the final line-up was formally announced today (13th August).

The final programme reveals an array of top authors, as well as "agenda-setters and opinion-formers", historians, filmmakers, artists, academics, journalists, poets, musicians and comedians, who will attend the celebration spoken and written word in Cheltenham this October.

Sebastian Faulks, Tracy Chevalier, Victoria Hislop and Maggie O’Farrell are also set to appear, along with Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard; poet Simon Armitage, UK Children's Laureate Chris Riddell; winner of the 2015 Costa Frances Hardinge and celebrated children's writer Dame Jacqueline Wilson. Jilly Cooper, Joe Wicks, Deliciously Ella and Great British Bake-Off champion Nadiya Hussain will also be among over 90 writers at the event.

Birthday celebrations can be expected for children's authors Roald Dahl and Beatrix Potter, while YA fans can also see Marcus Sedgwick, Holly Bourne, Holly Smale, CJ Daugherty and Robin Stevens.

Celebrity appearances are rife, with Vivienne Westwood scheduled to take to the stage to talk about fashion and climate change; politicians Ed Balls and Ken Clarke are slated to talk about their respective forthcoming autobiographies Speaking Out (Hutchison) and Kind of Blue (Pan Macmillan); sports journalist Clare Balding will introduce her first children's book, with former astronaut Chris Hadfield set to do the same.

Beyond the main stages creative writing workshops and masterclasses wil be held around Cheltenham, with pop-up performances in the streets and Cheltenham’s "Lit Crawl". There will also be "Festival Lates" on site.

Organisers said the programme, available to view in full at www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature, will embody "Cheltenham’s spirit of enquiry" with "...literary greats rubbing shoulders with fresh new voices, established leaders with Youtube stars, across more than 600 events covering disciplines as diverse as history, politics, film, sport, food, art, fashion, nature, technology and business".

One of the festival's two main themes will be "America Uncovered" exploring US culture, literature, politics and global influence as the festival takes place on the eve of the US general election. The other is "Millennial Lives", throwing a spotlight on the issues closest to, and most affecting, Generation Y, from tech to ideas.

The six guest curators for this year's festival are: American writer, critic and former editor of Granta Magazine John Freeman; professor of American literature Sarah Churchwell and comedian Reginald D Hunter for the "America Uncovered" theme. Meanwhile the "Millennial Lives" events will be shaped by rapper, poet and academic Akala, Girl Lost in the City blogger Emma Gannon and writer and performer Cecilia Knapp.

Baroness Gail Rebuck, chair of The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, said: “Cheltenham Literature Festival 2016 will be the most exciting place to hear writers, politicians, academics and journalists explore new ways of seeing the world. Wide-ranging debates will be scheduled alongside unique opportunities to hear literary greats discuss their work, both past and present.

“There will also be a chance to meet some of the leading figures in film, art, design and food – while also discovering fresh literary voices. And Cheltenham, Britain’s oldest literature festival, will also showcase millennial talent from bloggers to spoken word poets, offering up yet another year of inspired curation and intellectual challenge.”

John Witherow, editor of The Times said: "The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is a high point on our editorial calendars. We are proud of our association with such a stellar literary event, as you can see from the number of our journalists who flock to the festival each Autumn."