O'Farrell, Whitehead, Osman and Slimani join Cheltenham Festival line-up

O'Farrell, Whitehead, Osman and Slimani join Cheltenham Festival line-up

Maggie O'Farrell, Colson Whitehead, Richard Osman and Leïla Slimani are among authors confirmed for the Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival this year.

Running from 8th to 17th October, the festival will be open to live audiences at all its venues, with highlights curated for the CheltLitPlayer. The theme, "Read the World", will draw on the festival’s international connections as well as digital technology, to showcase new voices in fiction and poetry, alongside literary stalwarts and high-profile speakers and thinkers.

O’Farrell will be this year’s "Desert Island Books" castaway and will reflect on the six books that have shaped her reading and writing life, while authors including Monique Roffey, Slimani, Elif Shafak, Colm Tóibín, Ruth Ozeki, Sebastian Faulks, Sarah Hall, Raven Leilani and Jeanette Winterson will discuss their latest work. 

The festival will also include a commissioned series of interviews with major world writers, including double Pulitzer-winner Whitehead, the Australian Lifetime Achievement in Literature Award-winner Helen G Giedarner, Latin American literature giant Isabel Allende and Nobel Prize-winner Olga Tokarczuk. It has been filmed in collaboration with a range of international festival partners including Ake Arts and Book Festival in Nigeria and the Melbourne Writers’ Festival.

Osman will discuss his record-breaking debut crime novel, Sara Moss will be hosting an exclusive preview for her latest novel The Fell (Pan Macmillan), while Amor Towles will appear for his first UK event for The Lincoln Highway (Cornerstone).

Detransition, Baby  author Torrey Peters (Serpent's Tail) will discuss the similarities of detransition and divorce with Elizabeth Day, who will also present her new novel, Magpie (HarperCollins) in conversation with Caroline O’Donoghue.

Lenny Henry will also unveil his first book for children, while Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, and authors Liz Pichon, Jacqueline Wilson, Rob Biddulph, David Baddiel and Ben Miller and illustrator and designer Dapo Adeola will feature discussing their work. 

Elsewhere, Malorie Blackman will be celebrating 20 years of Noughts & Crosses (PRH) and Open Water (Viking) author Caleb Azumah Nelson will share the work of photographers who are "redefining art for the modern age".

Other authors on the line-up include a new generation crime and thriller voices Saima Mir, Janice Hallett and Zakiya Dalila Harris, comedians Mel Giedroyc and Dawn French, and author and journalists Otegha Uwagba and Matthew Syed. 

Previously announced guest curator Bernardine Evaristo will be reflecting on her three decades as a trailblazing writer and activist through to Booker winner in Manifesto, as well as curating a panel featuring Mary Jean Chan, Paul Mendez, Andrew McMillan and Richard Scott in a celebration of queer writers.