Cliveden Literary Festival launches starring Harris and McEwan

Cliveden Literary Festival launches starring Harris and McEwan

A new literary festival will take place at the 17th century property where the Profumo Affair began, featuring authors such as Sebastian Faulks, Lady Antonia Fraser and Ian McEwan.

The “boutique festival” will focus on politics and history and will take place from 14th to 15th October 2017 in the surroundings of the National Trust-owned Cliveden House (pictured) and its gardens in Berkshire. The Grade I-listed property offers a “unique and extraordinary history of politics and intrigue, aristocracy and espionage, sex and scandal”. It is also believed to have inspired writers such as Alexander Pope, George Bernard Shaw, Jonathan Swift and Lord Tennyson and Sir Winston Churchill.

The festival was announced in London last night and the themes will include “high politics and low scandal, the influence of brilliant women and the role of history in the movies, the Munich crisis to the Russian revolutions and the rise of Zionism”. Other speakers include historians Simon Schama, Simon Sebag Montifiore, Bettany Hughes as well as Robert Harris, Howard Jacobson and author Frances Osborne.

Author and chairman of the Cliveden Literary Festival, Natalie Livingstone, said: “While researching my book The Mistresses of Cliveden [Penguin Random House imprint Hutchinson], I discovered that Cliveden has always been a magnet for truly great writers from Jonathan Swift to Tennyson, J M Barrie to H G Wells and George Bernard Shaw to Rudyard Kipling. The Cliveden literary festival will revive this tradition by gathering an impressive array of authors of today in a place that resonates with history and literature.”

Built in 1666 by the second Duke of Buckingham, George Villiers, Cliveden has been home to an Earl, three Countesses, two Dukes, a Prince of Wales and the Viscounts Astor. Most recently, Cliveden became notorious in the collective consciousness as the site of the Profumo Affair, the sex-and-espionage scandal that brought down a government in the sixties.

Cliveden is now owned by the National Trust, which supports the festival, and leased as a five-star hotel. It will be presented in association with Champagne Taittinger, Citi Private Bank, Iconic Luxury Hotels and John Sandoe Books.

A full programme of events with all authors taking part as well as talks, workshops and salons, will be announced in June when tickets will go on sale. Visit clivedenliteraryfestival.org