Nikesh Shukla, Konnie Huq and MP Jess Phillips are among the authors on the line-up for the inaugural Words Weekend event in Gateshead.
The festival, from Fane Productions, will take place from 6th to 8th December at Sage Gateshead with a focus on diversity and accessibility. More than 65 events and workshops are planned, with 40% of events free.
Children's author Konnie Huq and Nina Wadia of the award-winning sketch show Goodness Gracious Me will be joined by author Nikesh Shukla to discuss the power of multicultural narratives, in collaboration with Gem Arts, presenters of South Asian culture. Shukla will also join Kerry Hudson in conversation about identity, pversity and social activism in modern Britain.
Former Blue Peter presenter Huq will also host events for children including live draw-alongs, quizzes and games.
Jess Phillips MP will be joining Elizabeth Day’s "How to Fail Live", inspired by Day's book and podcast for an evening about growing from mistakes and not being afraid.
Other authors joining the line-up include Faithful Johannes, Zena Francis, Paisley Gilmour, Tony Gadd, Jackie Hagan, Greg James, Norman Jay MBE, Roisin Crowley Linton, Flo Perry, Katrina Porteous, Jonnie Robinson, Chris Smith and Laura Jane Williams.
Earlier this year organisers confirmed that authors including Marian Keyes, Candice Carty-Williams and Tracy Chevalier will also take part.
Free industry events include Ask the Agents surgeries over the weekend with Curtis Brown Literary Agents and How To Be A Public Author, as well as a chance to hear Carmen Marcus, Cash Carraway and Paul Ewen discuss their personal experiences as debut authors, chaired by Words Weekend ambassador Karolina Sutton.
Five additional Words Weekend festivals are planned for 2020, with the Lowry in Salford and London in July already announced.