Monday, 19 September 2011

A Journey of Discovery at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

 7-16 October 2011

500 inspiring, exciting and star-studded events at
The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2011.

Tickets are now on sale to see over 600 of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers, poets, politicians, actors and modern wits will come together in Cheltenham’s most ambitious programme yet.

Book It!  - the festival for families and young readers is at the thriving core of the programme with fun, exciting and surprising events every day of the Festival. Angelina Ballerina, Peppa Pig, The Gruffalo, Horrid Henry and Kipper will all be making an appearance alongside esteemed authors Michael Morpurgo, Lauren Child, Julia Donaldson and David Walliams.

Age 6+. Join in with Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson and her husband Malcolm for a grand singalong from her irresistible songbooks and stories.


Age 9-13. Meet Chris Bradford, author of the award-winning Young Samurai series, and learn what it takes to become a young samurai.

 Age 12+. Don't miss two extraordinary and highly-acclaimed writers in conversation about their recent prize-winning novels. Jason Wallace's powerful Costa-award-winning novel Out of Shadows is set in a war-torn Zimbabwe. Patrick Ness's electrifying Monsters of Men, set in a dystopian future, is the final part of his Chaos Walking trilogy, and won this year's Carnegie Medal.

Meet and learn from industry experts. Barry Cunningham, Chicken House MD and Publisher, will be joined by The Times' Children's Book Critic Amanda Craig and Sophia Bennett, former winner of The Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition. Further added to the mix are Melvin Burgess, author of often controversial, yet highly successful, young adult fiction and Zoe King from The Blair Partnership, JK Rowling's literary agency.

A rare chance to meet two highly acclaimed, award-winning writers in conversation. Meg Rosoff and Jennifer Donnelly.


Age 7-11. Are you a vampire or a werewolf? Dress as your spookiest Halloween character and join in the mayhem as Tommy Donbavand unleashes his Vampires v Werewolves Game Show

Just some of the highlights from the Book It! festival for families, younger readers and children's authors.  
Please go to
for more details and to book tickets before the events sell out.

2011 also sees the creation of Cheltenham’s new literary quarter in Montpellier Gardens, just two minutes’ walk from the tented village in Imperial Square. Montpellier Gardens will welcome four brand-new venues, a huge bookshop, a sparkling Spiegeltent, delicious cafés, and quiet corners to relax with a book, catch-up with friends or enjoy storytelling, poetry and a smorgasbord of fantastic free events.

The joy of reading a good book remains at the heart of the 2011 programme with a host of outstanding and inspiring writers taking centre stage throughout the Festival. Booker Prize-winning novelists Penelope Lively, A S Byatt, Ben Okri and Howard Jacobson will all be introducing Cheltenham to their latest works – and there will be a chance to meet the authors making the 2011 shortlist in an exclusive Man Booker Prize event. Bestselling thriller writer Lee Child will discuss his hugely successful career and new novel The Affair; crime writers extraordinaire Ruth Rendell and Val McDermid take a look at the extraordinary success of British crime fiction; and American author Anne Rice comes exclusively to Cheltenham to discuss her own gothic fiction including Interview with a Vampire, which inspired the Brad Pitt film. Classic literature is also explored as the lives and works of Virginia Woolf, Mervyn Peake, Lord Byron, Arthur Miller, Charles Dickens and H G Wells are all discussed, debated and enjoyed by experts and biographers. The joy of reading is explored to its full with the Bonne Maman Big Read, which aims to get festival fans reading this year’s inspiring classic – Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.

Alongside the literary greats, the 2011 line-up is bursting with big names from the small and silver screens. Screen legend Christopher Lee will join his niece, and highly acclaimed actress, Harriet Walter to look back at their very different acting careers; whilst John Landis, one of Hollywood’s most renowned directors, looks at life on the other side of the lens. Terry Wogan, Jonathan Ross, Fern Britton, Penelope Keith, Joanna Lumley, Larry Lamb and ‘dragon’ Duncan Bannatyne are just some of the popular faces to look out for in Cheltenham this autumn.

A brand new series of events put together with The Radio Times will see the Festival take a behind the scenes look at some of the country’s favourite television and radio programmes – the creators and cast will reveal what happens during the making of Downton Abbey; cast members reveal what it is like being part of the country’s longest running soap, The Archers; Arlene Phillips is joined by Lilia Kopylova and Darren Bennett to look under the sequins of Strictly Come Dancing; and Adam Henson shares fond memories from Countryfile.

The line-up is bursting with literary laughs thanks to some of the country’s leading comedians. Expect frank and funny conversations from Frank Skinner, Dave Gorman, Marcus Brigstocke, Mark Watson and Will Self – plus look out for Little Britain’s David Walliams as he reveals all about his hilarious and touching new children’s book Billionaire Boy. Modern wit can be enjoyed thanks to the likes of Ian Hislop, Caitlin Moran, Grace Dent and Simon Hoggart.

The Festival thrives on the thrill of a good debate, and this year’s line-up welcomes some leading political figures to Cheltenham. Ed Balls, Tony Benn, Alistair Darling, Michael Portillo and former politician turned multi-million selling author Jeffrey Archer will all be airing their views. Plus, interviewer extraordinaire Jeremy Paxman will examine the influence of the British Empire.

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