FROM history to sport to current affairs, The Stratford Literary Festival has it covered.
The line-up for the autumn festival, running from October 27 to 29 at the Crowne Plaze Hotel, will bring together acclaimed actors and directors, award-winning writers and comedians, plus two of the UK’s most loved children’s writers.
Among the big names making an appearance will be broadcaster Clare Balding, newsreader and broadcaster Clive Myrie veteran actor Timothy West, Sky at Night presenter and astronomer Maggie Aderin-Pocock and bestselling historical writer Philippa Gregory will shine a light on women who have changed history.
Opera, stage and film director Sir Richard Eyre will talk about his career at the forefront of the arts in the UK, and historian and co-presenter of the leading podcast The Rest is History Tom Holland will talk about his latest book Pax: War and Peace in Rome’s Golden Age.
Costa Award-winning author Jonathan Coe will chat with Guardian political sketch writer John Crace, giving their unique take on the times we live in, Times columnist and Matt Chorley will consider the places in the country that have changed politics, while psychology professor Thomas Curran will challenge the modern need to be perfect.
Laughs are set to be provided by horror writer Garth Marenghi aka comedian Matthew Holness, Marcus Brigstocke will be adding Stratford to his Autumn Cheese and Whine tour, matching cheeses to your whinges and hosting a cheese tasting, and Little Britain comedian and Great British Bake-Off compere Matt Lucas will present his debut children’s book at a special event for schools.
Other events in the line-up include Orange Prize-winning novelist Linda Grant, novelists Jo Baker and Jill Dawson, who will also tutor a workshop for writers, obituarist Ann Wroe who considers how one sums up a life, historian Anthony Bale on medieval travel, and festival chair Tim Hubbard talking about his own Secret Gardens book on Cornwall with Victoria Summerley who tours Secret Gardens of the Cotswolds.
People can also get stuck into two workshops and learn to make their own Christmas garland, and crochet their own Shakespeare character – a unique take on the 400th anniversary of the First Folio.
The autumn weekend will also include Halloween fun for children with the chance to make their own masks, have their face painted and hear spooky stories. The illustrator Petr Horáček will be joined by Nicola Davies with their new collaboration The Star Whale.
Outside of the festival dates, two of the UK’s best loved children’s storytellers will be celebrating new work. On October 20, Sir Michael Morpurgo will bring his new Tales of Shakespeare – a retelling of some of the Bard’s most famous works for children – to Holy Trinity Church, and on November 12 the biggest selling children’s author in the UK, Julia Donaldson, brings her charming show The Gruffalo, The Giant and The Mermaid to the Stratford Playhouse.
The Whitbread and BAFTA award-winning novelist Jeanette Winterson will also be appearing in November talking about her new collection of short stories Night Side of the River.
Festival director Annie Ashworth said: “This autumn’s line up is really exciting and bigger than ever.
“We’ve managed to combine comedy with really searching discussion. I am so pleased we have attracted leading names in literature and public comment, broadcasting, film and theatre. Hopefully there will be something for everyone.”
Visit www.stratlitfest.co.uk for tickets and further festival details.