The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2013

Literature Festival 2013 is nearly here!

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It’s so nearly here – just 10 minutes’ walk away, marquee-building has started in the gardens and after months of planning the team is itching to get on site and get on with the Festival. But our work’s not yet done : briefings and books to be sent to panelists, transport and accommodation queries to sort out for artists, invitations to receptions, tickets to send to schools, production meetings, marketing meetings. A quick dash home for a bite of supper then back to the emails again. Heads are down, fingers tapping away on computers or phones glued to ears. We’re all concentrating hard on making this huge Festival perfect.

Although we’ve enjoyed a fantastic buzz from our record-breaking opening weeks of sale, worryingly, rumours seem to be circulating that there are no tickets left for the Festival. It’s not true: while around 55 events have sold out, there are still plenty of tickets left for hundreds of fabulous events. What about:

PG Wodehouse in Words and Music with lifelong fan Terry Wogan
Brian May and Midge Ure on Live Aid: the day that rocked the world
• Or Richard and Judy – the couple who revolutionised the book club and have now turned their hands to writing themselves.
• There are even a few tickets left for Bridget Jones author Helen Fielding, if you’re quick!

Myself, I’m looking forward to some intriguing events – in particular actor Sam West talking about playing George VI in Hyde Park on Hudson – a film which tells the extraordinary story of the new King’s ground-breaking meeting with Franklin D Roosevelt in 1939.

And I can bet the atmosphere will be electric when David Aaronovitch interviews Vicky Pryce on her views on Prisonomics.

Nicholas Hytner has had a fascinating decade leading the National Theatre to a new global audience with successes like The History Boys, War Horse and One Man, Two Guvnors.

Kate Humble – such an engaging screen presence from Springwatch and Autumnwatch – shares her journey from townie to farmer.

And Stephen Poliakoff, creator of some of the most talked-about television dramas of the past decade joins us in conversation to explore the power of the small screen.

So don’t worry if you haven’t got round to booking yet – you still can get tickets for lots of brilliant events in the Festival. Just don’t leave it too late…