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Free Event Highlights at #cheltlitfest

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Our brand-new weekly blog invites you behind the scenes to hear from our Literature Festival programming team, Guest Curators and authors. They’ll share their excitement about their part of the programme and what they are looking forward to most.

Literature Festival Programme and Commissions Manager Lyndsey Fineran, Programme Manager Ellie Petrie and Literature Festival Co-ordinator Ffion Molyneux pick out their festival free event highlights…

Lit Crawl

Saturday 5 October

Unheard and Lives of Colour at The Sober Parrot (5pm – 6pm and 6.30pm – 9pm)

Showcases of two brilliant community initiatives under one roof:
UNHEARD: The Everyman Theatre and Cheltenham Poetry Festival have been working with vulnerable local people from the P3 charity and working to give them a voice through poetry, which they’ll be sharing in this event.
Lives of Colour celebrate difference by giving a platform for people from all ethnicities and social-economic backgrounds to share their story and they’ve got an amazing night of spoken word, music and delicious East African food lined up.

Waterstones Takeover (6pm – 9pm)

Waterstones Cheltenham have a stunning new event space and cafe and they’re got a killer literary evening lined up to open it in style. Stop by to see bestselling author Anna Hope in conversation, sample Literary Tarot sessions from Litwitchure, have a poem written for you by The Versability Shop and catch an incredible Greek mythology-inspired poetry reading from the uber-cool Nikita Gill. Drop-in any time from 6-9pm.

Alternative Book Club Pub Quiz at Boston Tea Party (7.30pm – 9pm)

A bookish take on a pub quiz has become a staple of the Crawl, with Harry Potter and ‘Prizes and Prejudice’ themed nights packing out venues. This year the brilliant Alternative Book Club are running the show and you can expect rounds such as ‘Name the classic from this ridiculous plot description’ and ‘Book titles in emoji’. Come alone or bring a team.

Raise the Bar and After Party at Bottle of Sauce (Saturday 5 October 9pm until the early hours)

I spend a lot of time in Bristol, where the spoken word scene is the best it’s ever been and Raise the Bar is the poetry night I never miss. They’re bringing a top line-up to Bottle of Sauce to mark the Crawl’s finale before 5 Mics and DJs from the Selextorhood Collective keep us going late into the night.

The Huddle

The Huddle is filled with exciting gems to drop into during your visit to the Festival, showcasing incredible local talent and delving into a range of exciting topics, be sure not to miss;

A Very Short Introduction to… (Monday 7 – Friday 11 October 11.30am – 12.00pm and 2.30pm – 3pm)

From poetry to emotion, reading and Charles Dickens to secularism, listen as experts tell you everything you ever wanted to know about these big topics. These bitesize talks are a Huddle favourite every year and the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.

Cheltenham Writes! (Monday 7 October – Friday 11 October 4.30pm – 5pm)

It’s really exciting to be able to showcase the talents of authors local to Cheltenham in the Huddle and this year we’ve got a cracking line up from a range of different areas. Whether you’re into fiction, comic books, children’s writing or parenting it’s great to come and support local talent and be inspired by their writing journeys.

Getting stuck in

New to the Huddle this year we are kicking off our opening day with two amazing events to get you really thinking. Learn The Art Of Mindful Reading (Friday 4 October, 2.15pm – 3.15pm) with Bibliotherapist Ella Berthoud as she explains the benefits of reading and how you can use reading for daily nourishment. Next join Philippa Stanton to learn how to release your full creative potential and unlock your inner flow in an exciting workshop, Conscious Creativity (Friday 4 October, 4.30pm – 5.30pm).

Festival Club

Friday 4, Saturday 5, Friday 11 and Saturday 12 October, 10pm – 1am

If you don’t want the literary revelry to end, join us after-hours at Hotel du Vin! With sets from amazing 3D Brass, Argle Bargle and Ben Cipolla and The Nouvelle House Band these are nights not to be missed.