A M Homes | Amy Jeffs | Anne Enright | Anton Du Beke | Ardal O’Hanlon | Arqam | Asma Khan
Bonnie Garmus | Bono | Clive Myrie | Caroline O'Donoghue | Charlie Mackesy | Davina McCall
Chloë Ashby | Chris Patten | Christie Watson | Damon Galgut | David Dimbleby | Dolly Alderton
Elizabeth Strout | Erika Fatland | Erinch Sahan | Ferren Gipson | Gabby Logan | Graham Norton
Geoff Dyer | Hollie McNish | Howard Jacobson | Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall | Ian James Cahill | Jeremy Hunt
Jessie Burton | John Walsh | Karl Ove Knausgård | Kate Humble | Kimberly McIntosh | Laura Bates | Leo Houlding
Lyuba Yakimchuk | Maddie Mortimer | Malorie Blackman | Marina Hyde | Mieko Kawakami | Monica Ali
Nadiya Hussain | Nanjala Nyabola | Natalie Haynes | Nathan Law | Nikki May | Oksana Zabuzhko
Olia Hercules | Pragya Agarwal | Raynor Winn | Richard Coles | Richard Osman | Roddy Doyle | Rory Cormac
Sarah Gerrard-Jones | Sophie Ellis-Bextor & Richard Jones | Stanley Tucci | Stephen King
Taylor Jenkins Reid | Thomasina Miers | Tina Brown | Victoria Hislop | Yiyun Li
Dr Alex George | Florence Given | Tiwalola Ogunlesi | Hussain Manawer | Alexis Caught | Francis Bourgeois
Charlie Craggs | Roxie Nafousi | Travis Alabanza | Natalie and Naomi Evans | Yomi Sode | Emily Russell
Joelle Taylor | Deanna Rodgers | Felicity Hayward | Thembe Mvula | Monika Radojevic
Emma-Louise Boynton | Ione Gamble | Dominique Palmer
Celeste Ng | Inua Ellams | Katy Hessel | Justin Webb | Clarisse Loughrey | The Week Junior
The International Book Arsenal Festival, Kyiv | Resident Literary Explorer: Ann Morgan
Joseph Coelho | Lydia Monks | Lenny Henry | A F Steadman | Michael Morpurgo
Onjali Q Raúf | Nick Butterworth | Andy Griffiths | Nick Sharratt
Maggie Aderin-Pocock | Benjamin Dean | Emma Carroll | Greg James | Michael Rosen
Jonathan Stroud | Cressida Cowell | Jasbinder Bilan | Alexis Caught | Andy Griffiths
Rachel Bright | Nina Chakrabarti | Hannah Gold | Mama G | Greg Jenner
Oliver Jeffers | Tom Percival | Christine Pillainayagam
Friday 7 – Sunday 16 October 2022
The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2022 is delighted to announce this year’s unmissable programme, with more than 500 events and close to 1,000 authors and speakers promising an international literary celebration like no other.
From Friday 7 to Sunday 16 October, the world’s foremost writers, thinkers and performers will descend on the vibrant spa town when the Festival village returns to the heart of regency Cheltenham for a jam-packed week of fascinating discussion and unforgettable memories.
With something to cater to all – from avid bookworms to first time visitors – the dynamic programme spans history, food, travel, poetry and spoken word, art, sport, faith, philosophy, fashion, psychology, science, nature, business and much more. The best new voices in fiction and poetry will appear alongside literary giants and high-profile speakers, political thinkers, and beloved stars of the stage and screen.
This year, in a continuation of the Festival’s 3-year ‘Read the World’ theme – which offers a passport to a world of ideas – there will be a dedicated Ukraine Day (Tuesday 11 October) co-curated with The International Book Arsenal Festival, Kyiv, celebrating the country’s unique, rich culture and highlighting the impact of the ongoing conflict on those personally affected. These events are part of the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture organised in partnership with the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute.
An insight-packed current affairs programme – bolstered by top journalists from The Times, The Sunday Times, and Times Radio teams – offers answers to timely questions such as: What do we deserve from our political leaders? What is the relationship between state secrecy and civilian-led investigative work, and is there still a role to be played by the state in concealing sensitive information? What is the true cost of our social media obsession? And what can women in power teach us about leadership?
Cheltenham has a proud history of giving emerging writers their first major platform and the Festival’s support of the next generation of talent continues. The popular Debuts and Cocktails session returns, with a selection of the year’s best first novels showcased on the opening night, while Proof Parties give audiences a chance to discover a new novelist before they’re even published. Winning and shortlisted authors from the 2022 Desmond Elliott Prize for debut novelists will also appear, giving readers a chance to get to know the brightest new literary talent, and New Blood: Crime and Thriller Authors to Watch will showcase the hottest new names in the genre.
Following its launch at last year’s festival, VOICEBOX – Cheltenham Literature Festival’s acclaimed new programme and venue – is back. Dedicated to bringing youth voices to the forefront, it will host free talks, workshops, panels, DJ sets and music, shining a light on the biggest names and rising stars. As well as spoken word, poetry and performance from local and national young talent, events will explore topics and trends that matter to young people, including mental health and wellbeing, activism, and LGBTQ+ experiences, and there will be a film night hosted by guest curator Clarisse Loughrey. Meanwhile, charging into its seventh year in Cheltenham, for one night only Lit Crawl takes over the streets for a free, fast-paced evening of pop-up events and quirky literary happenings. Across surprising locations including record stores, cafes, tattoo parlours and barbershops, the crawl gives a platform to young and emerging comedians, authors, poets and performers including a moving spoken word session with Cheltenham Welcomes Refugees.
The lively Festival village is the perfect setting for a family day out with a bumper programme of events, free activities and workshops, featuring the greatest storytellers and illustrators, sure to inspire a love of reading in children of all ages and stages. The Festival’s flagship education programme Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils, annually reaches 9,000 pupils across the country through a network of teachers’ book groups who read high-quality, diverse children’s literature. This year’s Conference, featuring authors and literacy experts, will empower teachers to bring these books to life in the classroom and inspire reading for pleasure amongst their pupils. Furthermore, this year will see the culmination of Beyond Words, a creative writing project for vulnerable young people unable to access mainstream education in Gloucestershire. Created by writer and poet Caleb Parkin in consultation with previous students, a new creative writing for wellbeing resource launches at VOICEBOX.
Booking for the Literature Festival opens to Cheltenham Festivals Members on Wednesday 31 August and general booking opens on Wednesday 7 September.
READ THE WORLD
This October sees the continuation of a major three-year theme for the Festival which began in 2021: ‘Read the World’. With more international writers than ever, the programme features enlightening discussions between authors from the USA, the Netherlands, Japan, Iceland, Colombia, France, Djibouti, the UAE, Spain, Ireland, and a collaboration with Norway’s leading literature festival in Lillehammer. ‘Read the World’ was inspired by the rich global network of literary festivals that have developed since Cheltenham led the way as the world’s first in 1949, the boundless possibilities offered by powerful partnerships and connections, and the fresh perspectives they bring. The theme takes these possibilities to an international scale, enhanced by the accessibility of digital appearances.
‘Read the World’ themed sessions can be found in every event strand: whether that’s celebrating world cuisines in Food & Drink; tracking the cultural influence of international writers and artists in Classic Literature and Art & Design; the History and Current Affairs strands covering global events; or the Family programme introducing younger bookworms to issues and stories from around the world. The rebranded Huddle stage features a range of free sessions offering insights and reading recommendations from across the globe (including Booker Winner Damon Galgut on South Africa, Ireland’s Ambassador to the US Daniel Mulhall on Irish literature, and Junko Takekawa on books from Japan) as well as a series dedicated to language and translation, poetry and music performances, and a host of authors sharing their latest work.
This year’s Fiction programme is packed full of leading literary names and the most talked about emerging authors, including Ian McEwan, Malorie Blackman, Celeste Ng, Stephen King, Jessie Burton, Elizabeth Strout, Damon Galgut, Bonnie Garmus, Julia May Jonas, Robert Harris, Monica Ali, Karl Ove Knausgård, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Emilie Pine, Mieko Kawakami, Alexander McCall Smith and Yiyun Li.
Multimillion-copy worldwide bestseller and the recipient of an OBE for services to literature Ian Rankin makes his highly-anticipated Cheltenham return with a brand new John Rebus thriller. Women’s Prize winner Kamila Shamsie discusses her epic new novel Best of Friends, an expansive story of childhood friendship beginning in 1980s Karachi. A M Homes, one of America’s leading writers, returns with her first novel in a decade which is immersed in modern American politics. In an intimate Celebrate With... session, where leading writers revisit a career-defining book, Victoria Hislop journeys back to her acclaimed, million-copy No. 1 bestselling novel The Island.
Stephen King – recipient of The Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence 2022 – dials in for a rare, career-spanning interview with Mark Lawson. Directly after this, John Connolly, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, and Catriona Ward gather with presenter Leah Davis to discuss the insights shared by King and his impact on the next generation of genre writers. Elsewhere, three of the best Nordic crime and thriller writers share their new dark reads for dark evenings with European crime fiction expert Barry Forshaw: internationally bestselling Icelandic author Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, emerging Norwegian crime writing star Silje Ulstein, and Finnish author Antti Tuomainen, ‘King of Helsinki Noir’. Richard Osman returns to discuss The Bullet That Missed, the latest in his multi-million copy Thursday Murder Club series while Kenzaburō Ōe Prize-winning author Fuminori Nakamura dials in from Tokyo to discuss his own work and crime fiction in Japan.
Celebrated voices from the world of comedy are out in force. Father Ted actor and now bestselling author Ardal O’Hanlon discusses his acclaimed career and new novel Brouhaha. Known for her award-winning television writing including Gavin and Stacey and Stella, Ruth Jones has gone on to receive similar acclaim for her fiction and will discuss her latest, Love Untold. Author, TV personality and entertainer Graham Norton talks to Mariella Frostrup about his wickedly funny novel Forever Home.
There is a wide offering of ‘Read the World’ events in the Festival’s fiction strand. Norwegian writer Vigdis Hjorth and Canadian author Ainslie Hogarth discuss the portrayal of motherhood in their respective novels. In a panel chaired by author Clare Clark, Celeste Ng, Jessamine Chan and Peter Ho Davies discuss how so-called domestic fiction might also be considered as novels of ideas. As part of her guest curatorship, Ng has also programmed the group discussion Grave New World: Dystopias Around the Globe looking at the relevance of the genre in a world that feels increasingly dystopic, led by returning Literary Explorer in Residence Ann Morgan with Icelandic author Kristín Ómarsdóttir, Franco-Djiboutian author Abdourahman Waberi, and Chinese-American author Jessamine Chan. A rising star of the French literary scene, Maylis Besserie’s novel Yell, Sam, If You Still Can is a fictional account of the last months of Samuel Beckett’s life spent in a Paris nursing home. Together with her acclaimed translator Clíona Ní Ríordáin, she speaks to Literature Ireland’s Sinéad Mac Aodha. Two powerful books about Northern Ireland by Louise Kennedy (Trespasses) and Jan Carson (The Raptures) are the focus of a conversation with Laura Hackett of The Sunday Times. Exploring themes of home and displacement, Caryl Lewis and Rodaan Al Galidi discuss writing the refugee experience, whilst Lyuba Yakimchuk and Olesya Khromeychuk share the harsh, personal reality of the war in Ukraine. Elsewhere the Japanese sensation behind Breasts and Eggs Mieko Kawakami speaks live from Tokyo and Colombian great Juan Gabriel Vásquez discusses his acclaimed work.
The Festival’s commitment to supporting the next generation of writing talent remains a core focus. Roddy Doyle presents his pick of Ireland’s most exciting new writers: Suad Aldarra, Niall Bourke, and Aingeala Flannery. The popular Debuts and Cocktails session returns, with the Festival’s Programme and Commissions Manager Lyndsey Fineran talking to three debut novelists to watch: Tom Watson (Metronome), Maddie Mortimer (Maps of our Spectacular Bodies) and Onyi Nwabineli (Someday, Maybe). At the Faber Proof Party, the publisher introduces three of its 2023 fiction debuts: Charlotte Vassell (The Other Half), Dizz Tate (Brutes) and Eliza Clark (Penance). The Borough Press Proof Party celebrates Krystle Zara Appiah (Rootless), Emilie Hart (Weyward) and Kimberly McIntosh (Black Girl, No Magic) and Penguin Michael Joseph and Phoenix Books present similarly stellar showcases.
Visitors can find yet more reading inspiration as Ian Hislop shares his Desert Island Books with Clare Clark. Gaby Wood, Director of the Booker Prize Foundation, talks to the six Booker Prize shortlisted writers who represent the best of 2022’s literary fiction. In the centenary year of Joyce’s landmark work Ulysses, The Sunday Times have tasked writers and critics with selecting the fifty best novels to appear since its publication: Anne Enright, Johanna Thomas-Corr, Diana Evans and Peter Kemp make their suggestions. Giving a rare glimpse behind the scenes of the life of a critic, John Walsh, Peter Kemp and Johanna Thomas-Corr join The Sunday Times Literary Editor Andrew Holgate to discuss the art of book reviewing.
This year’s line-up celebrates some of our best-loved classic works, from these shores and beyond. The idea of ‘The Great American Novel’ is widely known, but does such a thing as ‘The Great European Novel’ exist? Acclaimed Dutch author of Grand Hotel Europa Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer is joined by academic Alan Bilton to discuss. Sarah Churchwell examines one of the most enduringly popular stories of all time, Gone with the Wind, to help explain the divisions ripping the United States apart today. Meanwhile, Anne Enright, Daniel Mulhall and Pat McCabe delve into James Joyce’s magnum opus and landmark modernist work Ulysses in its centenary year, and the legacy of Kerouac is explored by A M Homes, Geoff Dyer, and Scarlett Sabin.
Rob Wilkins – biographer, friend and long-time assistant to Terry Pratchett – chats to Guest Curator Inua Ellams about completing the remarkable life story Terry Pratchett: A Life with Footnotes which the author was working on at the time of his death in 2015. Elsewhere, the timeless appeal of Nancy Mitford is explored by India Knight, Mitford biographer Laura Thompson, and long-time fan Rachel Johnson, and Nicholas Jubber and Amy Jeffs bring to life the surprising origins of the world’s dearest fairy tales.
In Literature’s Worst Agony Aunt (from the series that included 'Who's the Bigger Sh*t: Heathcliff or Darcy?' and 'Literature's Worst Parents'), Sebastian Faulks, Clare Clark, and reigning champion Caroline O'Donoghue join Caroline Hutton for a hot debate about which literary character would give the worst life advice. In the return of a festival favourite I’ve Never Read…, Marcus Brigstocke takes Geoff Dyer, Marina Hyde and James Marriott out of their reading comfort zones. Susie Dent, lexicographer extraordinaire and Queen of Countdown's Dictionary Corner, and actor Tom Read Wilson of Celebs Go Dating share the words you need to navigate every situation in modern life. There is also a trip to a landmark world bookshop, this year spotlighting City Lights in San Francisco, with Elaine Katzenberger and Paul Yamazaki dialling in to discuss life at the helm of the iconic and ever-radical bookshop.
FOOD AND DRINK
Visitors to the Daffodil Restaurant can expect a feast for the senses with wide-ranging cuisines, topics, and diverse voices to enjoy. Highlights include: Ukrainian chef Olia Hercules talking to writer and critic Caroline Eden to celebrate the culture and living heritage of her beloved home country; Sabrina Ghayour with her new cookbook Persiana Everyday; Thomasina Miers, founder of Wahaca, showcasing the dazzling biodiversity of plant life that exists within Mexican cooking; and Eleanor Ford, who follows the trails of the ancient maritime spice trade.
Guests can brush up on their current affairs knowledge over breakfast with The Times: exploring Britain’s post-Brexit prospects with Iain Martin, David Smith and Sabah Meddings; chewing over the stories of the day with The Times Red Box Editor Patrick Maguire alongside Ayesha Hazarika and Henry Zeffman; and an energising start to the day with a panel of health experts, Lesley Thomas, Peta Bee and Harry Jameson. For the Beauty Director’s Brunch, Sarah Jossel of The Sunday Times is joined by Consultant Dermatologist Emma Wedgeworth, celebrity make-up artist Ruby Hammer and award-winning hairdresser Zoë Irwin.
Sunday lunch offerings are available with BBC Radio 4 presenter and journalist Nick Robinson for an essential inside view into British politics, and Alan Titchmarsh, who discusses the wonder of nature in his gentle and uplifting novel The Gift. Afternoon tea sessions include former winner of The Great British Bake Off and national treasure Nadiya Hussain; Britain’s favourite Reverend, Richard Coles; and Tina Brown, who takes audiences inside the House of Windsor in discussion with the Royal Editor of The Sunday Times, Roya Nikkhah.
Moving into the evening, a series of supper clubs offer an intimate set up to hear from some of the world’s best-loved chefs: Angela Hartnett; Asma Khan, founder of celebrated restaurant Darjeeling Express; Sam and Sam Clark of pioneering eatery Moro; and Sophie Ellis-Bextor and husband Richard Jones who share recipes from their Kitchen Discos which brought joy to millions throughout lockdown. For those looking for a new tipple of choice, there is a tasting tour of Scottish whisky with expert Dave Broom and a wine dinner with critic Victoria Moore, who shows you how to choose the perfect pairing every time.
The Daffodil Restaurant will also play host to a live episode of Caroline O’Donoghue’s hit podcast Sentimental Garbage with special guest, Derry Girls star Siobhán McSweeney, a nostalgic trip through the best-loved pop of the 70s with Will Hodgkinson, and an evening celebrating Stephen Sondheim's legacy with discussion and a repertoire of his most famous songs performed by actress Ellie Nunn. The Big BBC Quiz Night, hosted by a RuPaul’s Drag Race star, will be filled with brainteasers about your favourite shows, stars and characters.
ART AND DESIGN
Women’s position in the art canon and the reframing of a male-centric art history is prevalent at the Festival this year. Guest Curator Katy Hessel – founder of @greatwomenartists – delves into the dazzling stories of female creativity that have shaped the story of art with author Jessie Burton. Historian Katherine Pangonis (Queens of Jerusalem) meanwhile joins Hessel to celebrate the trailblazing women throughout history whose genius has for too long been overlooked. Judith Mackrell and Ami Bouhassane (granddaughter of Lee Miller) discuss the impact of women’s war reportage and documentary photography, championing the courageous cast of women journalists who risked their lives during WWII. Ferren Gipson, Naomi Polonsky, and Grace Banks discuss the reclamation of textiles – and the definition of ‘women’s work’ – as a means of chronicling identity, protest and politics.
Interrogating the dynamic between male gaze and female muse, Ruth Millington, Luisa Maria MacCormack and Jo Baring illuminate the stories of incredible women who inspired art history’s masterpieces. Meanwhile author Natasha Solomons (I, Mona Lisa) and renowned Leonardo da Vinci expert Martin Kemp trace Mona Lisa’s history over her 500-year existence, revealing the story behind the painting that changed the course of art history.
In another curatorial strand, Hessel delves into three debut novels inspired by the art world, welcoming James Cahill (Tiepolo Blue), Sophie Haydock (The Flames) and Chloë Ashby (Wet Paint). Elsewhere, British artist, illustrator and author Charlie Mackesy talks to Emma Freud about the four unlikely friends of his beloved book, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.
In a year that will see a landmark exhibition open at Tate Modern, Timothy J. Clark and Gavin Plumley discuss Paul Cézanne’s life, work and legacy. The extraordinary career of Yayoi Kusama – Japan’s most prominent contemporary artist – is explored by Chloë Ashby and curators Katy Wan and Mika Yoshitake. Lily Le Brun, Frances Spalding, and Michael Bird cover many leading names of the 20th century in their exploration of a shifting picture of Britain through the eyes of its artists, Suzanne Fagence-Cooper shines a light on the remarkable creative partnership of Jane and William Morris, and an extraordinary and unique collection is celebrated in an event dedicated to The Hague’s Mauritshuis museum, home to some of the greatest masterpieces from art history.
As ever, there are numerous opportunities to join the conversation on timely topics and complex issues from around the globe. Returning format Conversations Without Borders this year examines the boundaries that separate our planet – the impact they have on our identities, and how they respond to global political events – with James Crawford (The Edge of the Plain) and Gaia Vince (The Nomad Century). Meanwhile, Robin Niblett is joined by Peter Frankopan, Helen Thompson, and Faisal Devji to discuss if the age of the West is over.
The annual Times Debate, introduced by John Witherow, will invite stimulating conversation once more as Hannah White, Michael Cockerell, Isabel Hardman, John Pienaar and Ali Milani wrangle with the question: do we get the politicians we deserve? In The Sunday Times Debate, Josh Glancy, Ben Hoyle, Leslie Vinjamuri and Sarah Baxter discuss Joe Biden’s first two years in office as the crucial midterm elections approach. The theme of political leadership continues with veteran broadcaster and documentary maker Michael Cockerell sharing stories of filming the last ten prime ministers with Times Radio’s Matt Chorley. Chorley also chats to Lucy Fisher and Patrick Maguire to lift the lid on the goings on at Westminster, and Guardian columnist Marina Hyde hilariously dismantles the chaos of post-referendum politics with Raven Smith.
In other engaging discussions of some of the biggest questions facing our societies today, Erinch Sahan, Gillian Tett and Siobhan Cleary question whether the key to tackling the climate crisis is a greener approach to economics. Rory Cormac (How to Stage a Coup) and investigative journalist Geoff White (The Lazarus Heist) consider how advances in open source intelligence have transformed how we manage and disseminate sensitive information, whilst Symeon Brown, Hanna Bervoets, and Emily Bootle explore the dark side of social media and its impact on authenticity. Zooming in on the UK, Jeremy Hunt – the longest-serving Health Secretary in history – examines the conflict between public pride in the NHS and the mounting pressure on its services with Isabel Hardman. James Naughtie and Peter Hennessy explore the ‘duty of care’ the state owes to its citizens, both in the context of post-covid Britain and historically. Author, poet and hip-hop artist Darren McGarvey and leading barrister Hashi Mohamed confront the widening gap between the richest and poorest in Britain. Catherine Belton, Tom Burgis and Oliver Balch interrogate how the UK has become a centre for money laundering.
In a talk programmed by Celeste Ng, British Asian authors Peter Ho Davies, Helena Lee and Rowan Hisayo Buchanan unpack the tricky task of holding multiple perspectives in a world that is all too eager to simplify their identities. On the topic of gender and feminism, Everyday Sexism Project founder Laura Bates, founder of Everyone’s Invited Soma Sara, and Women’s Equality Party leader Mandu Reid examine the institutional prejudices in a society not built for women, with a powerful performance from #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize-winning poet Monika Radojevic (Teeth in the Back of My Neck). Meanwhile Arwa Madhawi, Karen E Smith, and Kelly Beaver examine what women in power can teach us about leadership.
Bloomberg’s Europe correspondent Maria Tadeo, Victoria Hislop and Stathis Kalyvas lift the lid on the complex reality of contemporary Greece; and Tadeo joins another discussion with Giles Tremlett and Rosie Goldsmith looking at modern Spain. Drawing on his long experience as BBC Editor for the Middle East, Jeremy Bowen takes us on a journey across its complex past, troubled present, and uncertain future. Katie Stallard, Yu Jie, and Kerry Brown explore China’s evolving position in the geopolitical landscape, whilst Andrew Monaghan, Emily Ferris and Richard Connolly look at the medium to long-term implications for Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine. There will be a keynote interview with author Oksana Zabuzhko who was on a book tour in Poland when she learned that Russian missiles had struck her home city of Kyiv. Sharing further insight, Clive Myrie and The Sunday Times foreign correspondents Louise Callaghan, Catherine Philp and Christina Lamb discuss the vital role of front-line journalism in recording the human stories behind the Ukraine conflict.
Other returning annual events include The Election Generals – with BBC Radio 4 Broadcasting House regulars Peter Hennessy and John Sergeant alongside host Paddy O’Connell to unpack the big political stories of the day and their historical parallels – and The Times Live, where Danny Finkelstein, Alice Thomson, Michael Binyon and Oliver Kamm spar over the lead stories for the following day’s paper. For The Sunday Papers, reviewing the week’s big news stories, Marcus Brigstocke is joined by Matt Chorley, Caroline O’Donoghue, and former home secretary and bestselling author Alan Johnson. As The Sunday Times celebrates its 200th anniversary, three recent editors – John Witherow, Andrew Neill, and Emma Tucker – chat about the legacy and challenges associated with the job. For visitors looking to expand their non-fiction reading, The Baillie Gifford Prize 2022 judge Clive Myrie, Chair of Judges Caroline Sanderson, and 2021 Chair of Judges Andrew Holgate join Prize Director Toby Mundy to discuss their highlights from this year.
The red carpet will be rolled out for a host of world-class comedians, musicians, actors, directors, and national treasures. In The Sunday Times Culture interview, Lenny Henry sits down with journalist and broadcaster Miquita Oliver to reminisce about his success story, coming from a working-class Jamaican family to establish an astounding career, and introduces his latest book Rising to the Surface. In intimate and revealing conversations, beloved presenters Rylan Clark and Jay Blades (of BBC’s The Repair Shop) discuss their respective memoirs and the difficulties they have overcome. Leading comedians also take the hot-seat this year, as Richard Herring discusses his honest and hilarious memoir whilst exploring the roles of masculinity and mental health in society and Rich Hall recounts the eventful professional and personal stories from his tell-all book Nailing It. Sports presenter Gabby Logan discusses the challenges she has faced, star of screen and stage Hugh Bonneville gives joyous snapshots of his long career, and Strictly Come Dancing favourite Motsi Mabuse shares her life story whilst Anton Du Beke talks about his latest novel We’ll Meet Again.
For the music lovers, industry legend Bono discusses his new memoir and the stories that led him to write for the first time. Jarvis Cocker discusses his life story and reveals secrets from his early life in Sheffield. Musical theatre star Michael Ball talks about his debut novel The Empire and his theatrical life on and off stage. Pop star Melanie Chisholm – also known as Sporty Spice – joins Cathy Newman in a live broadcast for Times Radio to discuss her memoir detailing fame as one fifth of the Spice Girls.
In a treat for foodies, Si King, half of chef duo The Hairy Bikers, talks to former politician Ruth Davidson about how to bake with confidence; and the nation’s Queen of baking Mary Berry shares her passion for food, flavour and life itself whilst discussing her mouth-watering recipes for all the family to enjoy.
Throughout history and across cultures nature has been believed to be sacred, with our God or gods playing an important role. Karen Armstrong shares some practical ways we can reconnect with nature and rekindle our sense of what sacred means to us.
This year, numerous speakers explore the extraordinary and dramatic history of Europe; Ben Macintyre discusses Colditz Castle, which held the most defiant Allied prisoners in WWII, Antony Beevor will consider the forging of the Soviet Union, and Timothy Phillips, Pieter Waterdrinker and Sheila Fitzpatrick will recount its collapse. The devastating Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year created shockwaves across the globe. Richard Shirreff, recently retired Deputy Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, Jade McGlynn, senior researcher, specialist in Russian memory and foreign policy, and Orlando Figes will reflect on the current situation with Russia and Ukraine – and the moments that led up to it.
A series of analyses from across the globe invite audiences to reflect on monumental events in history. Sixty years on, bestselling author Max Hastings offers a re-evaluation of The Cuban Missile Crisis. Meanwhile, Chris Patten, the last British Governor of Hong Kong, Nathan Law, activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and historian Peter Frankopan analyse what has happened in Hong Kong since the handover in 1997 and reflect on managing and maintaining our relationship with China.
Middle East cultural expert Diana Darke unravels the complex cultural legacy of the Ottoman Empire; whilst the Ottoman’s golden age forms the starting point for a discussion between journalist Christopher de Bellaigue (The Lion House) and political scientist and podcaster Brian Klaas to explore the intoxicating lure of power. William Dalrymple meanwhile traces the East India Company’s history as the first global corporate power.
Guest Curator Justin Webb joins author and former Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson and social historian Ysenda Maxtone Graham to discuss the huge cultural and societal shifts that happened during the Britain of the 70s. Anthony Sattin will speak with Nicholas Crane about the nomadic cultures that have shaped modern civilisation, whilst authors Kit Heyam and Travis Alabanza will track the movability of gender throughout history, from early modern Venice to seventeenth-century Angola.
The groundbreaking editor-in-chief of Vogue Edward Enninful reflects on his journey from working-class outsider to the apex of the fashion industry with writer Afua Hirsch. Following the blockbuster exhibition Fashioning Masculinities at the V&A, curator Claire Wilcox joins art historian Rosalind Mckever, Dominic Janes (British Dandies) and Cheltenham guest curator and designer Inua Ellams to discuss men’s fashion and gender expression.
The bestselling author of Everything I Know about Love and Ghosts Dolly Alderton discusses some of her favourite ‘Dear Dolly’ agony aunt letters from her column in The Sunday Times Style. Warm, witty and empathetic, Dolly talks friendships and families, break-ups and body issues. Beloved television presenter Davina McCall talks all things menopause with co-writer Dr Naomi Potter. Emma John rejects the ‘spinster narrative’ and celebrates the joy of embracing singlehood with Radhika Sanghani and Marijke Schermer, whilst an empowering discussion between sex educator and TikToker Sophia Smith Gale, Sex Guru Oloni and academic Katherine Angel encourages audiences to rewrite their sex lives. In an exploration of male and female friendship, Max Dickens, Michael Pedersen and Nikki May discuss how their own friends have inspired their novels.
Some of the nation’s favourite chefs are also on hand. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall seeks to redefine the way we look at comfort food, whilst Heston Blumenthal is joined by Alex Clark to chat through his career highlights and share his love of food. Delia Smith turns her attention from the kitchen to the nature of human life in her surprising book You Matter: The Human Solution, exploring her thoughts on the nature of existence with Cathy Rentzenbrink. With tips for improving our day-to-day life and mental wellness, Miranda Keeling, Sophie Howarth, and Paula Sutton chat about the importance of slowing things down and appreciating the world around us. Good friends Angela Scanlon and Vicky Pattinson talk about learning from mistakes, overcoming challenges, and the power of positive attitudes. Anna Murphy shares easy tips to upgrade your autumn look, and bloggers Sarah Gerrard-Jones (The Plant Rescuer) and Michael Perry – aka Mr. Plant Geek – help fellow plant parents to nurture their beloved house plants.
Veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby will reflect on his extraordinary 50-year career at the BBC and share his thoughts on monarchy, politics, and the state of Britain. Sally Bayley, Mark Hodkinson and Kit de Waal discuss the power of the literary imagination and the transformative impact of reading. Clover Stroud and Norwegian author Hanne Ørstavik will delve into the complexity of bereavement, whilst exploring the desire to rediscover your place in the world after the death of a loved one. Telling a candid story of the lessons learnt following an unconventional childhood, BBC radio presenter and guest curator Justin Webb discusses The Gift of a Radio. Fellow broadcaster extraordinaire Melvyn Bragg recalls growing up in the Cumbrian market town of Wigton and celebrates the people and place that formed him in conversation with his daughter, Marie-Elsa Bragg.
Bestselling author Raynor Winn returns to Cheltenham to share the story of her most ambitious walk to date with her terminally ill husband Moth – an epic journey from north-west Scotland to their home in Cornwall. Another returnee Amy Jeffs and Zoe Gilbert share their retellings of ancient stories and explore how our connection to nature links us to myth and legend. Ben Short had a fast-paced life working in advertising but traded this in to start a new existence as a charcoal burner in the woods; he and Siri Helle – who inherited her father’s isolated cabin in west Norway – talk about choosing a different path and way of living.
POETRY, SPOKEN WORD & OFF THE PAGE
The Festival’s renowned Off the Page collection boasts an incredible line up of the finest performers that grace the world of poetry today, as well as revisiting classics. In the centenary year of Eliot's landmark poem, Matthew Hollis, Daljit Nagra and Erica Wagner discuss The Waste Land followed by a performance by a leading actor. One of the spoken word scene’s most spectacular performers Joelle Taylor – winner of the 2021 T S Eliot Prize for C+nto and Othered Poems, about butch lesbian subculture – will show her incomparable talent supported by Ollie O’Neil. Luke Wright, winner of the Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Performer 2021, delivers poems that are tender, riotous, caustic and romantic. Comedian and classicist Natalie Haynes takes stage in a one-woman show based on her novel Stone Blind and folk singer Polly Paulusma shares the songs that inspired Angela Carter.
Demonstrating poetry’s power to help us in troubled times, Pádraig Ó Tuama, Joseph Coelho, William Sieghart and Hannah MacInnes will share the poetry that helped them through personal adversity. In a powerful performance as part of the co-curation with The International Book Arsenal Festival, Ukrainian poets Grigory Semenchuk and Lyuba Yakimchuk join forces with Berlin-based musician and producer Yuriy Gurzhy to create and showcase a brutal soundtrack of this year. Star of the international spoken word scene Afra Atiq performs with young Emirati soul singer Arqam Al Abri in a striking fusion of artistry in partnership with The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.
In celebration of ten years of Indie Publisher Burning Eye, there will be a night of energetic performances from top-selling Burning Eye poet Harry Baker, YouTuber and poet Leena Norms, powerhouse performer Muneera Pilgrim, and award-winning German-Swiss poet Nora Gomringer. Elsewhere, founder of Neu! Reekie! Michael Pedersen brings together a celebration of poetry, prose and music featuring Hollie McNish, Inua Ellams, Yomi Sode and himself. And in two nights of brainteasers: James Walton brings a Cheltenham special Big Book Quiz and TikTok sensation Tyrell Charles (Theories by T) delivers his Ultimate Marvel Quiz.
As part of an inspiring line up which covers numerous facets of what it means to be human, adventurer and mountaineer Leo Houlding and poet Helen Mort – also a passionate climber – talk about balancing risk in their respective exploits and the freedom that can be found in pushing your limits. To foster a better understanding of resilience, motivation, perspective and courage, Alice Thomson and Rachel Sylvester share intimate stories and fascinating life lessons from prime ministers and pioneers, sports stars and Nobel prize-winning scientists, and everyone in between. TikTok sensation Julie Smith and experienced psychologist Michaela Dunbar share practical tools to transform your anxious thoughts and emotions into positive actions.
Dorothy Bryne, former Editor-at-Large at Channel 4, joins journalist and author of The Social Superpower Kathleen Wyatt to question whether this era of alternative truths indicates a dangerous tipping point for democracy and public life, or if society has always functioned on lies. In a similar vein, world-renowned psychologist Steven Pinker argues that, in the context of fake news and conspiracy theories, we can better harness rational thinking to help us see the world more clearly. Mary Ann Sieghart and Pragya Agarwal tackle the systemic undervaluing of women in society and uncover hidden patterns of bias throughout history.
TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE
Norwegian anthropologist and critically acclaimed writer of The Border Erika Fatland will take audiences through her latest journey across the Himalayas, reflecting on the cohesion of modernity and tradition within the communities of the valleys of Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Nepal and China. The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year winner Cal Flyn talks about the globe’s most extraordinary abandoned places. Three remarkable figures discuss what it means to be an explorer in the 21st century, their drive for discovery, and the lessons it taught them: Norwegian polar explorer – and first to surmount the world’s three poles – Erling Kagge is joined by world leading adventurers Benedict Allen and Pip Stewart. Expedition-leader Belinda Kirk and pilot Mark Vanhoenacker discuss the transformational power of travel and adventure, and TV’s Simon Reeve discusses his unforgettable journeys. Meanwhile Claire Irvin, Chris Haslam and Cathy Adams of The Times and The Sunday Times travel team talk about their favourite travel books and features and their personal experiences of making destinations sing from the page.
Travel writer and polymath Geoff Dyer takes on a very different journey in The Last Days of Roger Federer. He looks back through his own life and revisits the cultural icons who have shaped him, among them Bob Dylan, Nietzche, Turner, Kerouac, and of course, Roger Federer.
Anne-Marie Imafidon – author of She’s In CTRL – talks about the pivotal role that women can have in tech, discussing her own experiences and the stories of fellow pioneers. Sleep historian Alice Vernon draws on scientific, historical and literary sources, as well as her own experiences, to explore our relationship with bad dreams. After a lifelong career spent on the frontline of life and death, pioneering neurosurgeon Henry Marsh appears live from Ukraine to reflect on the impact of his cancer diagnosis, his journey since, and his new book And Finally.
This year’s bumper Family programme invites children and young adults on a literary adventure to inspire the next generation of creatives. The festival welcomes the return of beloved children’s writer Michael Morpurgo to celebrate the 40th anniversary of War Horse in a very special concert, with music and songs from the National Theatre production performed by actor, folk musician and singer Ben Murray. There will be a chance to see award-winning performance poet Joseph Coelho in his first Festival appearance as the Waterstones Children’s Laureate, a fun, interactive session with much-loved illustrator Nick Sharratt, and an unmissable event with multi-million-copy selling How to Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell. Comedy legend, author and actor Lenny Henry introduces his brand-new story, there is an afternoon with Michael Rosen, and a talk with Percy the Park Keeper creator Nick Butterworth. Historian and podcaster Greg Jenner (You Are History) shares the fascinating history behind things you use every day, and BBC Radio 1 Breakfast host Greg James appears with co-writer Chris Smith. Other established and emerging names include Emma Carroll, Lauren Child, Simon Farnaby, Robin Stevens, Jonathan Stroud, Caryl Lewis, Andy Griffiths, Ross Collins, Benjamin Dean, Sharna Jackson, Rashmi Sirdeshpande, Alex Falase-Koya, Paula Bowles, Paula Harrison, and Jenny Løvlie.
Myth and fantasy are explored across numerous sessions. Three sensational storytellers Peter Bunzl, Tolá Okogwu and
A F Steadman talk with Anna James about their action-packed fantasy novels, and budding novelists can enjoy a world building session with bestselling author of the Brightspark trilogy Vashti Hardy. Author and Norse myth super fan Louie Stowell discusses her new book about Loki, and a storytelling event of epic Welsh tales is hosted by author and broadcaster Matt Brown (Compton Valance) and previous Children’s Laureate for Wales Eloise Williams (Gaslight) with live drawing from illustrator Max Low.
Children are encouraged to forge a deeper connection with the natural world via talks with authors including Hannah Gold, Yuval Zommer, Mini Grey, and Lydia Monks, and there is a chance to discover India’s places, people and wildlife with Jasbinder Bilan and Nina Chakrabarti. Meanwhile artist Oliver Jeffers and astrophysicist Stephen Smartt take a journey to outer space.
Nurturing empathy is also a prominent thematic strand. Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv, a husband-and-wife creative duo from Ukraine, host a storytelling session and art workshop inspired by the themes of their picture book How War Changed Rondo. Award-winning author and human rights activist Onjali Q. Raúf will show children how to make a difference and help make the world a better place, whilst comedian Rosie Jones speaks to Jenny Pearson about The Amazing Edie Eckhart, a sparky character with cerebral palsy navigating the perils of starting secondary school. Young people of all ages are shown the power of being yourself, and understanding your own feelings: from an event with Tom Percival and an Elmer drag queen storytelling session with Mama G for very young children; to Dr Alex’s George’s mental health toolkit and a conversation between Alexis Caught, Charlie Craggs, Sarah Kendrick and Milly Evans for young people who are queer or questioning.
For aspiring artists, illustrators and designers, there is a Manga Workshop with Chie Kutsuwada, a session with Beano editors Mike Stirling and Craig Graham, and BAFTA’s Young Game Designers workshops. There are additionally creative, interactive sessions for all ages with authors and illustrators including Catherine Rayner, Lu Fraser and Kate Hindley, Rachel Bright and Jim Field, Gabby Dawnay and Alex Barrow, Laura Ellen Anderson, Leigh Hodgkinson, Sean Taylor, Tom Read Wilson and Ian Morris, and with entertainer Marcus Dilly.
Guest curator team The Week Junior are on hand to make world affairs accessible to young minds with inspiring events featuring young change-makers Aoife Dooley (Frankie’s World), environmental activists Amy and Ella Meek (Be Climate Clever) and STEM ambassador Callum Daniel; identifying fact or fake news with Nick Sheridan; and a chance to quiz experts Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Isabel Thomas, Peter Gallivan and Dan Green on complex conundrums. Budding journalists can also attend workshops with Michael Dalton and Steve Derrick.
Debuts and Mocktails hosted by Leena Norms presents three 2022 YA debut novelists whose books are inspired by their passions and pop culture: filmmaker Lewis Hancox (Welcome to St Hell), gamer Morgan Owen (The Girl with No Soul), and songwriter Christine Pillainayagam (Ellie Pillai is Brown). YA literature is also celebrated at Hot Key’s 10th birthday party with online creator Sanne Vliegenthart (@Booksandquills), publisher Emma Matthewson, and authors Rebecca Barrow, Alexandra Christo and Ciannon Smart. YA superstars Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber share their first YA book written together, Twin Crowns, and readers’ love of the supernatural and strange happenings is explored by Rachel Burge, Yvette Fielding, Holly Race and J.P. Rose.