The Literature Festival team was very saddened to hear of the death of Simon Hoggart which was announced yesterday (6 Jan 2014).
Simon was a great friend of the Literature Festival, and over the years made many appearances here in Cheltenham. As a solo performer he delighted packed houses with his witty and fascinating observations on parliamentary life, and he also made trenchant and perceptive contributions to many of our topical panel events. For the 2013 Festival he hosted a splendid, sold out dinner in the Spiegeltent, introducing unusual and delicious wines which he had carefully matched to our seasonal menu of smoked salmon, roast beef and apple pie. Despite his poor health he worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help us organise the event, and on the night was a most charming, amusing and generous host. His wonderfully funny anecdotes and his passion for wine, food and all the good things in life made the evening unforgettable – we will all miss him.