Miranda Hart, Akala, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Lauren Child

First names for the #cheltlitfest Family programme announced

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Celebrating its best Family programme yet, The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival (6-15 October) is welcoming a tremendous raft of special guests in 2017.

The line-up includes newcomers as well as well-established children’s authors, rising stars in Young Adult literature and big names from the realms of culture and entertainment.

Bursting with excitement, in this very special preview we are letting you in on a few first names and events that will be part of our Family collection at this year’s Festival. With the rest of the programme yet to come, save the date and keep your eyes peeled for the full Family programme reveal on Saturday 12 August!

We are thrilled to welcome new Children’s Laureate Lauren Child to the Festival alongside a great number of beloved children’s authors, illustrators and storytellers. These include best-selling author of Framed and Millions Frank Cottrell-Boyce, the mistress of mystery Robin Stevens and former Children’s Laureate and audience favourite Michael Morpurgo (Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story).

Hear award-winning actress and Queen of Comedy Miranda Hart introduce her debut children’s book The Girl With The Lost Smile, learn all about the new festive family cookbook and storybook from Great British Bake Off sensation Nadiya Hussain or get lost in time with actor Adrian Edmondson, who presents his first children’s novel Tilly and the Time Machine.

Don’t miss the launch of YouTube superstar Ali-A’s first graphic novel at the Festival (Ali-A Adventures: Game On!). Expect family friendly fun and lots of laughs with star of TV Burp Harry Hill (Matt Millz, The Youngest Stand Up Comedian In The World) and go on an adventure with Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five as they celebrate their 75th Anniversary.

Join radio personalities and debut authors, Greg James and Chris Smith for an action-packed Kid Normal event and meet Blue Peter Book Award winning author Matt Haig (Father Christmas and Me) who will celebrate the launch of his new Christmas book with us.

For the little ones, Kes Gray and Jim Field (Oi! Cat), Rachel Bright (The Koala Who Could) and Kristina Stephenson (Sir Charlie Stinky Socks) bring their lovely stories to life. You can also join Maisy Mouse creator Lucy Cousins and renowned storyteller Liz Fost for an afternoon aviary of feathered fun and frolics filled with live illustration or meet Hip and Hop, the characters in the new book by MOBO award-winning rapper and poet Akala and illustrator Sav Akyüz.

Big names and rising stars from the YA world at this year’s Festival are Melinda Salisbury, Patrice Lawrence, Michael Grant and Gemma Cairney.

As well as a truly amazing group of guests, we have two new exciting spaces for children and their families to enjoy on site this year. What’s more all the activities here are completely FREE.

Dive into The Den on Saturdays and Sundays for all sorts of book related fun. Help Lucy Cousins create a mural, make Harry Potter potions, learn to draw animal surprises, plus much more.

Then go on to explore The Wild Wood – a lovely, green outdoor space. Build a den, dress up, follow The Famous Five story trail, go on a teddy bear’s picnic, listen to storytellers and meet favourite book characters – enjoy the picnic area, too, all completely free!

Around town we are celebrating 30 years of Where’s Wally? Follow our Where’s Wally? Trail featuring scenes created by local primary schools in shop windows throughout Cheltenham. Pick up your trail leaflet in Waterstones on The Promenade. Keep an eye out at the festival site for Wally too – we hear he is a big fan of books and may be coming along to enjoy the festivities!


Dates for your calendar

Literature Festival full programme reveal: 12 August
Members Priority Booking: Wednesday 30 August, from 1pm
Public Booking: Wednesday 6 September, from 1pm

Festival dates: 6 – 15 October 2017

Sign up for our enews so you don’t miss out on any further announcements and have a look at Membership for priority booking!