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Guest Curators announced for The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2021

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The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is delighted to reveal the Guest Curators helping shape the world’s oldest literature festival for its highly anticipated return this autumn, when it will bring literary revelry to the heart of regency Cheltenham from Friday 8 to Sunday 17 October 2021.

Following last year’s FutureBook award-winning hybrid Festival, the 2021 instalment is set to welcome live audiences to all its venues, with highlights curated for the CheltLitPlayer and a ‘Today at Cheltenham’ daily broadcast. The theme – Read the World – will draw on the Festival’s international connections as well as digital technology to showcase the best new voices in fiction and poetry alongside literary greats and high-profile speakers and thinkers from around the world.

The Festival is thrilled to welcome Booker-winning trailblazer Bernardine Evaristo for the opening weekend with the first major event on her powerful, urgent manifesto charting a remarkable life and career of creative rebellion. Evaristo will also develop events around her Penguin ‘Writing Back’ series, rediscovering novels by Black writers for Black Britain, as well as panels discussing queer writing, African feminism and LatinX poetry.

Curating for this Festival has been a brilliant opportunity to gather together some of the most exciting and trailblazing storytellers, soul explorers and mind-expanders.

Bernardine Evaristo

Author, journalist, broadcaster and member of the House of Lords Joan Bakewell returns to Cheltenham as the Festival’s first Guest Curator to reprise the role, and will, aptly, curate a series that reflects on a woman’s lifetime and the passing of time, history, memory and home.

Creators of the wildly popular Talk Art podcast – actor Russell Tovey and gallerist Robert Diament – will bring their show to Cheltenham with a very special guest, as well as sharing their characteristically fun and approachable take on all things contemporary art in a series of specially curated events.

Art is all about storytelling and we are wanting to express a diverse mix of exciting and relevant stories through this curatorship.

Russell Tovey & Robert Diament

Tolly Shoneye, Milena Sanchez and Audrey Indome – hosts of the chart-topping The Receipts podcast – will be solving scandalous dilemmas and creating conversations with their trademark honesty. They’ll discuss dating, love, race, culture and how to be loud, authentically yourself and empowered in your own skin.

The multi-award-winning team at The Week Junior are collaborating with the Festival to expand the hugely popular current affairs and non-fiction events and workshops for younger audiences, presenting facts and exploring ideas that will inspire curious young minds.

Finally, writer and editor Ann Morgan will be appearing at the Festival as the inaugural Literary Explorer in Residence, marking ten years since her ‘Year of Reading the World’ challenge.