Which event to choose? That ’tis the question.

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

We think we’ve outdone ourselves this year, we’re incredibly proud of the programme we’ve put together. So now it’s just a question of which event to book tickets to. However we think we’ve managed to cover quite a few bases (even if we say so ourselves) with over 25 events taking place over the weekend of 2-4 October taking in a mix of fiction and non-fiction, poetry, children’s events and creative writing workshops for adults and teenagers. And all with our central ethos of focusing on the best in excellent writing, championing new upcoming authors as well as established names.

LitFest 2015 Brochure Cover

Just to help you out, here’s a pick of what’s on offer for LitFest 2015:

Bestselling author of the No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Alexander McCall Smith will be a popular event, as will the appearances of novelist and poet Helen Dunmore and our 2015 Golding Speaker, Salley Vickers.

Back for another year is the Big Town Read, with author Rachel Joyce and her international bestseller ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ and for all Wolf Hall fans out there, we’re excited to welcome BAFTA-award winning director Peter Kosminsky in discussion with Channel 4’s Jon Snow about his recent TV adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novels of Wolf Hall.

History buffs can choose between historical biographer Alison Weir or medieval historian and Magna Carta expert, Sean McGlyn; human rights journalist Bidisha will discuss contemporary asylum and exile issues which will help bring us all up to speed on the current European migrant crisis.

The annual Hiscox Young Authors in Conversation event is always exciting as we get to see debut authors before they hit the big time. 2015 names to watch out for include Alex Hourston and Jemma Wayne.

Bestselling fantasy/sci-fi/comedy/crime writer Jasper Fforde lived locally for a number of years – his ‘Thursday Next’ books are even set in a parallel 1980s Swindon.

Guardian parliamentary sketch writer John Crace will lead us through the corridors of Westminster whilst financial journalist John Lanchester will dispense top tips on how to navigate the current financial markets. Two new non-fiction takes on historical and literary figures will come from historical author Matthew Dennison on the Life of Vita Sackville West as well as a brand new translation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina from acclaimed translator Rosamund Bartlett.

Local primary school children will attend author talks by Jane Hardstaff whilst bestselling author of Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs series Ian Whybrow will entertain families with his trademark whacky humour. Local sixth-formers from St John’s Academy will be presenting their ‘Page Turners’ event – showing a film they’ve made about books and reading and conducting a Q&A session afterwards.

Poetry-lovers can get their fix with the annual amateur open mic Poetry in the Pub event, whilst acclaimed poet, playwright, broadcaster, lecturer and current National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke will close the LitFest on 4 October.

Full programme