Broadcaster Jeremy Vine and poets Hollie McNish and Lemn Sissay are among the headliners announced for this year’s Chester Literature Festival.
Organisers Storyhouse will be playing host to a range of authors, bloggers, playwrights and musicians from 12-19 November, including legendary poet Pam Ayres and broadcaster Ben Fogle. Pam Ayres will be presenting her memoirs at an event that is also to be recorded for Radio 4 Extra, while Ben Fogle will be pondering on the question of what it means to be English.
Call the Midwife actor Stephen McGann will also be popping into the city to talk about his autobiography. And Hurrah for Gin! blogger Kate Kirby will be talking about her book, The Daily Struggles of Archie Adams. The work of local writers will also be showcased in an event at the multi-use arts centre on 19 November.
In terms of music, best-selling author Laura Barnett and singer Kathryn Williams will be going on retreat during the week, writing new songs and prose which will be performed on the evening of Sunday, 19 November. There will also be a performance from singer Roderick Williams and Ensemble Deva (Storyhouse’s chamber musician group) performing a new setting of Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Chester-born composer Howard Skempton.
For the poetry enthusiasts, there’s the return of the Poetry Pub Crawl, led by singer Gavin Osborn and poet Molly Naylor.
One of the masterminds behind the festival, previously held at Chester Town Hall, is Ted Hughes award-winning poet Holly McNish, who will direct a weekend of poetry-themed events during the course of the week.
Among the other activities on offer during the week are a blogging workshop with literary blogger/vlogger Simon Savidge, a dance workshop and a chance to have a one-to-one with a literary agent.
Storyhouse’s artistic director Alex Clifton said: “This year’s festival comes to its new home in the city’s incredible Storyhouse. We are very much looking forward to welcoming some of the country’s finest writers and thinkers to Chester, during eight days of inspiring events.”
For more information and to book tickets to any of this year’s events, some of which are free, go to the Storyhouse website or call 01244 409113.