Festival Highlights

With stories on life, love and loss the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival promises to inspire and ignite your heart as well as your mind.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman’s debut, sold for huge sums worldwide when the author was in her 40s. Her protagonist Eleanor suffers profound loneliness in this tale dubbed not a coming of age novel, but a coming to life one. Hailed a complete joy, sometimes hilarious, with an overwhelming emotion: kindness - and the message that it’s never too late, for any of us.

Honeyman is in conversation with Cathy Rentzenbrink, who experienced loss after the death of her brother. A Manual for Heartache shows us how to look for hope and joy amidst loss.

Journalist Martin Sixsmith was portrayed on the big screen by Steve Coogan, in the touching Philomena. He takes us on a deeply personal journey with Ayesha’s Gift.

The story begins with Martin helping a woman from Yorkshire find her father’s killer after his violent death in Pakistan, but ends up as a search for answers to a very different death – his brother’s suicide.

Martin talks about his fascination with the troubles of families, in part, to crave assurance that our own troubles are not unique.

Two fathers, two sons, and two heart-warming stories of family, love, forgiveness and finding light in the darkest days. Keith Stuart’s book, A Boy Made of Blocks, explores his relationship with his autistic son, as it is transformed with their shared adventures in the virtual Lego-like world of Minecraft.

Jem Lester’s novel Shtum, is a darkly comic debut that is an exhilarating roller coaster ride, portraying the love, guilt, exhaustion and rage of parents of a boy with profound autism.

Clover Stroud’s The Wild Other is her memoir of love, loss, motherhood, sex and danger. Her childhood ended violently after her mother was left brain damaged.

The trauma shaped her life, taking her to the brink of self-destruction seeking wild experiences with sex, narcotics and men.

She explores the power of nature to destroy and heal in conversation with her dad, Rick Stroud, a writer and TV director, who has directed Pierce Brosnan, John Hurt and Joanna Lumley.

A bestselling historian, his book Lonely Courage tells the engaging and deeply poignant true story of the heroines of the Resistance who fought to free Nazi-occupied France.

All authors will be signing copies of their books at the on-site bookshop from Waterstones.