Host of household names feature in line-up for book showcase

Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson

Hosted over a long weekend, the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival, was picked by Harper’s Bazaar as ‘one of the UK’s best literary festivals’.

Taking place at The Crown Hotel, Harrogate, from Thursday October 18 to Sunday October 21, the line-up features household names from the worlds of comedy, history, sport and literature.

John Simpson

John Simpson

Be swept back in time with one of the biggest historical fiction authors, Conn Iggulden, and arguably the UK’s most respected historian, David Starkey. One of the most engaging and often controversial speakers, Starkey will shed new light on our country’s greatest tyrant, Henry VIII.

The countdown is on for TV star Nick Hewer, formerly Alan Sugar’s adviser on The Apprentice, who will be talking about his new memoir.

Son of Gyles, Benet Brandreth, is an all-round Renaissance man. With a five-star sell-out of his one man show at the Edinburgh Fringe, he’ll present his new William Shakespeare mystery novel.

Exploring how comedy makes us human, BBC Radio 4 presenter and comedian Robin Ince delves into his new book, I’m a Joke and So Are You, drawing on A-list comedians, personal insight, and psychologists to explore our funny bone.

The social media star behind Why Mummy Drinks, Gill Sims, presents her new book, Why Mummy Swears. Described as Bridget Jones meets Peppa Pig, she promises to speak to the souls of all parents seeking light relief.

Wife of the late Professor Stephen Hawking, Dr Jane Hawking, whose book inspired the Oscar-winning film, The Theory of Everything, will talk of her new novel, Cry to Dream Again.

Zoe Robinson, Raworths managing partner, said: “We are delighted to be on the literary trail once more this year.

“From debating the issues that shape our political landscape to tales of historical intrigue, from wine lovers to motorbike buffs, there is something for everyone that will inspire and ignite hearts and minds. Raworths has sponsored this event for six years now and we are proud to have played a part in Harrogate’s growing reputation for a boutique book festival and the associated benefits it brings to Harrogate.”

Politics includes an insider account of how Jeremy Corbyn inspired Britain’s youth from Corbyn aide and New Statesman writer, Liam Young. The presenter of Radio 4’s The Week in Westminster, Isabel Hardman, will also discuss her fascinating book, Why We Get the Wrong Politicians.

John Simpson, the face of the BBC as World Affairs Editor for over two decades, will discuss his revelatory thriller, Moscow Midnight.

Whisky and wine comes in the form of Rachel McCormack’s spirited travelogue, Chasing the Dram, and the irrepressible Oz Clarke, with his witty memoir, Red and White.

Animal lovers can take an entertaining canter with Gemma Hogg, author of Stable Lass, and veterinary film consultant, Jonathan Cranston. As well as talking of his adventures, Around the World in 80 Animals, Cranston swapped dogs for dinosaurs as a consultant on the Jurassic World movie.

There will also be talks from leading authors including Imran Mahmood, whose novel You Don’t Know Me claims to be the most original thriller of the year, and Downton Abbey actress-turned blockbuster author, Catherine Steadman. TV presenter Henry Cole will take to the road to discuss his memoir, A Biker’s Life.

BBC Radio 4 will record a live broadcast of the popular show, Round Britain Quiz, at the festival.

Helen Donkin, literature festivals manager at Harrogate International Festivals, said: “The 2018 programme explores bestselling authors, history, politics and more, bringing some incredible names to Harrogate’s doorstep. We can’t wait to invite audiences to join in the book buzz this autumn.”

There’ll be an on-site bookshop and book signings after each event.