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Kofi Annan & J.K. Rowling take centre stage at the 2012 Cheltenham Literature Festival

The Times Cheltenham LiteratureFestival

Kofi Annan, J.K. Rowling, Nigella Lawson, David Mitchell, Sir Roger Moore, Salman Rushdie, David Walliams, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sir Terry Pratchett are just some of the celebrated names to appear at the 63rd The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2012.

The full Festival Programme is available to view online from today at

Tickets go on sale to Cheltenham Festivals Members on Monday 13 August, ahead of public booking opening to the public on Monday 20 August

Over 600 of the world’s leading writers, thinkers, actors, politicians, comedians and modern wits will feature in the 10 day celebration of the written word this Autumn.  Inspired by the theme People:Power the programme is a feast of debate, discussion and entertainment – led by three outstanding Guest Directors: Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, journalist and writer Joan Bakewell and historian Peter Hennessy.

The Festival’s location at the heart of Regency Cheltenham combined with a programme of nearly 500 exclusive events ensures that The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is one of the most anticipated events in the literary calendar.
Jane Furze, Executive Director of the Festival, says:

We are thrilled to welcome such a varied and high calibre programme of speakers to the 2012 Festival.  With such a range of events on offer, there is something for all to enjoy, and we look forward to welcoming everyone to Cheltenham in October.’

From literature and history to sport, comedy, homes and food - highlights of the 2012 Programme include:

Outstanding Authors

  • A storyteller like no other, J.K. Rowling discusses her first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy
  • Salman Rushdie talks about his extraordinary memoir Joseph Anton
  • Award-winning author Sebastian Faulks discusses his life, writing and his new novel, A Possible Life
  • Mark Haddon, author of the much-loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time  joins the Festival for his one-man talk Swimming and Flying
  • Jung Chang reflects on the extraordinary impact of Wild Swans and discusses the role of women in China today
  • A feast of authors including: Ian Rankin, Pat Barker, Paul Auster, Ian McEwan, Iain Banks, PD James and Alexander McCall Smith

Cutting-edge Comment

  • Kofi Annan marks the publication of his book, Interventions: A Life in War and Peace, with a candid behind-the-scenes view of global diplomacy during one of the most tumultuous periods in the UN’s history
  • Writer and broadcaster Matthew Flinders is joined by the Rt. Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, to discuss the challenges of modern democracy in Britain today
  • In The Times Debate, Editor James Harding will be joined by a panel of distinguished guests to ask, Is Britain Still Great?
  • Events with leading political figures including Jack Straw, Vince Cable and Paddy Ashdown


Stars of the Small and Silver Screen

  • Sir Roger Moore discusses life, acting and his anthology, Bond on Bond, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the film franchise
  • Benedict Cumberbatch discusses Sherlock, sharing fascinating insights into the creative process      
  • As he starts filming the final Poirot series, David Suchet reflects on the joys of acting and why he has never been out of work
  • The Women of Downton Abbey take centre stage as actors Elizabeth McGovern (Cora Crawley) and Phyllis Logan (Elsie Hughes), costume designer Caroline McCall and series producer Liz Trubridge, join author Jessica Fellowes to share the behind-the-scenes secrets.
  • A host of famous faces discuss their work including: Rupert Everett, John Simm, Stephen Mangan,  Tom Hollander, Christopher Eccleston, Jenny Agutter, Ruthie Henshall and Anton du Beke.

Home and Garden

  • Domestic goddess Nigella Lawson introduces her latest book, Nigelissima, celebrating the heart of Italian cooking
  • Kirstie Allsopp discusses her new book, Kirstie’s Vintage Home 
  • Designer and writer Kevin McCloud looks back at some of The Best of Grand Designs 
  • A series of inspiring events on food, including appearances from the Fabulous Baker Brothers, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall,  AA Gill, Giles Coren, Paul Hollywood and Great British Bake-Off contestants  and world-renowned wine authority Jancis Robinson


Sporting Heroes

  • Gold medal-winning cyclist Victoria Pendleton talks about her memoir and her experiences in the Olympic team
  • Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad looks back at the highlights of his sporting career with comedian and cricket nut Miles Jupp
  • Olympic gold-medal-winning rower Greg Searle discusses his incredible story with journalist and author Chris Dodd

Comedy Greats

  • David Mitchell talks about Back Story, a ‘disgusting’ book about his life
  • David Walliams introduces  his autobiography, Camp David 
  • Paul O’Grady talks about the uproarious adventures of his finest comic creation, the blonde bombshell Lily Savage and her mishap-filled journey to stardom
  • Two of the country’s funniest writers – Jon Ronson and Peter Serafinowicz – appear together for some cracking comic chat
  • Appearances by popular comedians, including Russell Kane, Ben Miller, Marcus Brigstocke, Dom Joly and Stephen K Amos

Intrepid Adventurers

  • The UK’s best-loved globetrotter Michael Palin presents a lavishly illustrated talk about the subject of his vibrant new BBC series and book, Brazil
  • Ben Fogle joins the line-up for an action-packed conversation to celebrate his autobiography, The Accidental Naturalist

Book It! – The Festival for Families and Young Readers
This year’s Book It! plays host to a string of the most popular and well-loved children’s authors, including Anthony Horowitz, Jacqueline Wilson, Eoin Colfer, Robert Muchamore, Andy Stanton and Derek Landy.  Sir Terry Pratchett will also make a special appearance to introduce his new novel, Dodger, a tale of skulduggery and dark deeds set in Dickensian London.  For the younger audience, characters including classics such as Peppa Pig and Peter Rabbit and a celebration of Fireman Sam’s 25 anniversary are sure to delight – there’s something for all the family!

The Big Read
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first James Bond film, the Big Read title will be Dr. No by Ian Fleming.  This will be read within free book clubs across the country and will feature in events before and during the Festival. 

  • Event: The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2012.
  • Date: Friday 5 - Sunday 14 October 2012
  • Tickets: Online and via box office 0844 880 8094

Explore Gloucestershire
8 August 2012

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