THE first female MI5 chief and two former home secretaries will appear at this year’s Henley Literary Festival, it was
THE first female MI5 chief and two former home secretaries will appear at this year’s Henley Literary Festival, it was announced this week.
Dame Stella Rimington will make a rare festival appearance following the publication of her latest Liz Carlyle spy novel The Geneva Trap as well as reflecting on her long career at MI5, which culminated in her appointment as director-general.
Former Conservative home secretary Douglas Hurd, recently back in the headlines paying tribute to Margaret Thatcher, turns his attentions to another iconic prime minister in the form of Benjamin Disraeli, the subject of his forthcoming biography.
Former Labour home secretary Alan Johnson, a key figure of the Blair and Brown governments, will speak about his childhood memoirThis Boy.
With the festival taking place as political conference season comes to a close, both men are likely to be drawn on the current states of their respective parties.
Kate Humble, presenter of the BBC’s Springwatch, will discuss her book Humble By Nature: Life, Lambs And A Dog Called Badger, which focuses on her move from London to a Welsh smallholding with four acres and then to a farm with 117 acres.
Other events now confirmed include returns for two stars of last year’s festival: Captain David Blakeley, following up best-seller Pathfinder with Maverick One; and Henry Hitchings, whose Sorry! looks at the English and their manners. Previously announced authors include Dan Snow, Ann Widdecombe and Giles Coren.
Festival director Sue Ryan said: “With five months and lots of authors still to come, I think this may be our best mix yet — everything from the woman who discovered Richard III in a Leicester car park to a former head of MI5 via some of our best novelists and several of the leading political figures of the last 30 years.”
The festival, in association with Laithwaite’s Wines, will take place at venues, including the Red Lion Hotel for the first tine, from September 30 to October 6. For more information, visit www.henleyliteraryfestival.co.uk