Monday, 08 August 2022

Not far to go for literary festival speakers

Not far to go for literary festival speakers

HENLEY celebrities Mary Berry, Irvine Welsh and Olivia Harrison are to speak at this year’s Henley Literary Festival.

The 16th annual festival will take place from October 1 to 9 and will feature more than 120 activities for adults and children, including talks, workshops and performances.

Berry, the TV presenter and cook, and Trainspotting author Welsh will be talking about their books.

Mrs Harrison, who has lived at Friar Park for more than 45 years, will mark 20 years since the passing of her husband George.

The Beatle’s first wife Pattie Boyd will reflect on her life as a model and muse for songs including Something and Layla.

Events will take place at the Baillie Gifford Marquee, the Kenton Theatre and the town hall and almost all of them will be available online.

Tim Peake, one of only seven Britons to go into space, will give a talk about his first non-fiction book for children, The Cosmic Diary of Our Incredible Universe. Musicians will form an important part of the line-up with AC/DC’s Brian Johnson, Spice Girl Mel C, First Cut is the Deepest singer PP Arnold and Deacon Blue star Ricky Ross all discussing their memoirs.

Gavin & Stacey co-creator Ruth Jones, wildlife expert Ray Mears, Countdown expert Susie Dent and Peep Show star Paterson Joseph will all discuss their latest books.

Floella Benjamin, David Dimbleby and Justin Webb will present their autobiographies.

Other famous names to appear include comedians Lenny Henry and Julian Clary. International bestsellers to appear include Robert Harris, Sarah Winman and Jeffrey Archer as well as debut novelists Salma El-Wardany, Bonnie Garmus, Jessie Cave and Abigail Bergstrom.

History and politics will be covered by Lucy Worsley, Jonathan Freedland, Andrea Leadsom, Marina Hyde and Norman Scott, who was portrayed by Ben Whishaw in A Very English Scandal.

Anton Du Beke will give a talk, as will his former Strictly Come Dancing partner, fashion guru Susannah Constantine.

Several writers who made their mark on social media will be speaking, including poet Nikita Gill, Unmumsy Mum blogger Sarah Turner, TikTok star Dr Julie Smith, “Twitter Poet Laureate” Brian Bilston and Instagram influencer Florence Given.

Festival director Harriet Reed-Ryan said: “We are so excited to welcome audiences in Henley and online to our most accessible and varied festival yet.”

Tickets will be available to the public from July 18.

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