Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival: Gaby Roslin, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Killing Eve author Luke Jenning among big names at festival

As spa towns go, there is an awful lot more to Harrogate than its offensive smelling healing waters.

And as the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival bursts into life today (Oct 19) at the town’s Crown Hotel, its literary credentials aren’t too bad either.

Drawing some of the best known writers from fiction to the fables of modern politics, its prestige, it seems, is now firmly fixed among the nation’s literary elite.

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Among those stars on the festival’s profile are TV presenter Gaby Roslin, music gurus and Fame Academy stars David and Carrie Grant, explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, author of Killing Eve Luke Jenning, celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager and Sunday Times bestselling author Victoria Hislop.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is heading to Raworths Harrogate Literature FestivalSir Ranulph Fiennes is heading to Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival
Sir Ranulph Fiennes is heading to Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival

It is what has come to be expected of organisers, Harrogate International Festivals which has fired up hearts and minds since its inception in 1966 , revolutionising its cultural landscape.

HIF is a charitable organisation, but its passion, ambition and innovative eye means maintains its position as an arts organisation delivering f estivals of national importance. These include the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate Music Festival, and Harrogate International Sunday Series, a popular series of Sunday morning coffee concerts featuring the world’s most talented classical and chamber musicians which takes place in the spring.

The proof of the pudding for the literature festival, however, is with a stellar list which this year includes veteran politician and former Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable, who Cable weaves together the wittiest, wisest and most acerbic political quotations from the last 2,000 years, in his new book, How to be a Politician, which will be the subject of his talk with producer and podcast host Joe Haddow on Saturday night.

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Tomorrow night Gaby Roslin will be in conversation with radio broadcaster Natasha Knight about her book, Spread the Joy, to share her hilarious anecdotes and practical tips and tricks that not only helps us discover life’s simple pleasures, but also learn the invaluable gift of spreading joy to others.

Appropriately for a chef, it will be lunch with Rosemary Shrager today, who as well as writing countless cookery books, has recently begun a foray into the world of crime writing.

Her latest, The Proof is in the Pudding, is a perfect accompaniment to the food on offer.

And for the more adventurous of souls, there is an evening with Sir Ranulph Fiennes on Saturday night.

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Fiennes has travelled to the most dangerous and inaccessible places on Earth, almost died countless times, lost nearly half his fingers to frostbite, raised millions of pounds for charity and been awarded a polar medal and presented with an OBE. He has been an elite soldier, an athlete, a mountaineer, an explorer, a bestselling author and nearly replaced Sean Connery as James Bond.

In his own words: “Life is too short to waste time on second-class ambitions. Go for the big ones.”