Harrogate Lit Fest brings in big names from literature and politics

Harrogate Literature Festival returns in October with an impressive line-up of top authors, politicians and broadcasters. We take a look at the highlights.

Imran Mahmood will be talking about his thriller You Dont Know Me at the festival.
Imran Mahmood will be talking about his thriller You Dont Know Me at the festival.

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’.

This year’s festival takes place at The Crown Hotel in Harrogate in October and it will feature a stellar line-up of household names from the worlds of comedy, history, sport and literature.

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“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,” says Helen Donkin, Literature Festivals Manager at Harrogate International Festivals.

Historian David Starkey, an engaging and often controversial speaker, will be shedding new light on our country’s greatest tyrant, Henry VIII.

Nick Hewer, formerly Alan Sugar’s adviser on The Apprentice, will be talking about his new memoir and Benet Brandreth, son of Gyles, currently receiving five-star reviews for his one man show at the Edinburgh Fringe, will present his new 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 Simms, 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. 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. And 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. And BBC Radio 4 will record a live broadcast of the popular show, Round Britain Quiz, at the Festival.

For details of the full programme visit harrogate-internationalfestivals.com