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Guildford Book Festival 2016 Final Line-Up Announced

Organisers of Guildford Book Festival today announce a packed programme for the 2016 Festival, taking place at venues across the town between 9 and 16 October.

Heading the line-up of more than 50 events this year are: legendary broadcaster Jeremy Paxman sharing his long-awaited and candid memoir; brilliant presenter and comedian Graham Norton discussing his darkly funny debut novel, Holding; much-loved chef Rick Stein; popular cookery writer and food blogger, Ella Mills (née Woodward); and Formula 1 favourite Damon Hill, celebrating the 20th anniversary of winning the World Championship.

Among the bestselling fiction writers at the Festival will be Robert Harris, Alison Weir, Anthony Horowitz, S J Parris, and Charles Cumming. History is hugely popular at Guildford Book Festival and this year has more on offer than ever before. Eminent historian John Julius Norwich, will discuss his new book, Four Princes, the colourful story of Henry VIII and his European counterparts, while former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown, will reveal the story of a lethal spy triangle in Bordeaux between 1942 and 1944.

This year’s Literary Lunch brings together top biographer and writer, Anne Sebba, and prizewinning author Elizabeth Buchan, to talk about life-or-death decisions made by women in World War II, and its aftermath, while leading food writer William Sitwell reveals the remarkable story of Lord Woolton, Minister for Food, tasked with feeding the nation during the war. With ‘Tudormania’ taking the nation by storm, this year’s programme includes an opportunity to hear from experts Alison Weir and Elizabeth Norton on the lives of women in Tudor times. In The Wicked Boy, Kate Summerscale uncovers a fascinating true story of murder and morality in Victorian Britain and social historian, Sian Evans reveals the story of six extraordinary hostesses who shaped British society in the inter-war years. Through personal letters and documents, local author Irene Black shares the moving story of her parents, refugees of the Nazi era who fled to Britain. 950 years after the Battle of Hastings, Marc Morris gives a fresh view on ‘the man who changed England more than any other’, William the Conqueror.

Nadine Dorries MP will host this year’s Afternoon Tea, and will talk about her latest book, The Angels of Lovely Lane, the first in a new series, while Hello! editor, and author of The Stylist, Rosie Nixon, will join us for an evening of cocktails. Guardian games editor, Keith Stuart, will be in Guildford to tell us about his moving father-son novel, A Boy Made of Blocks, inspired by his own experience of playing Minecraft with his autistic son, and rock legend David Essex, will discuss the inspiration for his first novel, Faded Glory.

The popular Readers’ Day, a feature of the Festival for many years, will welcome number one bestselling author Amanda Prowse, former TV executive, Jane Lythell, crime writers William Shaw and James Henry, as well as debut novelists Joanna Cannon, Jess Kidd, and former Blue Peter presenter, Janet Ellis.

Former Hampshire cricket captain and broadcaster, and now author of A Beautiful Game, Mark Nicholas, will join Guardian writer, Jon Hotten, to talk about the future for English cricket with the Evening Standard’s Cricket Correspondent, Tom Collomosse. Sports psychologist Damian Hughes shares his thoughts on what sport can teach us about great leadership; while world economist, Dr Pippa Malmgren, who predicted Brexit, advises on How Everyday Signs Can Help Us Navigate the World’s Turbulent Economy. Natasha Courtenay-Smith provides top tips for creating The Million Dollar Blog. Marking this year’s Shakespeare400 commemorations, Edward Wilson-Lee presents a breathtaking look at the Bard’s global legacy in Shakespeare in Swahililand. Juliet Nicolson, granddaughter of Vita Sackville-West, discusses seven generations of exceptional women in her family, and Anna Pasternak, great niece of Nobel prize-winning novelist, Boris Pasternak, reveals the heartbreaking story of the passionate love affair between Boris and Olga Ivinskaya, the woman who inspired Lara in Doctor Zhivago. Anna’s talk will be followed by a special screening of the Academy Award-winning 1965 film directed by David Lean. In Rise: Surviving and Thriving after Trauma, broadcaster Sian Williams shares her own experience of a breast cancer diagnosis and explores resilience in the darkest of times. Renowned Scandinavian cook Signe Johansen demystifies ‘hygge’, the way of life that is said to make Nordic countries amongst the happiest in the world; and urban forager John Rensten will lead an ‘edible walk’ through the town. Popular interiors stylist Selina Lake takes a look at the current trend for ‘all things botanical’, and Jim Buttress from BBC Two’s Allotment Challenge discusses his life in gardening. “Horse obsessed” Susanna Forrest looks at the relationship between humans and horses through history, and for photographers there’s David Ellwand’s Retro Photography Workshop. As the Spectator approaches its 200th birthday, long-time contributor Marcus Berkmann collects some of the magazine's drollest contributions of the past twenty-five years to bring a sharp eye to bear on the strangeness of modern life. The Festival is delighted to be offering a mini-creative writing course running over five days, hosted by Rachel Marsh of the University of Surrey, and featuring a different guest speaker each day, while the editor of the Writers & Artists Yearbook will lead a session called How to Get Published. The Children’s programme is also bigger for 2016: Alastair Watson will host wonderfully entertaining shows inspired by the Dinosaur that Pooped a Show and the Wimpy Kid series; bestselling children’s author and illustrator Britta Teckentrup will introduce her latest character, Oskar and young ornithologists will enjoy Mike Langman’s guide to birdspotting. Funds raised through ticket sales at Guildford Book Festival enable the Festival to deliver an exciting Schools’ Programme. This year local schools will have the opportunity to hear from Rob Biddulph, Jonny Lambert, Susan Moore and Laurel Remington. And, for the first time, the Festival has arranged an event for the Borough’s Brownies and Guides, who will be entertained by Lauren Child talking about the latest adventures of Ruby Redfort. Each year, Guildford Book Festival works in partnership with local community groups and other charities to bring unique and inspirational events to members and prospective members, and to raise awareness of these organisations within Guildford and the surrounding area. The Amnesty International event will this year see the return of Ben Holden and Anthony Holden, this time to share Poems That Make Grown Women Cry; while Festival goers can enjoy an hour of reflection with readings from The Poet’s Quest for God, featuring contemporary poems by writers of all faiths, and none. The Festival also looks forward to working once again with GEDFAS and West Surrey Area NADFAS. Art historians Eric Shanes and Linda Collins will provide insight into Impressionist London at the turn of the 20th century and Art & Culture in Paris, 1850 – 1930. Commenting, Guildford Book Festival Co-Director Jane Beaton says: “We are delighted that so many authors have agreed to come to Guildford this year. Some, such as Graham Norton and Jeremy Paxman, are household names; others may be largely unknown but have extraordinary stories to tell. Some have spoken at the Festival before, while for others it’s their first ever Festival. We look forward to welcoming them all and to nine days of outstanding conversation and entertainment.” Guildford Book Festival Co-Director Alex Andrews adds: “I am greatly looking forward to welcoming some of the country’s best authors and illustrators to Guildford this year and believe we have something for every taste”. -ENDS– FOR FURTHER PRESS INFORMATION, IMAGES AND TO ARRANGE INTERVIEWS: Tamsin Williams/Carmel Rosato - Wigwam PR – +44 (0)1483 563562 +44 (0)7939 651252 44 (0)7557 357782 Guildford Book Festival Established in 1989, Guildford Book Festival is staged annually over 9 days across venues within the town. Many of the UK’s most successful authors have appeared at the Festival, including Sebastian Faulks, Joanna Trollope, Joanne Harris, and Ian Rankin alongside household names such as Sir Roger Moore, Kate Adie, Brian Blessed and Sir Ian Botham. A registered charity, Guildford Book Festival has received core funding from Guildford Borough Council and the University of Surrey as well as support from a number of key local businesses, including Martin Grant Homes, George Warman Publications, Roffe Swayne, The Mandolay Hotel, Guildford Arts, M&G, Guildford Vision Group, Rutland Group, Wilky Group, and Waterstones. Festival patrons are Elizabeth Buchan, Michael Buerk, Adele Parks, Michael Rosen, Sandi Toksvig, Fay Weldon, Timothy West and Jacqueline Wilson. - Today, organisers of Guildford Book Festival announce the full programme for the 2015 event, taking place between 11 and 18 October in venues across the town.

Joining an already sparkling line-up are acclaimed broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, with his latest historical novel, Now is the Time, set against the background of the Peasants’ Revolt; top crime writer Peter James, presenting his debut ghost story, The House on Cold Hill; Guardian Theatre Critic Michael Billington, who will share his personal view of The 101 Greatest Plays of all time, and much-loved comedian Helen Lederer, discussing her first laugh-out-loud novel, Losing It.

Coinciding with the Rugby World Cup, sport is represented at this year’s Festival by two giants of international rugby. Richard Parks became an extreme adventurer after retiring from the game following injury and gives an inspiring account of his arctic exploits in Beyond the Horizon. In Bomb, Adam Jones - the most capped Welsh prop - tells the story of his rise from being a labourer in the Swansea Valley to the pinnacle of his sport.

A new biography by Michael Smith gives fresh insights into the endeavours of the explorer, Shackleton, and a further new biography about codebreaker Alan Turing, by his nephew Sir Dermot Turing, offers a unique family perspective on one of Britain’s most revered characters - the subject of renewed interest through The Imitation Game.

Damien Lewis examines how the SAS covertly operated in the aftermath of the Second World War, hunting through the ruins of the Reich for the SS commanders who had escaped justice, in Nazi Hunters.

Nicholas Vincent gives an account of the origins and legacy of the Magna Carta, and in Royalty Inc, former Guardian Royal Correspondent Stephen Bates assesses Queen Elizabeth ll and her reign as she becomes Britain’s longest reigning monarch.

Agatha Christie is the inspiration for two new books.  Hugh Fraser, who played Captain Hastings alongside David Suchet’s Poirot in the TV series, makes his literary debut with the fast-paced thriller, Harm. In A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie, research chemist Kathryn Harkup investigates how the poisons used in each novel reveal vital clues to murder.

Also a literary lunch with best-selling authors Adele Parks and Esther Freud, an indulgent afternoon tea with Sunday Times Top Ten Bestselling author Tasmina Perry, the opportunity to enjoy morning coffee and chat with romantic novelists Jenny Colgan and Giovanna Fletcher and for Richard and Judy Book Club fans, Saskia Sarginson will be joining Clare Mackintosh.

With the release of the major new film Suffragette this October, bestselling authors Lissa Evans and Lucy Ribchester reveal how the women’s movement inspired the colourful characters in their new novels.

UK Space Agency Research fellow Lewis Dartnell looks ahead to an uncertain future in The Knowledge: How To Rebuild Our World from Scratch, and Marty Jopson - BBC One The One Show’s resident scientist – explains the Science of Everyday Life with fun demonstrations.

A successful life is something we all strive for and Matthew Syed, award-winning journalist and author of the phenomenally influential book Bounce, tells the surprising truth about how to obtain it in Black Box Thinking, whilst Mark Jenkins, star of Channel 4’s comedy documentary The Hotel, shares his own ‘unique’ thoughts on how to live life to the full in the World According to Manager Mark.

For budding authors, novelist and creative writing tutor Emma Darwin gives top tips on how to Get started in Writing Historical Fiction and in The Submission Process, literary agents offer advice on how to make your submission stand out from the crowd.

Drama lovers will enjoy the opportunity to enter the world of Charles Dickens in the company of his great great grandson, Gerald Dickens, who will perform Great Expectations playing every character himself.

And ahead of Guildford Shakespeare Company's brand new adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, staged to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the book's publication, Co-Founder Matt Pinches and writer Ant Stones talk about adapting Lewis Carroll's creation for the stage and how the company have made it very much 'Guildford's' Alice in Wonderland.

Poetry fans will enjoy an informal workshop with Wey Poets and the chance to hear contemporary Spoken Word artists, comedians and activists from the local area in Poetry Jam.

Commenting, Jim Parks, Guildford Book Festival Creative Director, said: “We know our audience love the unexpected and this year we really do have something for everyone, with a really exciting mix of genres and topics and sessions which will enthral, enlighten and of course, entertain. Tickets are already selling fast and predictions are that this will be our most successful Festival yet.”

Tickets now on sale at or from box offices at Guildford’s Tourist Information Centre and Electric Theatre. See website for more information and for latest updates.