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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–

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