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Organisers of the Guildford Book Festival today announce the initial line-up for 2018, with events taking place at venues across the town between 7 and 14 October.

Recognised as the premier literary event in the South East, the 29th edition of Guildford Book Festival will feature: former BBC War Correspondent Martin Bell, with a moving, personal account of the travesties of war and an impassioned call to ‘put the substance back into news’; celebrated broadcaster Jenni Murray with her History of the World in 21 Women; renowned journalist Max Hastings, with a masterful new chronicle of the Vietnam War; internationally bestselling fiction writers Bernard Cornwell, Kate Mosse and Joanna Trollope, and acclaimed author Matt Haig, who will share his thoughts on how to feel happy, human and whole in the 21st century. 

World-renowned drummer of the Small Faces and The WhoKenny Jones will talk about his rock ‘n’ roll life, while much-loved music broadcaster, Humphrey Burton, will share insight into the life and career of Leonard Bernstein, marking the centenary of the composer’s birth.

Hugely popular commentator David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd will entertain with brilliant stories from his cricket journey which has taken him all over the world.

Returning to the Festival for the third year in a row, historian Alison Weir will discuss the subject of her latest Six Tudor Queens series, Jane Seymour, while ever popular authors Adele Parks and Tasmina Perry return to talk about their latest books, both psychological thrillers.  

In a series of sessions to celebrate 100 years since the start of suffrage for women, Diane Atkinson will explore the lives of the suffragettes who answered the call to ‘Rise Up!’Sharon Wright will reveal the astonishing stories of the fabulous female pioneers of balloon flight, and Miranda Seymour will discuss Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s brilliant, mercurial daughter, who predicted the dawn of the computer era.

Spy fans can look forward to Ben MacIntyre, discussing  The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War, and Henry Hemming, who will shed light on MI5’s greatest spymaster, Maxwell Knight. 

Leading crime writer M J Arlidge and bestselling writer of historical thrillers, S J Parris, will be in conversation about their latest, chilling books.

Nick Hewer (The Apprenticeand Countdown) will share the A to Z of his life, and Telegraph columnist Bryony Gordon will seek to inspire others through her hilarious journey from self-proclaimed ‘loafer’ to London Marathon runner.  

Geneticist and BBC Radio 4 Inside Science presenter, Adam Rutherford, will talk about how we became humans, and The One Show’s eco expert, Lucy Siegle, will call for urgent action to end the plastic pandemic. 

For food lovers, Skye McAlpine will offer an insider’s perspective on Venetian cooking and Maryam Sinai will entertain with recipes from the Persian kitchen. In Food You Can ForageTiffany Francis will show how foraging can be an adventure for the entire family.

David Lough will discuss his newly published book featuring an extraordinary exchange of letters between Winston Churchill and his mother, while Duncan Barrett will talk about what it was like to live under German occupation in the Channel Isles. Having been granted unique access to Chinese archaeologists and historians, Edward Burman will tell the story of the astounding Terracotta Warriors.

Tom Rachman, making his debut at the Festival with his novel, The Italian Teacher, will discuss the contemporary art world with Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni, daughter of Antonia Fraser and author of After Andy: Adventures in Warhol Land.

This year’s Readers’ Day will again be hosted by Woman & Home’s Fanny Blake, and will feature popular authors Sarah VaughanLouise CandlishRuth Hogan andKit de Waal along with debut writers, A J Pearce and Libby Page.

Budding writers can benefit from Creative Writing Workshops led by Rachel Marsh along with expert advice on How to Get Published.

For children there’s award-winning M G LeonardBryony Thomson, Gabrielle Djanogly and CBeebies favourite, Olobob Top, as well as Matt Haig talking about his new children’s books.

Funds raised through ticket sales and sponsorship enable the Festival to take authors into the Borough’s schools. This year’s schools’ programme takes place in July and students will be entertained by James CarterYuval ZommerLauren St JohnMuhammad KhanSimon Bartram and Christopher Lloyd.

Guildford Book Festival looks forward to once again working with its charity partners: Amnesty International, The Arts Society and Watts Gallery.  

The Festival is grateful to Headline Sponsor Simba Sleep and to sponsors Wilkins Kennedy, University of Surrey, Martin Grant Homes, The Rutland Group, Surrey Libraries and the Mandolay Hotel.

Commenting, Guildford Book Festival Co-Director Jane Beaton saysWe have a wonderful line-up of authors joining us this year, offering a wide variety of events.  With subjects from crime writing to rock music, espionage to food foraging there is something for everyone.”

Guildford Book Festival Co-Director Alex Andrews adds: “We look forward to welcoming some of the country’s best authors and illustrators and believe we have something for every taste and age.”

Tickets for Readers’ Day and the Literary Lunch are now on sale.  In addition, tickets can now be booked for two children’s events taking place over the summer with David Roberts and Yuval Zommer. For further information and to book tickets:  or 01483 444334.

Tickets for other events will be released over the summer.  




Tamsin Williams - Wigwam PR – +44 (0)1483 563562 (0)7939 651252    


Guildford Book Festival

Established in 1989, Guildford Book Festival is staged annually over 8 days across venues within the town.   Many bestselling authors have appeared at the Festival, including Jodi Picoult, Sebastian Faulks, Joanna Trollope, Joanne Harris and Ian Rankin alongside household names such as Sir Roger Moore, Jeremy Paxman, Graham Norton, Kate Adie, Brian Blessed and Sir Ian Botham.


Guildford Book Festival is a registered charity and receives core funding from Guildford Borough Council and the University of Surrey.

Festival patrons are Elizabeth Buchan, Michael Buerk, Adele Parks, Michael Rosen, Fay Weldon, Timothy West and Max Lu.