A galaxy of stars has been announced for the 2013 Essar Chester Literature Festival which takes place in the city in October.
Kate Humble, Sir Derek Jacobi, Kate Adie, Richard Bacon and Clive James are just some of the familiar faces announced by organisers Chester Performs who will be heading for the city to talk about their new literary works.
Running from October 13-27 in the Town Hall and the University of Chester, this year’s festival looks set to be equally jam-packed with events, workshops, readings and signings to appeal to all ages, tastes and literary preferences.
Paul Lavin, festivals manager at Chester Performs, said: “We are delighted once again to announce a packed festival, full of great names from the literary world and beyond.
“The Chester Literature Festival continues to grow in size and stature year on year and we are just thrilled to continually attract such great talent from across the board – from authors, to presenters, comedians and historians.”
The programme ranges from a critically acclaimed new translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy by broadcaster Clive James to punmeister and actor, comedian and Guinness World Record holder Tim Vine who makes his Chester Literature Festival debut to launch his new book, The Bumper Book of Silliness.
In his light-hearted and family friendly Q and A session at the Town Hall, Tim will deliver many a round of his quick fire gags and puns while offering an insight into the zany world that is Tim Vine.
Kicking off this year’s festival on October 13 is Mark Lewisohn’s eagerly awaited and ten years in the making account of one of the most famous bands in the world - The Beatles: All These Years.
To launch this year’s event, Mark will be interviewed by acclaimed broadcaster David Freeman who will talk to the author about his extensive research and unprecedented access for this most ambitious and compelling of popular culture biographies ever written.
Alongside Mark and Tim on the bill at this year’s festival is much loved BBC presenter Kate Humble who gives a highly personal account of her life-changing move from London and her 20 square foot garden to becoming the owner of a Welsh farm complete with 117 acres of land and no previous experience.
Also from the world of broadcasting, are veteran war correspondent Kate Adie and Radio 5 Live presenter Richard Bacon who present individual sessions on their forthcoming books.
Kate will talk about her non-fiction work, Fighting From the Home Front – which tells the story of the First World War years through the eyes of women, unearthing fascinating and eye-watering details of just how hard the uphill struggle was for admission into the world of men.
Richard will be talking about his debut book – A Series of Unrelated Events – based on many of his unfortunate but endearing true life experiences.
Henry Blofield, Paul Morley and Peter Snow complete the line-up of acclaimed broadcasting talent who are participating in their own individual events.
Theatre lovers are in for a treat in a one off unmissable event, put together exclusively for the festival, as playwright Mike Poulton discusses - in conversation with premier arts interviewer Mark Lawson - his adaptations of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies for the RSC this December.
Together they will discuss the difficulties in squeezing over a thousand pages of prose into two stage plays in one of the year’s most ambitious arts projects.
Mark will also be speaking at his own separate festival session on his new novel The Deaths.
Sir Derek Jacobi joins singer Ruthie Culver and her Utter:Jazz Collective in a unique evening of poetry, music and jazz.
Benjamin Britten’s settings of WH Auden poetry will be reinvigorated by these skilled musicians with the unique contribution of Jacobi, one of Britain’s finest actors, joining them to read the poems aloud.
Another joyously entertaining evening awaits as Patrick Barlow brings to Chester his most famous creation, the hilariously pompous Desmond Oliver Dingle, founder and leading actor of the National Theatre of Brent – a treat for his many fans of his TV, stage and radio work.
Additional key highlights for 2013 include individual one-off sessions with best-selling and best loved authors Kate Mosse, Fay Wheldon, and Simon Singh who will explain the mathematics to be found peppered throughout The Simpsons TV show.
Dame Margaret Drabble is also making an appearance at this year’s festival, in the week before the publication of her first novel for the best part of a decade, The Pure Gold Baby.
History buffs are sure to be delighted with the presence of former Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd who, together with Edward Young – a former speech writer for David Cameron - discuss their new book Disraeli.
This new book, marking their third collaboration together, explores the very different sides to this often, misunderstood political figure.
Historian and writer Matthew Dennison will discuss his fresh, witty and compelling assessment of Queen Victoria, in his new book – Queen Victoria a Life of Contradictions.
Poetry fans will love the satirical verse of Radio 4 regular Luke Wright. Described by The Independent as ‘one of the funniest and most brilliant poets of his generations’, he is bringing his seventh one man poetry show, Essex Lion, to Chester.
Families are also in for a treat with Ian McMillan and Tony Husband’s A Cartoon History of Chester – a cartoon, poetry and improvisation session.
Yorkshire poet, broadcaster and comedian Ian McMillan together with former Cartoonist of the Year Tony Husband present a hilarious live-action cartoon show in which the two funny men reflect upon local stories and legends through image and verse.
In addition, in a one-off family workshop, the pair will talk about the fusing of poetry and cartoons before setting the audience their very own challenge culminating in a Grand Cartoon-in and a Poem relay race.
Youngsters will also be enthralled by Frank Cottrell Boyce, the writer of last year’s Olympic opening ceremony as he shares his thoughts on his latest Chitty Chitty Bang Bang book.
Award-winning storyteller and festival favourite, Dan Morden brings his spellbinding theatrical show, A Love Like Salt, to delight audiences aged 12 and upwards as he tells three wonderfully engrossing tales drawn from the past and skilfully spun into gripping yarns for the present.
Lovers of all things wordy will enjoy an evening with John Simpson, the chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, who will just have retired prior to his appearance in Chester, after 40 years on the OED, 20 of them at the helm.
He will reflect on the words and the stories that have punctuated his time on the world’s most famous dictionary.
For those who like their dictionaries less conventional, Jon Canter is appearing. Thirty years ago he worked with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy creator Douglas Adams and QI’s John Lloyd on The Meaning of Liff, an alternative dictionary ‘for things there should be words for’.
Thirty years on, Cantor is back with an updated version, penned with John Lloyd, called Afterliff.
And to complete the celebration of words, the country’s favourite linguist David Crystal is also on hand to take the audience on a tour of Britain based on the history of the language – from Anglo Saxon Kent to 21st century London via Scotland, Wales and East Anglia and via all periods in between.
The Chester Literature Festival is also delighted this year to be hosting a series of public lectures from some of the University of Chester’s leading lecturers.
The University at the Festival strand includes lectures from Professor Peter Gaunt who will talk about what it was like to fight in the English Civil War while Dr Meggen Gondek, a specialist in the arts and archaeology of early medieval Northern Britain, lectures on a fascinating archaeological dig she has been leading in Rhynie in Aberdeenshire.
Other topics covered in the lecture series include a look at the adaptations of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and a reappraisal of poet and composer Ivor Gurney.
Various fringe events will also take place across the city, running alongside the 2013 Chester Literature Festival, including a day of events celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Chester Poets, a debate about teen vampire literature by the Chester Debating Society and the Waverton Good Read Award Dinner with author Rachel Joyce.
Public booking opens on Monday, August 19. Visit www.chesterliteraturefestival.co.uk.