The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is delighted to reveal a selection of early highlights appearing at the world’s oldest literature festival for its highly anticipated return to physical events this autumn. From Friday 8 to Sunday 17 October, the award-winning Festival will welcome audiences to all its venues across the heart of regency Cheltenham, as the vibrant spa town comes alive for a literary celebration like no other.
Welcoming over 1000 of the world’s very best writers, thinkers, and performers, the Festival continues to lead the way in showcasing the written and spoken word with something for everyone on this year’s unmissable programme. From the biggest new book releases to up to the minute political debate, there will be events covering history, poetry, art, sport, faith, philosophy, fashion, psychology, science, travel, nature, business and much more, plus a packed family programme that will inspire a love of reading in children of all ages.
READ THE WORLD
The Festival’s 3-year theme – Read the World – will showcase the best new voices in fiction and poetry alongside literary greats and high-profile speakers from around the world. The full Read the World programme will be announced in the summer.
This year’s Fiction programme celebrates the biggest names writing today alongside inspiring new voices winning the hearts of readers. Early highlights include award-winning Maggie O’Farrell, who will reflect on the six books that would accompany her to a desert island; Torrey Peters will be talking to Elizabeth Day about her Women’s Prize-shortlisted Detransition Baby; and Elif Shafak discusses her new novel, which deals with belonging and identity, love, and trauma.
Jeanette Winterson will tackle the implications of Artificial Intelligence on the ways we live and love, Colm Tóibín takes audiences on a breath-taking journey through the eyes of the literary titan Thomas Mann, Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead will discuss his new book Harlem Shuffle as well as the miniseries adaptation of The Underground Railroad, and Guest Curator Bernardine Evaristo will chair a panel featuring Mary Jean Chan, Paul Mendez, Andrew McMillan, and Richard Scott in a celebration of queer writers.
For crime aficionados, Pointless star Richard Osman will reflect on the phenomenal success of his debut as well as introducing the Festival audience to The Man Who Died Twice; Mick Herron joins a special event honouring the great John Le Carré to mark his final novel Silverview; Ann Cleeves will discuss the latest in her Two Rivers series, and Robert Peston introduces his explosive new thriller.
CLASSIC LITERATURE & MEMOIR
For fans of classic literature, Hamilton’s Giles Terera will explore the linguistic similarities between Shakespeare and Lin-Manuel Miranda; Countdown’s Dictionary Corner doyenne Susie Dent will be sharing a history of the English language, and the mighty Sebastian Faulks joins other writers to reflect on the literary life of Paris.
The leading American activist and scholar, Rebecca Solnit, discusses her new book Orwell’s Roses with Deborah Levy, as the two consider how the author influenced their own works. Deborah Levy will also be in conversation with Guest Curator Joan Bakewell about her celebrated trilogy of ‘living autobiographies’.
For readers looking to learn more about their favourite writers, Richard Coles will be offering insight into life, death, religion, and community; presenter Anita Rani will recall growing up as a second-generation British Indian woman up north while Nikesh Shukla considers the world into which his young daughter, as a mixed-race girl, is growing.
POETRY & OFF THE PAGE
Giving a taster of the Festival’s legendary Poetry & Off the Page events, are the award-winning and bestselling poetry anthologist, Allie Esiri, who will be championing the hidden gems of poetry as well as the much-revered poets who shaped us. The taboo-busting, poetry and prose prodigy Hollie McNish holds up a mirror to our everyday existence, and Dylan Thomas Prize winning Kayo Chingonyi will present his dazzling second collection exploring inheritance.
STAGE & SCREEN
Adding some glitz and glamour to this year’s Festival will be the unapologetic Joan Collins giving a glimpse into the pages of her diary, star of the hit TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Bimini Bon Boulash will offer a behind-the-scenes look into the life of a drag queen, and the trailblazing frontwoman of Skunk Anansie, Skin will reveal what it is like to have been a global female icon over the past 25 years.
Former politician, TV personality and Strictly royalty Ed Balls will reminisce on his early life and love of food, Gyles Brandreth explores his family history against a backdrop of 1950s Britain, comedian Josh Widdicombe will take a trip down memory lane as he recounts the TV shows that shaped his childhood and its wider impact on British culture, and Festival favourite Bob Mortimer returns to discuss his first autobiography, And Away….
CURRENT AFFAIRS, SCIENCE, FAITH & PHILOSOPHY
For those wanting to make a difference, Ed Miliband will teach Festival goers how to fix the world, while Amika George – founder of the Free Periods movement – and entrepreneur and youth activist Jeremiah Emmanuel share their Activist Toolkit, and Musa Okwonga opens up about his experience as young black man studying at Eton College. Ruby Wax lifts the spirits and finds the positives in every day, Sarah Sands finds a way to de-stress in the modern age, and Richard Dawkins will share an electrifying celebration of science writing and an essential guide to the most exciting ideas of our time.
Critically acclaimed actor David Harewood will share his deeply personal, powerful and provocative exploration of race, identity, breakdown and recovery with the Cheltenham audience; Love Island and government ambassador for youth mental health, Dr Alex George will provide an invaluable guide for both physical and mental wellbeing; actor Evanna Lynch will deliver a raw yet intensely thoughtful account of her recovery from anorexia, and Hassan Akkad – Syrian refugee, cleaner and refugee rights activist – will share his journey of hope and connection.
FOOD, LIFESTYLE, SPORT & ART
For foodie fans, cookery stylist and writer Anna Jones will reveal how one pan can save the planet, Grace Dent and Katy Wix reflect on the central role of food in our lives and Ravinder Bhogal shares her favourite recipes from an immigrant kitchen.
Radio DJ and broadcaster Annie Mac and Candice Brathwaite, founder of Make Motherhood Diverse, share the life lessons they wish they had heard as young girls, and the extraordinary Michael Rosen will offer advice for those navigating the challenges that come when caring for a loved one.
Katy Hessel, art historian and podcaster, participates in a panel of women making waves in the art world to explore the feminist art history revolution in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Linda Nochlin's 'why have there been no great women artists?'; and author and photographer Caleb Azumah Nelson and Charlotte Jansen will share some of the most exciting photographers defining the art form today.
Footballing legend Peter Schmeichel relives his career prime at Manchester United, England rugby star James Haskell will share his voyage of self-discovery on retiring from international sport, and boxer and humanitarian Ramla Ali will offer her valuable lessons about what it takes to become a champion.
HISTORY & ANCIENT WORLD
History buffs are in for a treat with this year’s Festival with military historian Max Hastings shedding light on Operation Pedestal, Alison Weir will conclude her sweeping Tudor saga with an introduction to the last of Henry VIII’s sextet of wives, Katharine Parr; and Antonia Fraser is in conversation with Allan Mallinson about her new biography on the nineteenth century pioneering women’s rights activist Caroline Norton. Sathnam Sanghera explores the impact of our imperialist history on modern Britain, and Fatima Manji offers a vital new perspective on Britain and the Orient.
NATURE, TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE
The original Yorkshire shepherdess Amanda Owen offers a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a farmer in all seasons, and Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and Sam Lee will explore the nightingale in folklore, poetry, and song. Nepalese mountaineer Nimsdai Purja and former Royal Marines sniper turned adventurer Aldo Kane will share their stories of making the impossible possible.
This year’s bumper Family programme, invites children and young adults on an unforgettable literary adventure around our own world and beyond. Festival favourite Lenny Henry unveils his first book for children, Victoria Hislop returns to the Greek setting of her international bestseller The Island in her debut children’s book Marias’ Island and the nation’s favourite storyteller Michael Morpurgo introduces his first new novel in two years, When Fishes Flew.
Further highlights include magic, mayhem, and mishaps galore from current Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell and Tom Gates’ creator Liz Pichon.
This year, the non-fiction programme is bigger and better than ever, including four special events curated by Guest Curators The Week Junior. Sports icon Clare Balding presents ideas on how to develop resilience in the face of tough situations; CBeebies presenter Maddie Moate shares some mind-boggling facts about the stuff we use every day; and the original QI Elf, Molly Oldfield will be providing the answers to the most curious questions.
Poets and performers pop up across the programme. Word-play maestro Jonny Fluffypunk performs his new show, The End of the Pier Show, complete with poetry, puppetry, story, song, and a healthy dose of ramshackle anarchy; James Mayhew’s musical production Once Upon a Tune tells stories from the orchestra and stand-up poet Joshua Seigal performs from his new collection Yapping Away!. Spoken word poets Tongue Fu and Chris Redmond will showcase the power of poetry and music in the fight against climate change.
Little ones will be in for a treat with events from the extraordinarily talented Spanish author-illustrator Anuska Allepuz, Meet the Oceans with Caryl Hart, the award-winning illustrator and designer Dapo Adeola, plus blockbuster Supertato creators Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet will be bringing the laughs with their spooky new read Supertato: Night of the Living Veg. With live drawing, props and live music, author and illustrator of the brilliant Big Bright Feelings series Tom Percival shares the craft of creating picture books and shows that even little people can have big feelings.
The Upper World, soon to be a Netflix film produced by and starring Oscar winner Daniel Kaluuya, Alex Wheatle will share his powerful historical novel based on the true stories of the eighteenth-century slave uprising, and Holly Jackson will unveil the final instalment in her killer A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder trilogy.
FULL PROGRAMME & BOOKING
The full Festival line-up will be announced on 12 August at cheltenhamfestivals.com. Booking for the Literature Festival opens to Cheltenham Festivals Members on Friday 3 September and general booking opens on 10 September.
The Big Feastival, proudly presented by M&S Food, today announces even more additions to its incredible line-up of music, food and family entertainment, plus a brand-new stage for 2021, as the festival returns for its 10th anniversary, bigger than ever! For the very first time, the Bank Holiday Weekend extravaganza, taking place 27-29 August 2021, will be hosting the BBC Music Introducing Stage, championing the very best in new music and artists, alongside the festival’s unrivalled programme of music, family fun, world class chefs and award-winning street food. Weekend, Camping and most day tickets are already sold out, only Friday Day Tickets remain, available at www.thebigfeastival.com.
Joining Sigala, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Rag’n’Bone Man, Zara Larsson, Tom Grennan, All Saints, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and many more on this year’s main stage line-up are Scottish rising star Rianne Downey and brand-new bedroom pop act Lucy Blue, who has been making waves with her heart-stopping single See You Later. For the little festival-goers, YolanDa’s Band Jamare hitting the main stage on Friday, and are sure to get everyone to bop, bounce and boogie along.
Other musical treats will come from one of the festival’s most beloved destinations, Alex James’ Cheese Hub, which will be hosting some very special guest DJs sets across the three days. These include DJ and producer Lottie, the legendary Norman Jay MBE, electronic music icon Danny Rampling, superstar DJ Fat Tony, Krafty Kuts, one of the key pioneers in the UK breakbeat and bass movement, mixing maestro A Skillz, as well as special sets from Alex James and friends.
The Big Feastival has also today announced a plethora of rising stars that will be playing the brand-new BBC Music Introducing Stage across the weekend, showcasing the very best in new music. On Friday, taking to stage are singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Campbell Sibthorpe, captivating songwriter Ruth Kelly, alternative dance collective Pandapopalypse, emotive Folk singer Izzie Derry, Ramptom Prom and their unique mix of choppy beats, poetic lyricism and quirky analogue arrangements, infectious indie rock band Candid, as well as rising electronic pop artist ENY.
Fans of new music will be treated to a breath of fresh talent on the Saturday, including electro and disco-fuelled sound by Zkeletonz, alternative folk singer songwriter Dolly Mavies, energetic pop rock band Chasing Deer, singer songwriter Laura Christopher, dynamic and multi-talented performer Reece Bahia, soulful Jules Rendell and band Easter Island Statues, who have never been to Easter Island.
Joining the BBC Music Introducing Stage’s Sunday line-up are R&B and soul singer-songwriter Jen Berkova, Premium Leisure, the solo project of songwriter/producer and guitarist Chris Barker, Americana-infused pop/rock band The Rising, Wandering Wires and their contemporary Jazz, singer Chikaya, with her unique flows and futuristic, dreamy sound, as well as space rock band junodream.
To top it all off, The Bandstand will make a jam-packed welcome return this year, and will feature guaranteed giggles by comedy trio The Yoko Mainwaring Experience, a melodic set by singer-songwriter Joe Hicks, child friendly block party anthems by FUN DMC – Naughty & Nice, festival favourite DJ BBQ, Indie-folk / Americana band The Dunwells, a DJ Battle by Dick and Dom, Drum and Bass, as well as 80’s Power Ballad Workouts, Hula-Hoop workshops, an 80’s themed pub quizand much more.
The Big Feastival, which has become renowned for delivering music of the highest calibre, world class chefs, award-winning street food and an unrivalled programme of family entertainment, is pulling out all the stops for 2021, including an exceptional line-up of culinary stars taking to the stage, such as Nathan Outlaw, Mark Hix, Ching He Huang MBE, Theo Randall, Ping Coombes, Giz & Greens, Matt Tebbutt, Candice Brown and Ralph Rolle. The festival will also be bringing the very best of family entertainment, including Children’s TV Megastar Justin Fletcher, Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Five, Andy and the Odd Socks, Aardman Animation with more live entertainment to be discovered across the weekend.
For full information on the music, food and family programmes and to purchase tickets, visit: www.thebigfeastival.com
A new cocktail lounge is set to be unveiled in Stow-on-the-Wold next month, replacing the Old Stocks Inn’s Little Stocks Coffee Shop.
The boutique hotel and restaurant is transforming its coffee shop into a sumptuously furnished 24-seater cocktail lounge, serving up a new menu of creative and unique drinks.
Charlotte Tuck, business and brand development manager at the Old Stocks Inn, said: “We’re so excited to be putting the finishing touches to our new cocktail lounge, which is expected to open early July.
“Over the six years we’ve been in business, we’ve built up quite a reputation for our cocktail menu and so this felt like a natural progression, expanding the space we have available for our cocktail lovers, both from here in the Cotswolds and travellers from further afield, too.”
The lounge, overlooks The Square in Stow, will be decorated in the signature Old Stocks style, combining luxurious fixtures and furnishings with a relaxed and comfortable feel.
Both hotel residents and locals will be welcome, with cocktail and canape packages set to be available for overnight guests.
Charlotte added: “Our cocktail lounge will bring a new dimension to Stow’s hospitality and tourism offering. When we refurbished the hotel back in 2015 we shook up the local market by creating a truly unique hotel that combines quirky design and Cotswolds charm with luxurious touches – and that’s exactly what we’ve done with the new lounge, too.
“We’re proud to be shaking things up once again and we can’t wait to welcome in our first customers very soon.”
Drinks featured on the Old Stocks’ new cocktail menu include ‘Fool’s Gold’ – a mix of Aperol, vodka, pineapple and cream of coconut; ‘Fog’ – combining IPA and rum with brandy, gin, almond syrup and lemon; and the ‘Notorius F.I.G’ – which brings together gin, fig syrup and fig liqueur.
In 2019 the Old Stocks released the first edition of its own cocktail recipe book: The Old Stocks Little Book of Cocktails.
ARTIST IMPRESSIONS OF THE NEW COCKTAIL LOUNGE
It was announced today that The Ebrington Arms has been sold to the Barkby Group.
In a statement on Instagram, Ebrington landlady Claire Alexander said;
"After nearly 15 years, we’re finally ready to hand over the reigns at The Ebrington Arms.
We were approached a while ago and it felt like the right time so we can focus on @thekillingworth (our other pub just up the road!) & our family.
Going to miss everyone who has helped us achieve more than we ever dreamed of at The Ebrington Arms. While the locals were aghast when we rocked up from London in 2007 having never had a pub before, I think we’ve built a sustainable business to be proud of and put our corner of the Cotswolds on the map. We’ve met characters from all over the world and some have become lifelong friends. The Yubby is where we learned the trade, brought our kids into the world, started brewing @yubbybitter and created a pub that foodies and beer lovers kept coming back to.
Jim and I are SO very thankful for that. A pub is just walls without its people & atmosphere after all.
New owners, Barkby Group, are no newcomers to the trade. With a heritage in maintaining character in their unique Cotswold properties, they’ve told us little will change and we hope you give them a big, famous Yubby welcome.
While it feels like the end of an era to us (ref all my nostalgic ‘before & after’ posts of late!) the team will largely remain the same but our Head chef, Adam Brown, has moved to The Killingworth Castle with us.
Bottoms up darlings, it’s been a pleasure and an absolute blast.
Love, Claire & Jim"
The Barkby Group boast The Five Alls at Filkings, The Bull at Fairford and The Plough Inn at Kelmscott in their portfolio of pubs and hotels in the Cotswolds.
The line-up for the 2021 Wilderness Festival was announced this morning.
Jamie xx, Loyle Carner and Rudimental will headline the festival that takes place at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire from 5-8 August.
You can see the full line up and buy tickets on the Wilderness website - www.wildernessfestival.com
Following the launch of The Wild Rabbit in 2013, Carole Bamford will open her second pub with rooms at the beginning of next year. Keeping true to its original heritage, The Fox will remain a welcoming pub for the community, and pitstop for country walks.
Continuing the legacy of its previous owners, the traditional inn will serve a hearty menu with classic pub dishes such as burgers, fish & chips and Sunday roasts, made with local organic ingredients. Seating up to 90 covers inside, a spacious terrace will accommodate a further 40 people.
The pub will house eight bedrooms, all decorated in Daylesford’s signature style and opposite, The Coach House offers a self-catering alternative ideal for larger families or parties of friends.
Daylesford Farm is set in over 2,500 acres of idyllic rolling organic countryside. Recently awarded a Green Star by the Michelin Guide, the farm is home to the flagship farmshop, Bamford Wellness Spa and three restaurants: The Old Spot, The Trough Café and The Legbar. The Cookery School offers a range of courses to suit different levels and a busy schedule of events such as floristry courses, gardening workshops and market garden tours provides plenty to do.