Cheltenham Literature Festival

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Editor's Choice

The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2020 promises to be a ‘pioneering’ first for the world’s oldest literature festival – with 160 digital and in-person events for booklovers to enjoy, this October 2020.

The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2020 will include over 160 events for literature fans from around the globe to soak-up and take part in, from Friday 2 to Sunday 11 October 2020.

The world’s oldest literature festival is being presented as a pioneering hybrid festival for the first time in 2020, with both digital and in-person events to enjoy – with more than 100 events broadcast live from Cheltenham Town Hall and the Everyman Theatre with a limited, socially-distanced live audience.

The festival programming team and guest curators, British-Turkish novelist Elif Shafak and Dishoom’s Shamil Thakrar, have curated a line-up that aims to offer something for every book-lover, featuring literary greats and fresh talent, travel and adventure, food and drink, lifestyle and psychology, history and science, art and classic literature, as well as insights from 24 journalists and columnists from The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers.

There will also be a packed family programme and the chance to virtually explore the festival site, interact with speakers, browse the bookshop and take part in activities for all ages.

SoGlos has handpicked just some of this year’s highlights, visit for the full programme.

Fiction at Cheltenham Literature Festival 2020

Gavin & Stacey creator Ruth Jones will be talking about her new novel Us Three. Rupert Everett will be recalling how the ten-year quest to make a film of Oscar Wilde’s last days almost destroyed him. And, a decade on from her game-changing feminist manifesto How to Be a Woman, The Times columnist Caitlin Moran returns with More Than a Woman in an event officially sponsored by SoGlos.

Lockdown internet sensation Andrew Cotter and his pet dogs Olive and Mabel; Ian Hislop; Claudia Winkleman; comedian Marcus Brigstocke; Ben Fogle; as well as brothers Richard Osman of Pointless fame and Suede bassist Mat Osman are also on the bill.

The Citizen’s Manifesto at Cheltenham Literature Festival 2020

New for 2020, Cheltenham Lit Fest will also present ‘The Citizen’s Manifesto’, bringing together young activists, politicians and key thinkers with the festival audience to shine a political, social, economic and cultural light on a year like no other, exploring the ways in which society could and should change in the wake of COVID-19.

These include barrister Hashi Mohamed exploring the complex issues facing social mobility; Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, examining the rise of extremist communities who despise women; and award-winning reporters Azadeh Moaveni and Christina Lamb offering a woman’s view of warfare.

Celebrating romance in all its forms, author Bolu Babalola is joined by social activist Florence Given; cultural commentators Pandora Sykes and Otegha Uwagba consider the pressures and stigmas facing modern women; while Candice Brathwaite, Jen Brister and Louise Pentland will present a call to arms to scrap the parenting rulebook.

Other names to look out for include Elif Shafak; Malcolm Gladwell, and Caleb Femi, the first young people’s laureate, as just a few examples.

The World is Waiting at Cheltenham Literature Festival 2020

Even with world travel restricted, the Cheltenham Lit Fest programme promises not to lose its international flavour, with a series of exclusive interviews with leading writers filmed at home.

These include intimate conversations with writers such as Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson; celebrated Japanese writer Sayaka Murata; Aboriginal Australian writer Tara June Winch; Canadian poet Michael Crummey and Nigeria’s Akwaeke Emezi.

Virtual visitors will be treated to vibrant voices from the poetry and spoken word scene including a dynamic performance from Inua Ellams, as well as a powerful one-woman show from Nikita Gill – the ‘most-followed poet on Instagram’.

Family programme at Cheltenham Literature Festival 2020

This year’s action-packed programme features 30 free events to be released throughout the festival, and eight live-streamed events across the festival weekends – all brimming with a multitude of authors, poets and illustrators.

Highlights include Greg James and Chris Smith with their Kid Normal show; Tom Gates creator Liz Pichon introducing her new adventure Shoe Wars; and a thrilling new instalment of Alex Rider from Anthony Horowitz; not to mention A Boy, A Mole, A Fox and A Horse author and illustrator Charlie Macksey.

As well as Oliver Jeffers; Lauren Child; and Horrible Histories actor, film writer and author Simon Farnaby; as just a few examples. There will also be interactive draw-alongs from the likes of world record breaking Rob Biddulph.

Tickets to attend Cheltenham Literature Festival 2020 in person are available to a limited socially-distanced audience, with tickets going on sale to Cheltenham Festivals gold members at 10am on Wednesday 16 September 2020; silver members on Friday 18 September 2020; bronze members on Monday 21 September 2020; and 16-25 members on Tuesday 22 September 2020 from

Cheltenham Literature Festival live streamed events will be viewable free of charge by visiting

Cheltenham Literature Festival 2020
Various venues across Cheltenham
Friday 2 to Sunday 11 October 2020
Prices vary per event.
(01242) 850270

© SoGlos
Monday 05 October 2020



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