Cheltenham Literature Festival 2019 first names revealed

The first big names for The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2019 have just been revealed, with icons of the stage and screen joining music legends, comedians, celebrity chefs and groundbreaking writers.


More than 1,000 of the best writers, thinkers and performers will be taking part in the 70th anniversary of the Cheltenham Literature Festival, from Friday 4 to Sunday 13 October 2019 – with the first names including some exciting exclusives for the festival.

Event tickets sure to sell-out first include the chance to see Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry talk about her first ever memoir FACE IT. Status Quo icon Francis Rossi will also be sharing his autobiography I Talk Too Much, with the hilarious Richard Ayoade on the bill, and Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes talking about the upcoming feature film.

The ever-popular naturalist, writer and television presenter Steve Backshall is back in town. While another sure highlight will be intrepid travelling legend Michael Palin who will be sharing his adventures in South Korea with an anticipated sell-out Cheltenham audience.

Gloucester’s very own celebrity chef Tom Kerridge will be returning to Cheltenham Literature Festival, while Queer Eye meets Bake Off with Tan France and Nadiya Hussain discussing their upbringings, and comedians Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer talking friendship and fishing!

David Nicholls returns to Cheltenham to introduce his anticipated new novel Sweet Sorrow, alongside other literary greats including Ali Smith, Max Porter, Ian McEwan, Philippa Gregory, Celeste Ng, Jung Chang, new Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, and much lauded Bang Said The Gun and Tongue Fu.

Other names to look out for at the Lit Fest 2019 include Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, veteran Radio 4 presenter John Humphrys, one of world’s most renowned scientists, Richard Dawkins, and cricketing hero Alastair Cook.

The packed Family programme, meanwhile, includes the legendary Malorie Blackman, presenter Dermot O’Leary and illustrator Nick East with the latest escapades of Toto the Ninja Cat, and some horrendously horrid fun with Francesca Simon, as well as Cressida Cowell, Danny Wallace, Dougie Poynter and Konnie Huq.

The full Cheltenham Literature Festival line-up will be announced on Friday 16 August 2019. Ticket bookings for Cheltenham Festivals members opens from 10am on Wednesday 28 August 2019, before general booking opens at 10am on Wednesday 4 September 2019.

For more information see Cheltenham Literature Festival or visit directly.

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