Cheltenham Literature Festival
4-13 October 2019
The Literature Festival can be as heavyweight or flippant as you want it to be. As Britain's oldest literature festival, it commands a lot of clout and so the people of Cheltenham are sometimes to surprised to hear that, say, Hilary Clinton are to visit. It's such a mixed bag.
There's usually a theme. 2019 is to be announced but the event will celebrate its 70th birthday, so that's a start.
Events within the Festival tend to last for an hour or so, perhaps just as well, given the notoriously uncomfortable chairs on offer.
The best speakers tend to be those who are self-propelled (worthy interviewers can be a bit toe-curling in their introductions and questions). There are usually public Q&A sessions at the end to ensure some spontaneity. Expect to pay £8-£15 per speaker/event (prices tend to vary according to how often he/she has been on the telly). There are, by the way, always some good children’s events at Cheltenham Literature Festival.
It’s a good idea to book ahead. Bigger name speakers tend to get shunted over to the Racecourse. J.K. Rowling won respect for saying there was no rush and that she wouldn't leave until everyone had had things signed. On the other hand Hilary converted a few people to Trump, by arriving an hour late.
Detail of the programme are on the website, but probably the best way to get to grips with the scale of the event) and calculate how feasible it is to get from A to B) is to get hold of the Literature Festival programme and an old-school highlighter. Often, on the first pass, you’ll highlight about £300 worth of events and then have to cut back a little.
Props to The Times for sponsoring the event.