A look ahead to the 2013 Chester Literature Festival

Derek Jacobi

Derek Jacobi - Credit: not Archant

Big names from broadcasting and the literary world head for the 2013 Chester Literature Festival this month

Chester Performs has lined up an impressive list of big names for this year’s Chester Literature Festival.

Running from October 13-27 in the city’s Town Hall and University, this year’s festival will be jam-packed with events, workshops, readings and signings to appeal to all ages and literary preferences.

The programme ranges from an 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 will 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 whilst offering an insight into the zany world that is Tim Vine.

Paul Lavin at Chester Performs said:’Chester Literature Festival continues to grow in size and stature and we are thrilled to continually attract such great talent from across the board – from authors, to presenters, comedians and historians.’

Kicking off things on October 13th is Mark Lewisohn’s eagerly awaited account of The Beatles: All These Years. Mark will be interviewed by broadcaster David Freeman who will talk to the author about his unprecedented access for this ambitious book.

BBC presenter Kate Humble will give a personal account of her move from London and her 20 square foot garden to becoming the owner of a Welsh farm complete with 117 acres of land.

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Veteran war correspondent Kate Adie and Radio 5 Live presenter Richard Bacon 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 details of how hard the uphill struggle was for admission into the world of men; while Richard talks about his debut book – A series of Unrelated Events – based on his true life experiences. Broadcasters Henry Blofield, Paul Morley and Peter Snow will also appear.

Theatre lovers are in for a treat in a one off unmissable event, 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.

Sir Derek Jacobi joins singer Ruthie Culver and her Utter:Jazz Collective, in an evening of poetry, music and jazz. Benjamin Britten’s settings of WH Auden poetry will be reinvigorated by the musicians with Jacobi reading the poems aloud.

Additional highlights for 2013 include authors Kate Mosse, Fay Wheldon, and Simon Singh. Dame Margaret Drabble will also make an appearance the week before the publication of her new novel, 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. Historian and Writer Matthew Dennison also 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 Cheshire’s Tony Husband’s A Cartoon History of Chester – a cartoon, poetry and improvisation session. Poet, broadcaster and comedian Ian McMillan together with former Cartoonist of the Year, Tony Husband present a live cartoon show in which they reflect upon local stories and legends. 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. For those who like their dictionaries less conventional, Jon Canter is appearing; 30 years ago he worked with Galactic Hitchhiker 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.

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.

For full details and tickets visit: www.chesterliteraturefestival.co.uk Discounts for students and children.

Telephone bookings can be made on 0845 2417868 or in person at Chester Visitor Information Centre.

University at the Festival events are Free by must be booked in advance.