Nigella Lawson, Ronnie Wood, Sue Perkins and Nick Clegg join Cheltenham Literature Festival

Bill Bryson, Nick Frost, Robert Peston and Pointless hosts Richard Osman and Alexander Armstrong will also appear at the ten-day festival taking place this October

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Cheltenham Literature Festival will be back in October and promises to be as star-studded as always, welcoming stars of the screen, stage and page, plus major players in sport, politics and music including Bill Bryson, Nick Frost, Ronnie Wood, Nick Clegg, Robert Peston, Sue Perkins and Nigella Lawson.

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The Bake Off presenter and TV chef are among a number of stars taking part in Radio Times events, joining Terry Wogan and Meera Syal who will both be talking about their latest novels. There’ll also be the chance to go behind the scenes of The Archers, a special panel from the I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue team and a Poldark event. The future of the BBC will also be the subject of a special Radio Times debate.

Other TV favourites include Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman will be hosting an A-Z of Pointless. BBC – and Radio Times – favourites Robert Peston and Nick Robinson will be in conversation, Bill Oddie will muse on the wildlife he’s encountered during his career, while Nick Frost will talk to Edith Bowman about his life. 

Running from Friday 2nd October until Sunday 11th, the festival is the go-to place for literature lovers and boasts a stellar line-up of best-selling authors including Salman Rushdie presenting his first novel in eight years, titled Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights. Judith Kerr and Michael Morpurgo will also be in conversation, among a list of writers that includes Bill Bryson, Anita Shreve, Audrey Niffenegger, John Banville, Jojo Moyes, Louis de Bernieres, Victoria HIslop, SJ Watson, Marian Keyes, Robert Harris, David Lodge, Kate Atkinson and more. 

Over in poetry corner, proceedings are led by George the Poet, while music fans can look forward to a session with Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood revisiting his lost diary from 1965. Chrissie Hynde will also be in attendance, talking to Stuart Maconie, while Tracey Thorn will be in conversation with Mark Ellen, and actress Zoe Wanamaker will recreate a Stevie Smith music and poetry event from the 1965 Cheltenham Festival.

For political nuts, former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg will debate Europe, taking the pro-stance against MEP Daniel Hannan, and Nigel Lawson will join Gus O’Donnell and Alistair Darling to explain How to Write a Budget.

On the menu for food fans are appearances from celebrity chefs including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, John Torode, Gino D’Acampo, Rick Stein, Bill Granger and Gizzi Erskine, all taking to the festival’s Spiegeltent to serve up delicious offerings from their latest recipe books.

Leading businesswomen Michelle Mone, Martha Lane Fox and Mary Portas will be sharing the secrets of their successes, while Reginald D Hunter looks at how Britain’s changed in the last 20 years. Caitlin Moran will be on celebrity watch, Ben Cohen and Nigel Mansell will be talking sport, while Simon Schama, Sandi Toksvig and Julian Clary will also be making appearances.

Pianist James Rhodes – who won an appeal earlier this year to publish his memoir Instrumental – will perform and talk about music’s therapeutic powers, plus a special event will show an exclusive pre-recorded interview with Clive James. 

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This year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival runs from 2-11 October. Tickets are available to Cheltenham Festival members from 26th August, to Radio Times subscribers from 1st September and to the general public from 2nd September. 

See the full programme here