Chester Literature Festival Returns

Storyhouse announces Chester Literature Festival with its biggest line-up yet. Featuring major authors, storytellers, broadcasters and poets.

Saturday 10 November - Saturday 1 December, Storyhouse, Chester

Nigella Lawson
Hollie McNish
Lemn Sissay
Joanna Trollope
Jenni Murray
Dolly Alderton
Robin Ince
Pam Ayres
Luke Wright
Anton Lesser
John Simpson

Poets Lemn Sissay, Luke Wright and Hollie McNish, celebrity chef Nigella Lawson and broadcasters Jenni Murray, Dolly Alderton, John Simpson and Pam Ayres top the bill alongside a raft of novelists, musicians and performers fresh from Edinburgh Fringe.

Lemn Sissay MBE is the festival's artist in residence, his poems, all written at dawn, will be installed across Storyhouse creating an enormous poetry book. Sissay will also be in conversation with novelist Jenni Fagan.

Other poets on the bill include Ted Hughes prize-winner Hollie McNish returning to Storyhouse to perform more of her acclaimed poems former children's Laureate Michael Rosen and award-winning poet Luke Wright.

Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson celebrates the 20th anniversary of her book How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food. The inimitable Jenni Murray celebrates great women from around the world - rescuing some from obscurity and shining a new light on familiar names.

With over 40 years' experience in international journalism John Simpson has now turned his hand to fiction, his novel Moscow, Midnight explores the city's dark underworld. Author of 17 bestselling novels Joanna Trollope will be in conversation with writer Penny Feeny. New York Times bestseller Jodi Picoult will discuss her latest novel A Spark of Light.

There will be an audience with Pam Ayres who's been making the nation laugh for over 40 years, plus broadcaster Dan Snow returns to the festival to discuss his latest book.

Writer, broadcaster and stand-up comedian Viv Groskop will give a unique talk on the art of brilliant speaking whilst creative coach Deborah Henry-Pollard's first book What's Your Excuse for not Succeeding as an Artist will explore what stops artists fulfilling their potential. Plus, journalists Laura Robertson (Frieze, a-n, Hyperallergic) and David Atkinson will lead workshops on arts criticism and new writing respectively.

Award-winning, bestselling psychologist Robert Plomin discusses the ground-breaking genetic revelation that DNA can show to understand who we are and who we'll become. Whilst comedian Robin Ince will give a talk on what makes us human.

Ross Sutherland leaves his recording studio to present a special live edition of his award-winning podcast series Imaginary Advice.

Award-winning filmmaker and photographer Sue Flood discusses 20 years spent visiting the heart of penguin colonies in places as remote and challenging as Antarctica. Plus, journalist, former Sunday Times dating columnist and host of one of iTunes' number one podcasts, Love Stories and The High-Low, Dolly Alderton.

Hilary Mantel's booker prize winning novel Wolf Hall was transformed into an acclaimed six-part BBC drama, its score by Debbie Wiseman will be performed alongside extracts from Wolf Hall and its first sequel Bring Up The Bodies read by Anton Lesser - who played Sir Thomas More in the BBC series.

Costa Novel award winner Christie Watson will be in Chester to talk about her latest book - an absorbing account of her former life as a children's nurse, illuminating hospital wards and corridors - and the state of the NHS. Prize winning author Patrick Gale will discuss his latest novel Take Nothing With You.

Raoul Martinez will discuss his decade-in-the-making book Creating Freedom and he will be interviewed by his sister Francesca Martinez - the award-winning comedian and writer.

William Clegg, QC, is one of the most celebrated advocates at the English bar. A barrister for 47 years, his new book Under The Wig - A Lawyer's Stories of Murder, Guilt and Innocence, revisits his most notorious trials.

Storytelling theatre features in the busy line-up, acclaimed storyteller and performer James Rowland will perform his piece A Hundred Words for Love examining why relationships fail.

Storyteller Douglas Walker will unravel a shocking true story with his ingenious new comic play Of Christmas Past. Rob Auton's The Talk Show received five 5 star reviews at the Edinburgh Festival 2018, he will perform at the Garret Theatre.

Chester University join the bill with a range of fascinating events by lecturers, poets, playwrights and authors, plus festival favourite Poetry Pub Crawl with Molly Naylor and Gavin Osborn will bask in the glory of Chester's finest drinking establishments culminating in a wine-fuelled finale at Storyhouse.

Alex Clifton, artistic director of Storyhouse said:

Our annual Literature Festival is a welcome break from phones and iPads - it comes to the city's events calendar when it's dark at 4 o clock and all you want to do is be indoors, where its warm - with a good book. For three weeks Storyhouse will be home to some of the UK's brightest thinkers, writers and performers, to fascinating conversations and ideas - everyone is welcome!'

To find out more and book visit

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