Stars still shining as local festival goes online to beat coronavirus - The Solihull Observer

Stars still shining as local festival goes online to beat coronavirus

Solihull Editorial 7th Nov, 2020   0

THE much anticipated Stratford Literary Festival Winter Weekend has moved online following the government’s lockdown announcement.

From November 20 to 25 audiences will be able to access an extensive programme of events on the festival’s website,, including twice-Booker prize winner, Dame Hilary Mantel, talking about her acclaimed Cromwell Trilogy and her latest book of essays, Mantel Pieces, broadcaster and best-selling author, Andrew Marr, in conversation with fellow BBC broadcaster Sophie Raworth about what made Britain the country it is today, Times columnist and Radio 4’s Great Lives presenter, Matthew Parris, looking at how trauma shapes great leaders and innovators, and political commentators Iain Dale and Steve Richards discussing what separates a good Prime Minister from a bad one.

The acclaimed modern historian and Reith lecturer, Margaret MacMillan, suggests that humans are programmed for war, and colonial history specialist, Michael Taylor joins Amelia Gentleman – the journalist who revealed the Windrush scandal – to explore Britain’s conflicted relationship with its colonial past.

On a lighter note, the UK’s leading impressionist Rory Bremner will explain his craft, and coping in lockdown, and audiences will be inspired by two of the country’s leading poets, Roger McGough, and Lemn Sissay, who shares his best-selling memoir.

Highly acclaimed biographer, Hermione Lee, will be in conversation with legendary director Sir Richard Eyre to discuss Sir Tom Stoppard, the subject of Hermione’s latest book.

The much-loved comedian Victoria Wood will be remembered by her biographer, Jasper Rees, and the actor Duncan Preston, who acted with her in so much of her TV work.

Historian Charles Spencer will talk about a shipwreck that changed history, Claire Wilcox, curator of fashion at the V&A, will talk about a life in clothes and, in a talk suited to the times we find ourselves in, the entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan will discuss why unpredictability is actually good for us.

New writing will be celebrated with a You Heard it Here First debut authors event, featuring three of the most exciting new voices published this autumn: Rebecca Watson, Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Gabriel Krauze.

There’s fun for families too with the Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown, a crocodile collaboration between poet Roger McGough and Stratford-based BAFTA wining illustrator Greg McLeod, and storytelling online with Kate Coleman, Stratford’s leading storyteller.

The Festival is also partnering with Cambridge Literary Festival to present an online discussion exploring the seismic impact of Covid-19 on the UK’s cultural sector.

Also at the festival will share Christmas book-buying recommendations from authors and experts, and a virtual bookshop.

Tickets are now on sale (from £5) and are available from


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