Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Bookworm Heaven

The 59th Cheltenham Literature Festival is taking place in and around town at the moment, with authors, journalists, famous faces and bookworms coming out to play. The event was started in 1949 by a small group of friends and was the worlds first literature festival, it is now one of the worlds biggest celebrations of writing, attracting tens of thousands of visitors. Over the festivals 10 day run there are 350 events featuring debates, interviews, readings, book signings and workshops. This years festival has former BBC journalist Kate Adie and Rebus author Ian Rankin as Guest Directors, responsible for the programme of the weekend events.

I'm not a very book-ish person, I prefer non-fiction books filled with useless facts, so I have never been to anything to do with the festival. Until this weekend. Phoebe and I went to The Centaur, at the Racecourse, to see Doctor Who re-inventor Russel T Davies and John Barrowman, who plays Captain Jack in the series. It was a really entertaining evening, they were both interviewed and talked about their respective books, and then answered questions from the audience. Neither of them were giving anything away about the upcoming Doctor Who specials in 2009 but it was still an insightful evening.

Most of the festival takes place at the Town Hall and in these tents behind the building, in Imperial Gardens. This large tent is a temporary Waterstone's bookshop and also the venue for book signings, a great place for celebrity spotting. The festival draws some big names, this year the famous faces include James Bond star Roger Moore, former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, Hollywood legend Tony Curtis, Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison and Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He opened the event last Friday, glad he wasn't busy sorting out the financial crisis! He has got a book to sell, perhaps he needs a few extra quid in these hard times!

11 comments:

lynn said...

Took the thought out of my mind, Marley. Surely Gordon Brown would have more on his hands? No, no, the book promo must come first...

These are lovely photos, especially the one of Barrowman. Looking straight into your lens. Great. I enjoyed the history of the lit fest too, thanks!

D.C. Confidential said...

Our book festival is still in its infancy and has a lot of potential for growth. What you describe in Cheltenham is what I hope Washington's will be one day. Sounds like you and Mrs. Phoebe had a lovely time. Will you go back over the next week and a half?

Kate said...

Wow! I am impressed at the breadth of your festival. The top photo of the reading tree is creative and imaginative.

Rambling Round said...

A book festival sounds fun to me!

Neva said...

It sounds like a wonderful festival whether you read or not....I have not ever understood Dr. Who..I saw it years ago...and I guess it is still on? I know many people who love it.

Hilda said...

Aaaaah! Book us seats to Cheltenham!!!


Uh, have I made it obvious that my husband and I are bookworms? I think we can actually have our own lit fest in our house — books and videos! :D

I also love the new Dr Who, but since I don't watch TV (we don't even have cable), I wait until the season's out on DVD then have a viewing marathon.

Saretta said...

Wow, looks wonderful! Wish I could have been there!

magiceye said...

combination of book and celebrity spotting!!

Lori said...

You have quite a few big events in Cheltenham! This one sounds wonderful. Wish I was there to take part in it!

babooshka said...

What a wonderrul in depth post. Some excellent journalistic photography. What a diverse collection of poeple and for once some real celebrities, like Curtis. As for Dr Who, A cardbaord cut out of the Tardis is still my best offer. Superb post.

pawpads said...

Every year I say that I'm going to go to this festival. And every year I don't make it.
Maybe next year.

Loving your blog. It's lovely to see photos of places that I know.

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