EXCLUSIVE: Literary Festival line-up revealed

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Stars of screen and the page are stepping up to make the ninth Stratford Literary Festival the biggest ever.

As the eyes of the world are turned on Stratford-upon-Avon for the Shakespeare 400 celebrations in April, the Literary Festival is putting on a packed programme that confirms Stratford as the most significant cultural towns in the world.

The Herald was given an exclusive peek at the programme ahead of tickets going on sale on Monday, 1st February.

Heading a line up of over 100 events this year will be the naturalist and Springwatch presenter, Chris Packham, launching his new autobiography; multi-million selling writer Julia Donaldson performing her favourite stories; Masterchef’s John Torode and champion of the high street, Mary Portas; Coast presenter Alice Roberts will be exploring the Celts, one of the most mysterious ancient civilisations, and music broadcaster Paul Gambuccini will describe the traumas of being under suspicion in Operation Yewtree. Veteran writer Hunter Davies will share memories of growing up in Cumbria, and journalist and broadcaster, John McCarthy will be giving his personal view of events in the Middle East 25 years after his release as a hostage.

The programme includes an extensive selection of fiction with Costa First Novel winner Andrew Hurley, Pulitzer prize-winner Rod Norland, former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis with her first novel, and Man Booker Prize Winning author, Howard Jacobson.

See Thursday’s arts pages for more news about the line-up and activities taking place at during the festival, which runs from 24th April to 1st May.