Much to see at Stratford Literary Festival this week

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The Stratford Literary Festival celebrates its glorious 12th year with a superb line-up of speakers and events. The eight day spring festival commenced yesterday (Sunday) includes speakers debating science and ideas, mental health and women’s issues, medicine and the news, as well as welcoming some of the most celebrated literary fiction authors writing today.

Leading the way will be names including former ballet dancer and Strictly judge, Dame Darcey Bussell (Saturday), Bake Off judge Prue Leith (Thursday), actress Juliet Stevenson (Monday) and screenwriter Andrew Davies (Saturday), whose latest hit Les Misérables has been on our screens recently.

There’s music with Classic FM’s John Suchet (Tuesday), pianist Lucy Parham and leading female conductor, Jane Glover (Monday). Real Marigold Hotel’s Rosemary Shrager (Monday) will be sharing her thoughts on food and globetrotting, and leading medics Henry March, Richard Shepherd and Angela Gallop will be sharing their expertise.

The festival will also be showcasing award-winning writers including Ali Smith, John Lanchester, Tessa Hadley and Booker-prize winner Ben Okri, and welcoming back classicist Natalie Haynes and best-selling novelist, Patrick Gale.

Speakers on mental health include crime writer Nicci French discussing the impact of dementia, and writers Ella Risbridger and Laura Freeman share the moments and meals that saved them. Historians headlining the Festival will be Alison Weir, Damien Lewis and Tracy Borman, and best-selling crime writers include Mark Billingham and Elly Griffiths.

Children can enjoy the multi-million bestselling writers Jacqueline Wilson and Francesca Simon and illustrators Lydia Monks and Nick Sharratt, plus stage shows of the much loved books The Rainbow Fish and Aliens Love Underpants.

Children’s Day this year rounds off the Festival on 5th May.★

For full programme events and to book tickets visit www.ticketsource.co.uk/stratford-literary-festival