STRATFORD LITERARY FESTIVAL: Live and virtual from this weekend

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Lif Fest guests include Andrew Marr, Hilary Mantel, Charles Spencer and Rory Bremner

Stratford Literary Festival’s Winter Weekend has kicked off with a great line up of authors speaking in exclusive online interviews.

Each event costs £5 and can be booked now at stratlitfest.co.uk and will be available to view until Thursday, 26th November.

Major headliners include doubleBooker prizewinner Dame Hilary Mantel talking about her acclaimed Cromwell Trilogy and her latest book of essays, Mantel Pieces.

Broadcaster and bestselling author Andrew Marr chats to 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 looks at how trauma shapes great leaders and innovators, while LBC presenter and political commentator Iain Dale discusses what separates a good prime minister from a bad one.

Acclaimed modern historian and Reith lecturer Margaret MacMillan suggests that humans are programmed for war, and colonial history specialist Michael Taylor considers how and why the Establishment was vigorously against the abolition of slavery.

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 bestselling memoir.

The much-loved comedian Victoria Wood will be remembered by her biographer Jasper Rees and actor Duncan Preston, who performed in much of her work, including Acorn Antiques and dinnerladies.

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, entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan will discuss why unpredictability is actually good for us.

There’s fun for families with Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown plus craft and storytelling workshops with artist Ros Ingrams and Kate Coleman, Stratford’s leading storyteller.