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Mary Beard, Val McDermid, Michael Rosen and David Nicholls to feature at Stratford Literary Festival

CLASSICIST Mary Beard, queen of crime fiction Val McDermid and children’s favourite Michael Rosen are included in Stratford Literary Festival’s spring programme.

The May festival will include Beard bringing the Roman Empire to life, McDermid turning her pen on a re-telling of Macbeth, and bestselling author of One Day, David Nicholls, revealing his latest novel, You Are Here.

Stage and screen is celebrated with actor David Troughton and award-winning actress Juliet Stevenson talking about their Stratford. The new co-artistic director of the RSC, Tamara Harvey, shares her vision for the company and will talk about smashing the glass ceiling.

Comedian Alistair McGowan will celebrate the genius Noel Coward, while Patrick Grant, a judge on the popular Great British Sewing Bee television show, will explain why the fashion industry needs a re-design.

Mary Beard. Photo: Caterina Turroni
Mary Beard. Photo: Caterina Turroni

Leading the festival’s current affairs programme will be LBC presenter James O’Brien and Observer columnist Will Hutton, while Times columnist Daniel Finkelstein will share the story of his family and the Holocaust.

The line-up also includes Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, mathematician Marcus Du Sautoy (on using maths to win at Monopoly) and Gardeners’ World presenter Rachel de Thame.

The fiction side of the festival will see talks by authors John Boyne, Costa Prize winner A L Kennedy andSusan Fletcher while broadcaster Michael Wood brings China’s best-known poet to wider acclaim and YA author Alex Wheatle shares the story of his troubled upbringing.

For families and schools, there will be appearances from former Children’s Laureate Rosen and current Laureate Joseph Coehlo, with fun interactive workshops to get involved in.

Michael Rosen. Photo: David Levene
Michael Rosen. Photo: David Levene

“We are really excited by this May’s line-up which we believe has a strong balance of events to embrace all interests,” said Annie Ashworth, festival director. “Over the last 12 months the festival has grown to another level and we are thrilled that Julia Donaldson, the UK’s most popular writer for young children, is now patron of our outreach work in schools, the community and prisons. There’s so much books can do to change lives.”

The festival, which includes nearly 70 events, takes place from 1st-5th May. Tickets go on sale to festival friends on 12th February and on general sale on 16th February at www.stratlitfest.co.uk.

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