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Great line-up for autumn Stratford Literary Festival

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Last year’s winner of The Great British Bake Off Nadiya Hussain will be at this autumn’s Stratford Literary Festival.
Last year’s winner of The Great British Bake Off Nadiya Hussain will be at this autumn’s Stratford Literary Festival.

STRATFORD Literary Festival has put together a wonderfully eclectic programme for its short autumn programme, which includes the authors of some of this season’s biggest selling books.

On Friday, 28th October, the colourful MP and former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ken Clarke, will be in conversation about his autobiography, Kind of Blue. One of the genuine ‘big beasts’ of the political scene, Clarke has held every major office of state, apart from Prime Minister, during his 46 years as the Member of Parliament for Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire. A political obsessive, well known for his strong Europhile views, he is also passionate about cricket, Nottingham Forest Football Club and jazz. He will be taking his audience on a journey from his working-class scholarship boyhood in Nottinghamshire to high political office, working with PMs from Mrs Thatcher to Mrs May, and his views on Brexit with his usual candour.

The Reverend Richard Coles, a former Stratford College student and the only vicar to have had a number one song, will be appearing on Tuesday, 15th November, sharing his progress from pop success with The Communards to life as a parish priest, broadcaster on Radio 4’s Saturday Live, and even Masterchef contestant. With his usual understated wit, he’ll describe being the inspiration for the BBC comedy show Rev, how he balances media life and pastoral care, and chat about his latest book, Bringing in The Sheaves.

Fans of The Great British Bake Off will be keen to meet the guest appearing on Wednesday, 30th November. Nadiya Hussain won the nation’s hearts with her honesty, her humility and her way with cakes in last year’s series. She has since gone on to be a broadcaster, author, and champion for women throughout the UK. Nadiya will be talking about her meteoric rise to fame, how it is to be a Muslim woman in Britain today, and her new book, Nadiya’s Kitchen. The festival’s autumn programme also includes a great day of Alice in Wonderland events for children, rounding off with a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party on Friday, 28th October. It will mark the anniversary of one of the most loved children’s books of all time. Children between the ages of three and 11 will have the unique opportunity to come dressed in character and immerse themselves in the story of Alice in Wonderland, joining in drama workshops with Playbox Theatre and creating tea party props with Escape Arts.

There will also be face painting and the chance to hear a story from the Caterpillar, before joining the Mad Hatter, March Hare, Dormouse and, of course, Alice herself at the tea party presented by Playbox Theatre. With a tea party spread of cupcakes and jam tarts, there will be mad goings on which everyone will be a part of.

Festival director, Annie Ashworth, said: “Our autumn programme is nothing if not varied. “It’s great to be working with Playbox Theatre and Escape Arts again for the Tea Party, and they will be running fantastically creative workshops before all the children become part of real immersive theatre at the funniest tea party ever. “Our other events promise lively chat and very candid views! The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Day is supported by the Rosconn Group, and the evening events are sponsored once again by Sheldon Bosley. “The festival is now a charity and we are very grateful for their support for us.”

Tickets for the evening events start at £12, and tickets for the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party start at £10. All events take place at Stratford ArtsHouse, Rother Street. Tickets are on sale now from the box office on 01789 207100, or online at www.stratfordartshouse.co.uk For the full programme, see www.stratlitfest.co.uk

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