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First names revealed for 70th Cheltenham Literature Festival

Organisers of The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival have announced a selection of early highlights for their 70th anniversary instalment.

This year's theme - Seven at Seventy - celebrates 70 years since Cheltenham Town Hall hosted the world's first literature festival.

From October 4-13, the vibrant Festival Village in Montpellier Gardens will welcome over 1,000 of the best writers, thinkers and performers for 10 extraordinary days of literary revelry.

Among those appearing will be David Nicholls, who returns to the festival to introduce his highly anticipated new novel, Sweet Sorrow, alongside other award-winning authors and Ali Smith, Max Porter, Ian McEwan, Philippa Gregory, Jessie Burton and Celeste Ng to name a few.

Best known as the lead singer of Blondie, Music legend and fashion icon Debbie Harry will arrive in Cheltenham with her first ever memoir - FACE IT. Status Quo front-man Francis Rossi is also set to share his tour adventures and his autobiography I Talk Too Much.

Comedy star, Richard Ayoade

Comedy star Richard Ayoade will take the Cheltenham audience from Peckham to Paris via his new book Ayoade On Top, and Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes will join award-winning drama producer Gareth Neame ahead of their upcoming feature film.

Hit Netflix series Queer Eye will meet Bake Off with Tan France and Nadiya Hussain discussing their upbringings and new memoirs.

Gloucester-born culinary expert Tom Kerridge will share tips on delicious, nutritious home food from his latest book Fresh Start.

As the Rugby World Cup kicks off in Japan, Welsh legend Sam Warburton will take to the stage as well as other sporting greats including Gloucester-born cricketing hero Sir Alastair Cook and endurance cyclist Emily Chappell.


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Francesca Simon

BAFTA winning naturalist, writer and television presenter Steve Backshall will share his adventures into undiscovered worlds. An appearance from former British Army Officer and explorer Levison Wood will whisk the audience through a journey of his travels through the middle east in Arabia.

A packed family programme includes Malorie Blackman and her highly anticipated new Noughts & Crosses novel, presenter Dermot O'Leary and illustrator Nick East with the latest escapades of Toto the Ninja Cat, and some horrendously horrid fun with Francesca Simon.

The full Festival line-up will be announced on Friday 16 August at www.cheltenhamfestivals.com.

Booking for the Literature Festival opens to Cheltenham Festivals Members at 10am on Wednesday 28 August and general booking opens at 10am on Wednesday 4 September.

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