More guests revealed for Scarborough’s Book by the Beach

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Persian comedian and actor Omid Djalili and high street and fashion expert Mary Portas are the latest big names coming to Books by the Beach.

Co-directors Peter Guttridge and Heather French also 
revealed MP Alan Johnson, political commentator Simon Heffer and broadcaster 
Rosie Millard are on the event’s guest list.

Co-director of Books by the Beach Heather French

Co-director of Books by the Beach Heather French

Omid Djalili will be appearing at the Spa to talk about his acclaimed autobiography, Hopeful. He will be in conversation with Peter.

“I was lucky enough to interview Omid at the Edinburgh Literature Festival last August,” said Peter “and he said ‘yes’ immediately I mentioned coming to Scarborough. He’s written a terrific autobiography and is a really nice, warm guy.”

Heather French is delighted broadcaster Mary Portas is joining the programme. “She is such a feisty woman, with a lot of intelligent things to say. She’s a bit of an icon for me,” she said.

Alan Johnson MP, “the best leader Labour never had” 
according to one commentator, will be popping down the road from Hull to discuss the second of his autobiographies, Please Mr Postman.

Military historian Alan Mallinson, who was such a success last year, will be on interviewing duties this year. Heather said: “Allan has really helped us put parts of the programme together and we’re thrilled he’s going to be back on stage for us.”

Among others he will be interviewing is Simon Heffer, the outspoken political commentator, about his book on the Victorians.

Journalist and broadcaster Rosie Millard, chairwoman of the company running Hull’s UK City of Culture activities in 2017, will also be appearing.

“We still have a few big names and nice surprises up our sleeves,” said Heather.

The latest guests join a programme which already includes multi-million selling crime novelist Peter James who will be discussing the stage versions of several of his Roy Grace novels.

Psychological thriller writer Sophie Hannah will be hosting a Poirot Dinner in the Town Hall to link with her new Hercule Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders.

S J Watson will be discussing Second Life, his follow-up to worldwide bestseller Before I Go To Sleep with novelist Louise Doughty, whose own foray into crime fiction, Apple Tree Yard, was a major success last year.

Former MP Ann Widdecombe, best known these days for her appearance on Strictly Come Dancing, will also be appearing to discuss her debut crime novel, Dancing Detective – set in the world of a televised dance competition.

This year marks the anniversary of two major events in British history – the signing of Magna Carta by King John in 1215 and the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 – and the event will be remembering both.

One of the coups of the festival is an event with Helen Boaden, director of BBC Radio.

Tickets for all events should be available by the third week in February. They will be on sale from the Stephen Joseph Theatre Tourist Information Point.

Books by the Beach runs from Wednesday April 15 to Sunday April 19.

In a pre-event Allan Mallinson will be hosting a literary lunch at the Crescent Hotel in Scarborough on Saturday February 14 from 1pm to 3pm. Tickets on sale from the hotel.