Harrogate literature festival reveals online line-up - guests include Rory Bremner, Jeremy Vine, Ken Follett, Lee Child and Bernard Cornwell

Writers, politicians, historians, broadcasters, and more, will come together for the first ever digital Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival from Friday October 23 to Sunday October 25.

Ken Follett and Bernard Cornwell are among the guests
Ken Follett and Bernard Cornwell are among the guests

It has long been the hot ticket on the national Festival circuit after Harper’s Bazaar picked the event as one of the UK’s ‘best literary festivals’, and this year is no different as the festival continues to bring to life a programme to delight and inspire.

The event, now in its twelfth year has gone online this year due to the current social distancing measures and restrictions in place on live events.

Compressing what would have been a full festival weekend to 17 digital events is no easy task, but Harrogate International Festivals have ensured that each event is a programme highlight.

Events include conversations with great novelists: the worldwide acclaimed creator of Sharpe: Bernard Cornwell; The Reacher Guy: Lee Child; one of the world’s best-loved authors: Ken Follett; the passionate classicist exploring the heart of the ancient Greek myths Natalie Haynes; Women’s Prize nominated Luan Goldie, and the remarkable writer, academic and activist Elif Shafak.

A duo of interviews with British Labour Party Politicians brings time for reflection: at a time when many feel the world isn't listening, Jess Phillips MP offers inspiration to those of us who want to speak out and make a difference, and David Lammy MP explores the fascinating effects of our need to belong.

Stars of non-fiction: Hugo Vickers brings to life the tale of Gladys Deacon – Duchess of Marlborough, whilst Ex Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman and New York Times bestselling author Ariana Neumann share their memoirs.

The matriarch of Britain’s most musical family: Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason shares a beautiful tale of determination as she opens up what it takes to raise a musical family in a Britain divided by class and race.

Broadcasters and screen icons turned authors: Simon Mayo, Jeremy Vine, Loyd Grossman and Rory Bremner round out the programme with entertaining and inspiring tales of their careers.

This year’s Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival is free to attend and will be streamed through the Harrogate International Festivals website. With more than 20,000 viewers for the digital Festival in summer, and with a programme this stellar, it’s sure to be a bumper weekend of conversation, knowledge and laughter.

Zoe Robinson, Raworths managing partner, said: “The content and delivery may have gone digital, but the inspiration that literature brings will continue to shine through.

We are once again delighted to be partnering with Harrogate International Festivals and sponsoring the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival - established as one of the leading literature festivals in the UK.”

Sharon Canavar, chief executive of Harrogate International Festivals, said “2020 has been a journey of discovery and adventure, a theme that trails through our programme. For Harrogate International Festivals, reinvention has come out of necessity to ensure survival of our arts charity and to continue in our mission to bring the very best of our events to audiences.

While there is no denying that this is a hugely challenging time for the Festival, and for artists, through our exciting digital weekend of events, bottling a taste of our usual Festival, we support authors, creators and suppliers and bring them together with audiences as community in a celebration of literature. For we have never needed stories that explore what it means to be human, more than we do now.

We can’t wait to invite audiences to this incredibly stimulating, exciting and inspiring Festival.”

Free to attend, the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival will be streamed through the Harrogate International Festivals website: harrogateinternationalfestivals.com from Friday October 23 to Sunday October 25.