The Times & The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 7th-16th October.

If you love a good story (who doesn’t?), if you like political debate, relish hearing about the exotic forays of today’ s modern explorers, are passionately into the current foodie scene, or are ever drawn to a good old fashioned comedy act (or perhaps even a startlingly modern one) the Cheltenham Literature Festival is an exciting hotpot of the interesting and intriguing.

One of the greatest gatherings of literary lovers, the festival has grown in strength since its early beginnings in 1949 and is now undisputedly one of the biggest and most fabulous events in Gloucestershire, if not the UK (OK, maybe we are a little biased, but it really is amazing and people come from near and far).

This year the festival has magnetized 600 of the world’ s most fascinating and inspiring thinkers, all here to celebrate the joy of the written and spoken word. You’ ll find a packed programme for adults as well a 10 day extravaganza of stories, adventure and imaginings for little ones, from toddlers to teens. This is a festival you really can bring the kids too – no camping required!

Look out for astronaut Chris Hadfield who will be talking about his time as commander of the International Space Station and how it informed his new children’ s book The Darkest Dark. Kicking off the Festival Ian McEwan presents his latest novel Nutshell; a classic tale of murder and deceit or maybe not so classic as its told from a completely unexpected perspective with all his usual thrilling hallmarks.

Alongside this is the inspirational Young Writer’ s Showcase where award-winning author Juno Dawson showcases the talent of young local people reached through the Festival’ s year round out-reach programme. Inspiring.

With the 2016 US elections looming, the Literature Festival also dives deep into that ‘ special relationship’ with our friends across the pond and you know that with The Sunday Times and The Times involved, discussions will be pertinent, maybe even just a little bit passionate. Especially with figures such as Alan Johnson, Ed Balls and Nick Clegg in the mix. It’ s going to be fascinating. Over the next ten days the Festival offers up a range of topical discussions from the economy to clean-eating, with bloggers such as Emma Gannon from Girl Lost in the City and Ella Mills from outrageously successful Deliciously Ella discussing lives online.

Other noticeable figures from fantasy to fiction; comedy to sport and pretty much everything in between are Rory Bremner, Julian Clary, Jilly Cooper, Maggie O’ Farrell, Ruby Wax, Tracy Chevalier and Sebastian Faulks. Take your pick. For full listings and details of events go to