Cambridge Literary Festival is back with first names announced for spring 2022 showpiece

Cambridge Literary Festival director Cathy Moore. Picture: Martin Bond

Cambridge Literary Festival director Cathy Moore. - Credit: Martin Bond

Cambridge Literary Festival is back with the first names announced for the Spring Festival 2022.

After two years of COVID-19 forcing people apart, Cambridge Literary Festival brings us together again for the love of books with an exhilarating line-up of in-person events.

Festival director Cathy Moore said: “It is with relief, hope and happiness that we announce our first in-person festival in over two years.

"Raise the flags and pop the corks, our audiences and authors are coming back for a celebration and collective joy!”

The first live literary festival in Cambridge since 2019 will feature fiction, life and art, the personal and the political.

Cambridge Literary Festival director Cathy Moore. Picture: Martin Bond

Cambridge Literary Festival director Cathy Moore. - Credit: Martin Bond


Ali Smith evokes the boundless joy of companionship as she returns to the festival with Companion Piece, the dazzling follow-up to her Seasonal Quartet. 

Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature Abdulrazak Gurnah makes a hotly-anticipated appearance at the Cambridge festival to discuss Afterlives, his riveting new novel about how German colonial rule disrupted lives in Tanzania.

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Also joining the line-up is Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart with his achingly tender love story Young Mungo. 

Booker Prize winner Julian Barnes looks to the past and finds poignancy in the present with his thought-provoking novel Elizabeth Finch.

Likewise transporting readers back in time are historical novelists Patrick Gale and Sunday Times bestselling author Dame Rose Tremain.

Looking to the future, extraordinary debut novelists Jo Browning Wroe, Kieran Goddard and Ayanna Lloyd Banwo take the stage alongside established literary greats.

Elsewhere, BBC Gardeners World presenter and garden designer Joe Swift gives cause to celebrate spring with his new series of expert gardening guide.

Kitty and Al Tait’s Breadsong – How Baking Changed Our Lives and Claudia Roden’s scrumptious Mediterranean cookbook bring a delicious dash of foodie flavour to the  festival.

James Fox adds some colour with The World According to Colour – A Cultural History, while Rebecca Birrell paints an intimate, immersive portrait of extraordinary female still-life artists.

The scientifically-minded are invited to explore new Horizons with James Poskett. 

Acclaimed children’s and YA writers Michael Morpurgo and Maddie Moate provide fun for the whole family.

On the sporting front, Liverpool and England football legend John Barnes exposes The Uncomfortable Truth about Racism in Britain today, while Ashley Hickson-Lovence tells the incredible story of Uriah Rennie, the Premier League’s first Black referee.

Junior doctor Roopa Farooki shares her intensely personal Story of Life, Death and Grief in a Time of Pandemic.

Meanwhile, political satirist John Crace reminds us that we must find a way to laugh at even the darkest of times.

Looking beyond Europe, David Loyn tells The Inside Story of America and Afghanistan since 9/11, while Afghan women speak for themselves in My Pen is the Wing of a Bird, a stirring collection of new short stories.

These unmissable conversations will be held in equally stunning venues – the luxurious University Arms Hotel, the stately Cambridge Union Debating Chamber, the Old Divinity School, and the renowned Fitzwilliam Museum – from Wednesday, April 20 to Sunday, April 24.

Priority booking opens on Monday, February 14, with tickets going on general sale Friday, February 18.

Visit www.cambridgeliteraryfestival.com for more on the festival.