Cambridge Literary Festival to showcase children’s author Judith Kerr, Omid Djalili, Mary Portas and many more

Omid Djalili.

Omid Djalili. - Credit: Archant

Comedian Omid Djalili and queen of the high street Mary Portas will be among the famous faces discussing their books at the Cambridge Literary Festival.

Mary Portas.

Mary Portas. - Credit: Archant

From April 14-19, the foremost literary event in the Eastern Region will showcase leading lights from the worlds of art, history, current affairs, science, poetry and politics.

There will be 111 speakers at four venues - The Winstanley Lecture Theatre, Cambridge Union Chamber, Union Blue Room and Cambridge Union Library - over the six days.

The festival is headlined by children’s author Judith Kerr, who is known for The Tiger Who Came to Tea and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit.

Comedian Omid Djalili will discuss his memoir Hopeful and Mary Portas will be sharing her memoir Shop Girl.

Roger McGough.

Roger McGough. - Credit: Archant

Everything But the Girl duo Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn will talk about their latest books, and one of Britain’s most significant and controversial artists, Maggi Hambling will discuss War Requiem & Aftermath, a major new book chronicling her body of work.

Poet Roger McGough will perform, while renowned philosopher A. C. Grayling will provide food for thought talking about the use of the humanities in our capitalist world.

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Festival favourite Robert Macfarlane returns from his latest odyssey across the English countryside with Landmarks. Fiction highlights include Graham Swift, Margaret Drabble, Caryl Phillips, S. J. Watson and Patricia Duncker. Historian Antonia Fraser shares her history in a compelling new memoir, and the silken tones of BBC Radio Four’s Charlotte Green can be heard when she talks about her memoir The News is Read.

Politics is high on the agenda with the festival only a month before the General Election.

Historian, journalist and crossbench peer Peter Hennessy will discuss the Condition of British Politics with three political grandees: Norman Tebbit, Shirley Williams and Roy Hattersley.

There will be razor-sharp analysis from some of Britain’s best political commentators including Zoe Williams, Polly Toynbee, Will Hutton, John Crace, Steve Bell and Danny Dorling.

The New Statesman debate – now a firm fixture in the programme – will focus on an increasingly polarised European Union and Britain’s place within it.

Patrick Cockburn, foreign correspondent and columnist, will talk with BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen about the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

A full programme is available at

To get tickets, call 01223 300085 or go to

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