As the world celebrates William Shakespeare, arguably the greatest playwright who ever lived, the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival has launched a remarkable line-up featuring a wealth of wonderful writers.
April 23 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. To mark the anniversary, Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival delivers a special event in July, On Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A Poets’ Celebration in association with the Royal Literary Fund featuring award-winning poets Jo Shapcott and Ruth Padel.
As well as inviting audiences to be moved in Shakespearean proportions, the literature festival has embraced a series of other celebratory anniversary events.
Dickie Arbiter will discuss his memoir, On Duty with the Queen: My Time as a Buckingham Palace Press Secretary, offering a remarkable glimpse into the royal family’s lives as the Queen turns 90 this year.
The 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth sees his official biographer, Donald Sturrock, share his exclusive access to Dahl’s revealing weekly letters written to his mother.
There’ll also be a focus on the sixties as a decade, particularly 1966, the year Harrogate International Festivals began.
1966: The Year the Decade Exploded – an era of revolutionary literature, radical politics, fashion and pop – is explored by author and broadcaster Jon Savage with fellow music journalist, Ben Thompson.
It was of course, also the year England won the World Cup. Former BBC TV sports producer John Rowlinson tracks the triumphant journey to sporting glory, with his book, The Boys of 66: The Unseen Story Behind England’s World Cup Glory.
Now in its fifth year, Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival was picked by Harper’s Bazaar as one of the UK’s best literary festivals. The long weekend, hosted at The Crown Hotel from 7-10 July, also features Jeremy Bowen, Julia Bradbury, James Naughtie, Vince Cable, Mary Portas and John Suchet.
Gemma Rowland, Literature Festivals Manager at Harrogate International Festivals, said: “In 1966, Harrogate International Festivals was known as a festival of Science as well as Art, so we’ll be honouring that legacy too, from exploring Einstein’s Universe to A Space Traveller’s Guide to the Solar System. We hope audiences will go on an incredible adventure this July and dive in to the worlds of politics, music, poetry, economics and literature.”
The overarching theme of Harrogate International Festivals’ portfolio of music and literature festivals in July is ‘Discover, Explore, Experiment’.
Weekend and Day Rover tickets are available, alongside tickets for individual events, for the first time at this year’s Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival.
The thematic structure of the weekend invites audiences to immerse themselves in a full day of events with some big ideas, including a journey through health, science and nature on the Friday, a focus on discovering more about some of our musical and literary greats on the Saturday and an exploration into politics, economics and business on the Sunday, with some of the biggest names working in and writing about these areas today.
There’s also a chance to learn the art of whisky tasting and a workshop on the art of mindful Origami – the new trend for crafty calmness. The UK’s finest music writers including Mark Ellen and David Hepworth in Rock’n’Roll Confidential share stories around overrated superstars and nightmare interviews. The banking crisis is explored with Hugh Pym, and convicted murderer turned author and trustee of the Prison Reform Trust, Erwin James, looks at the power of redemption with his memoir, Redeemable: A Memoir of Darkness and Hope.
Zoe Robinson, managing partner of Raworths, said: “There’s such an exciting, eclectic programme to mark Harrogate International Festivals’ celebratory 50th anniversary year. We are delighted to be supporting such a stellar literature festival that proves you don’t have to travel to Hay or Cheltenham to experience the very best literary events. We’re passionate about the community we work and live in, and believe we need to ensure the Arts remain vibrant for the town and visitor economy. If you haven’t experienced the Festival before, we look forward to welcoming you to a friendly, inspiring and fun event. It’s a truly celebratory line-up in a very special year.”
Weekend Rover Tickets and Day Rover tickets start from £60; individual tickets are available from £9 upwards. Packages, including tickets and accommodation at the Crown Hotel, can also be booked through the Festivals Office and start from £429.
Full programme and tickets on sale at harrogateinternationalfestivals.com Box Office: 01423 562 303.