Gripping Tales For Armchair Adventurers

Sir Ranulph Fiennes will speak at Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival

Authors themselves might go in and out of fashion, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the power of stories and books to excite and entertain us. They not only have a unique ability to transport us to faraway places, they can also take us on journeys into our own imagination, a world richer and more vivid than any computer game.

Over the years, everyone from and Alexandre Dumas and Agatha Christie to Lee Child and JK Rowling have captivated readers, and this year’s Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival offers a veritable treat for thrill seekers with a line-up of acclaimed authors whose stories, some real and others imagined, will take your breath away.

Certainly when it comes to adventurers they don’t come any more extraordinary than Sir Ranulph Fiennes, or ‘Ran’ as he likes to be known, who has made his name living life on the edge and been described by Guinness World Records as “the world’s greatest living explorer.”

His exploits have taken him to the most dangerous and inhospitable places on earth.

He dragged a sledge bearing the equivalent weight of three men across the polar ice, lost nearly half his fingers to frostbite, and has squared up to death itself and walked away. Over the decades he’s raised millions of pounds for charity, been an elite soldier, an athlete, mountaineer, explorer, bestselling author and at one time nearly became James Bond!

Another former soldier with a remarkable story to tell is Andy McNab. He was just 16 when he joined the army as a way of escaping juvenile detention, finding a sense of belonging that he never found in the care system he experienced as a child. After being ‘badged’ as a member of 22 SAS Regiment he was involved in special operations around the world.

During the Gulf War he commanded the now legendary Bravo Two Zero patrol and went on to become the British Army’s most highly decorated serving soldier. After leaving the SAS he wrote Bravo Two Zero, his phenomenally successful war memoir, as well as the hugely popular Nick Stone thrillers.

Andy also spent time working as an advisor on action films in Hollywood, which forms the backdrop, in part, to Luke Jennings’ new thriller #PANIC, a genre-defying, roller-coaster tale of fandom and marginalised young adults seeking validation in a world that would rather push them aside.

It was Luke’s Codename Villanelle stories that were the inspiration behind the TV series phenomenon Killing Eve, starring Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh, and written and directed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Luke’s literary success, both as a journalist and novelist, is even more impressive given the fact he trained to be a dancer and started out in the world of ballet.

When it comes to challenging perceptions and smashing through glass ceilings, Kim Hawes has been there, done that and got the T-shirt. As one of the first female tour managers she’s rightly hailed as a pioneer in the music industry having spent three decades working with some of the most notorious rock bands. Now a successful educator, author, coach and mentor, Kim has plenty of tales to tell about everyone from Black Sabbath to Madonna.

Their stories might be about as different and diverse as you could possibly imagine, but what unites them all is they’ll have you on the edge of your seat. And herein lies the beauty of books – you can enjoy all the thrills and spills, drama and suspense, from the comfort of your own armchair.

Browse the full programme here or call the box office on 01423 562 303.