Poets Hollie McNish and Lemn Sissay, broadcasters Jeremy Vine and Pam Ayres top the bill alongside a raft of novelists, bloggers, playwrights, performances and musicians.
The 2017 Chester Literature Festival will occupy spaces throughout Storyhouse, using the main theatre space, the Garret Theatre, The Kitchen and the library.
Alex Clifton, Storyhouse’s artistic director said: ‘This year’s festival comes to its new home in the city’s incredible Storyhouse. We are very much looking forward to welcoming some of the country’s finest writers and thinkers to Chester, during eight days of inspiring events.’
On Sunday 12 November, the festival opens with a performance on the Storyhouse stage by singer Roderick Williams and members of Ensemble Deva – Storyhouse’s in – house chamber musician group. They will perform a new setting of Coleridge’s masterpiece The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Chester born composer Howard Skempton who will be talking about the piece.
Poetry is once again at the heart of the festival line-up with Ted Hughes award winning poet Hollie McNish guest directing a weekend of events. Festival favourite Lemn Sissay presents his one-man acclaimed performance Something Dark and the annual Poetry Pub Crawl led by singer Gavin Osborn and poet Molly Naylor is set to take in Chester’s famous pubs alongside an evening of stand-up poetry.
Some of the UK’s finest broadcasters will descend on Chester – Pam Ayres will present an evening of her memoirs in a show to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra. Former Newsnight anchor Peter Snow is joined by CNN’s Ann McMillan, plus Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine.
Festival-goers will be able to see performances throughout the festival with a programme including The Devil’s Violin show Stolen (dubbed ‘an enchanting blend of words and music’), Adverse Camber’s production Dreaming the Night Field: A Legend of Wales and double act LipService’s Jane Austen skit – Mr Darcy Loses the Plot. Plus, performance poet
Molly Naylor will host an evening of storytelling told by members of Chester’s diverse public. And writer and performance artist Clair Whitfield performs her acclaimed solo show.
Costa prize judge and prolific literary blogger and vlogger Simon Savidge will interview Orange prize nominee Jane Harris (The Observations) about her new novel Sugar Money .
The festival welcomes Chester native Simon Edge on his new novel The Hopkins Conundrum, and popular Hurrah for Gin! blog writer Kate Kirby on her new book The Daily Struggles of Archie Adams.
Call the Midwife actor and member of the acting dynasty, Stephen McGann discusses his autobiography and presenter Ben Fogle debates what it is to be English. The festival will also showcase the work of aspiring and accomplished local writers during an event on Sunday 19 November.
The festival concludes with a unique event – called Lines of Retreat – in Storyhouse’s Garret Theatre. During the week of the festival, a group of artists including best-selling author Laura Barnett (The Versions of Us) and singer Kathryn Williams will be on retreat, creating brand new songs and written works which they will present on the evening of Sunday 19 November.