The Yeovil Literary Festival has now been running for five years and over the years has grown in both popularity and the number of events, with over 5,000 people attending last year. A partnership between ourselves, Waterstones, the Yeovil Community Arts Association (YCAA) and Somerset Library Service, events take place over four days each October at The Octagon, The Manor Hotel and Yeovil Library, as well as a special event at Brimsmore Garden Centre.
Each year we try to attract the best writers, thinkers, experts and entertainers for enlightening events that are entertaining and inspiring from well-known names whilst providing a platform to discover new and emerging writers. For many it is an opportunity to meet some of their favourite writers and even get their books signed by their literary heroes. Looking back to our first year in 2013 the line-up included Sir Tony Robinson, Santa Montefiore, Artemis Cooper, Tom Fort, Michael Morpurgo, Jenni Murray and Jeremy Hardy and we were off to a flying start! Our second year brought Al Murry, Katherine Ryan and Jo Caulfield for superb comedy, Professor Shirley Williams, Rachel Joyce, Jonathan Dimbleby, Michael Portillo and David Mitchell. By year three we were starting to hit our stride with the likes of Adam Henson, Phil Jupitus, Andy McNab, Lord Robert Winston, and the fantastic Jacqueline Wilson. In our fourth year some events started to spill outside of the festival with pre-festival events from top crime author Val McDermid and sports presenter Clare Balding. The main festival brought Victoria Hislop, Kirsty Wark, Gok Wan, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Ann Cleeves, Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, Alan Carr, Simon Weston, Ned Boulting, Peter Davison and Mark Watson to name just a few.
Shortly we will be announcing the full line-up for the 2017 festival that will take place Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th October but some of the events have now been announced and are on sale. We have pre-festival events from ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ author Cressida Cowell and best-selling author Martina Cole. The special guest for the YCAA Literary Dinner this year is the one and only Christopher Biggins. ‘Chocolat’ author Joanne Harris, politician Michael Portillo, Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee and comedian and journalist Viv Groskop will be speaking on Friday. RAF Veteran Harry Leslie Smith – the 91-year old campaigner and activist whose book ‘Harry’s Last Stand’ caused a sensation – is sure to inspire and he completes the Friday programme with ‘rocker’ Suzi Quatro and Paddy Ashdown. Saturday will welcome top children’s author Jacqueline Wilson, a Yeovil Literary Festival favourite who has written over 100 books and sold over 35million books in the UK alone! Saturday also sees the return of comedian Miles Jupp and we look forward to welcoming top chef Jay Rayner, broadcaster Jeremy Vine and the hugely popular comedienne Sarah Millican. Former Labour MP Alan Johnson is already sold out. Rounding off the festival on Sunday we welcome back Lord Robert Winston for a fascinating talk on genetics and we welcome the Children’s Laureate Lauren Child. Comedian Harry Hill presents his new children’s book and top gardener Monty Don drops in for some superb gardening advice. We welcome back million selling author Lesley Pearse and the acclaimed actress Dame Harriet Walter. This is just a selection of the amazing events we have lined up for our anniversary year.
Visit www.yeovilliteraryfestival.co.uk for the full programme as it's announced.