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Line-up Announced for the Guildford Book Festival!

Charlotte Walker

By Charlotte Walker on 22nd July 2019

LoveReading is so proud to support the Guildford Book Festival and we have some exciting news for you. The 2019 line-up has been announced! 

The Guildford Book Festival was first established in 1989 and takes place over the course of 8 days each year. Many bestselling authors have appeared at the Festival over the years, and this year is no different with Louis de Bernières, Sarah Perry and Tracy Chevalier due to make an appearance. 

This year, the Guildford Book Festival will be celebrating its 30th year with a brilliant line up of guests as well as workshops and talks. 

Jane Beaton, the Co-Director of Guildford Book Festival said:

‘We are delighted to be celebrating 30 years of the Guildford Book Festival with so many bestselling authors and top name stars from the worlds of entertainment. We are especially pleased to welcome back to the Festival Colin Butcher, who attended our first-ever Creative Writing Course back in 2016 and is now returning to speak as a published author. We hope that this year’s Festival will inspire more people to share their stories.’

This year, leading actor and star of 'Poirot', David Suchet will make an appearance at the Festival celebrating 50 years on stage and screen. This year's line-up also includes Steve Backshall, the award-winning adventurer and TV presenter taking us to undiscovered worlds. Also appearing to talk about his distinguished career in broadcasting is John Craven. Pam Ayres will also be returning to Guildford with a brand new collection of verse and comedian Katy Brand will feature to discuss her engaging memoir.

Konnie Huq will also headline a series of events aimed at children and young readers. Meanwhile, Luke Jennings, the Author of Killing Eve, and SAS-soldier turned novelist Chris Ryan will appear at the festival to discuss their latest action thrillers. The quantum physicist and broadcaster Professor Jim Al-Khalili, who is based at Feistival sponsor the University of Surrey, will discuss Sunfall, his new futuristic thriller.

The popular Readers' Day at the Festival will welcome Lisa Jewell and Adele Parks will also make an appearance at the Guildford Book Festival to discuss their experiences writing psychological thrillers.

For history fans, the acclaimed historian Max Hasting will be in attendance to provide a new evaluation of the Dambusters story. James Holland will also be in Guildford to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings with a brand new perspective on the campaign. Dan Jones, the bestselling chronicler of the Middle Ages will have his attention turned to the Crusaders and Violet Moller will be demonstrating how classical ideas have been lost and found through the history of seven ancient cities.

Virginia Nicolson asks How Was It For You? in a session that looks back on the Swinging Sixties and considers how the world changed for women, and in The Making of Her Clarissa Farr, former head of St Paul’s Girls’ School, considers why school matters. 

Anne de Courcy explores the fascinating world of Coco Chanel, the Duchess of Windsor and the Cote d’Azur elite in the 1930s and 40s; Andrew Lownie takes a fresh look at the lives of Dickie and Edwina Mountbatten, and Paul Arnott reveals the extraordinary history of SS Empire Windrush, the ship that is symbolic with the beginning of our multicultural nation. 

Surrey author Sharon Wright returns to Guildford Book Festival with the first biography of Maria Branwell, whose contribution to the success of her literary daughters – Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë – has largely been overlooked, and Katie Hickman uncovers the fascinating stories of the British women who changed the history of India. 

Art historian Ben Lewis tracks the incredible journey of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, the world’s most expensive painting. 

William Clegg QC provides a behind-the-scenes look at some of Britain’s biggest trials, and Professor Angela Gallop CBE shares insight into her 40-year career as one of the world’s most respected forensic scientists.  

Leah Hazard, a serving NHS midwife, brings to life the world of midwifery, and Surrey-based Pet Detective Colin Butcher tells the heart-warming story of Molly & Me. 

For those interested in historical fiction, the highlights of the event include acclaimed journalist and broadcaster, Kirsty Wark, who comes to the Festival with her second novel, The House by the Loch, and Alison Weir who will be returning to Guildford Book Festival with Anna of Kleve, the latest in her Six Tudor Queens series of novels. Elizabeth Buchan and Elizabeth McNeal will discuss their own experiences of writing historical fiction. Debut writers Anstey Harris and Richard Roper will also be appearing at the Festival. 

The Guildford Book Festival will run from between the 6th and the 13th October and there is something for everyone. Fiction, Non-fiction, broadcasting, cooking and the ever-popular How to Get Published workshop. Budding writers attending the Festival can benefit from a 5-day Creative Writing Course which will be led by Rachel Marsh.

Professor Mike Berners-Lee, a leading expert in carbon footprinting, gives a big-picture perspective on the environmental and economic challenges of the day, and award-winning wildlife cameraman Gavin Thurston (Blue Planet II, Planet Earth II) explains what it takes to track down and film the animal kingdom’s finest. 

Deborah Moggach, the bestselling author and screenwriter will be talking about her new novel The Carer at this year's Literary Lunch. Writer and Condé Nast chairman, Nicholas Coleridge, will also speak at the lunch about celebrity gossip and scandals from his 30 years in the business. 

Romy Gill presents the very best of Indian vegan cuisine, and Signe Johansen returns to the festival to celebrate the joy of cocktails. The Countess of Carnarvon reveals the Christmas recipes and traditions at her home, Highclere Castle - the Real Downton Abbey. 

Elizabeth Gowing shares her yoga journey around Britain, whilst Peter Fiennes shares his own journey around Britain in the company of great writers.

In partnership with Amnesty International, Christy Lefteri, bestselling author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo, and BBC World Affairs correspondent, Mike Thomson, discuss the triumph of the human spirit in the most devastating of circumstances, and acclaimed journalist Daniel Trilling presents a powerful and illuminating portrait of the refugee crisis. 

Find out more and book tickets on the Guildford Book Festival Website: or keep up to date with them on social media:

Facebook: @guildfordbookfestival


Photo Credits

David Suchet -  Robin Sinha, Jim Al-Khalili - Andrew McKay, Kirsty Wark -  Heather Yates, Louis de Bernier -  Ivon Bartholomew, Luke Jennings -  Stuart Clarke, Max Hastings -  Toby Madden, Nicholas Coleridge - Felix Clay, Pam Ayres -  Trevor Leighton, Tracy Chevalier - Jonathan Drori

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