Article published on November 12, 2015.
As the tents come down, the writers go back to their desks and the sun sets on another Cheltenham Literature Festival, it’s a moment to reflect on the success once again of this most inclusive and broad-reaching celebration of literature. For me it’s what a festival should be, passionate, welcoming, informed, fun and, above all, it really captures the idea of having something for everyone, regardless of age, reading preference or taste, with a really admirable mix of genres and books. Everything from war memoir to teen fiction, Shakespeare to sporting heroes, Man Booker nominees to musicians is on offer and always an enviable rostrum of names.
The mix of commercial and literary fiction is also always growing, allowing there to be a much more inclusive feel to the whole event, and the children’s and teen line-ups encourage youngsters to be involved in the festival spirit too. And as I mourn the end of this year’s festival, my thoughts already turn to next year – surely it’s not too soon to be looking forward to it already – and my own dream list of speakers: Nicholas Sparks, Cecelia Ahern, Graeme Simsion, William Boyd, Arsene Wenger. But whatever the programme, it’s guaranteed to be full of big names, some surprise treats and yet another spectacular line-up. Roll on 2016!