Cheltenham Literature Festival - Introduction and History

Introduction and History

Formed in 1949, The Cheltenham Literature Festival is the longest-running festival of its kind in the world. The Festival was started by the Spa Manager George Wilkinson, in conjunction with the Tewkesbury-based author John Moore, who served as its first director. Actor Ralph Richardson, who was born in Cheltenham, launched the festival, and poet Cecil Day Lewis, who taught at Cheltenham College, read a selection of contemporary verse. The Festival currently has the national newspaper 'The Times' as its 'title' sponsor: therefore making the full name of the festival "The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival". The Festival's current Artistic Director is Sarah Smyth.

The Festival prides itself in showcasing the biggest names from contemporary culture with award- winning authors, up-and-coming writing talent and controversial debate. With over 140,00 tickets sold in 2012, the Festival remains one of the most prestigious literary events in the world.

Each Festival contains a number of ‘features’ that group the events, as well as an underlying 'theme' throughout the Festival. Each year, 'Guest Directors' are also assigned, who curate short series of events throughout the Festival: these have included Armando Ianucci, A. C. Grayling, Diran Adebayo, Dominic Dromgoole, Kate Adie and Ian Rankin.

The festival also sees the presentation each year of the Nick Clarke Award for best broadcast interview.

Read more about this topic:  Cheltenham Literature Festival

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