Chester Literature Festival Announced for November 2018


Storyhouse announces Chester Literature Festival with its biggest line-up yet. Featuring major authors, storytellers, broadcasters and poets.

Saturday 10 November – Saturday 1 December, Storyhouse, Chester

AD | I have been or could be if you click on a link in this post compensated via a cash payment, gift or something else of value for writing this post. See our full disclosure policy and privacy policy for more details.

Nigella Lawson
Hollie McNish
Lemn Sissay
Joanna Trollope
Jenni Murray
Dolly Alderton  – I am so excited about this one and have tickets!!
Robin Ince

Dan Snow – I have tickets for this one too!
Pam Ayres
Luke Wright
Anton Lesser
John Simpson

Poets Lemn Sissay, Luke Wright and Hollie McNish, celebrity chef Nigella Lawson and broadcasters Jenni Murray, Dolly Alderton, John Simpson and Pam Ayres top the bill alongside a raft of novelists, musicians and performers fresh from Edinburgh Fringe.

Lemn Sissay MBE is the festival’s artist in residence, his poems, all written at dawn, will be installed across Storyhouse creating an enormous poetry book. Sissay will also be in conversation with novelist Jenni Fagan.

Other poets on the bill include Ted Hughes prize-winner Hollie McNish returning to Storyhouse to perform more of her acclaimed poems former children’s Laureate Michael Rosen and award-winning poet Luke Wright.

Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson celebrates the 20th anniversary of her book How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food. The inimitable Jenni Murray celebrates great women from around the world – rescuing some from obscurity and shining a new light on familiar names.

With over 40 years’ experience in international journalism John Simpson has now turned his hand to fiction, his novel Moscow, Midnight explores the city’s dark underworld. Author of 17 bestselling novels Joanna Trollope will be in conversation with writer Penny Feeny. New York Times bestseller Jodi Picoult will discuss her latest novel A Spark of Light.

There will be an audience with Pam Ayres who’s been making the nation laugh for over 40 years, plus broadcaster Dan Snow returns to the festival to discuss his latest book.

Writer, broadcaster and stand-up comedian Viv Groskop will give a unique talk on the art of brilliant speaking whilst creative coach Deborah Henry-Pollard’s first book What’s Your Excuse for not Succeeding as an Artist will explore what stops artists fulfilling their potential. Plus, journalists Laura Robertson (Frieze, a-n, Hyperallergic) and  David Atkinson will lead workshops on arts criticism and new writing respectively.

Award-winning, bestselling psychologist Robert Plomin discusses the ground-breaking genetic revelation that DNA can show to understand who we are and who we’ll become. Whilst comedian Robin Ince will give a talk on what makes us human.

Ross Sutherland leaves his recording studio to present a special live edition of his award-winning podcast series Imaginary Advice.

Award-winning filmmaker and photographer Sue Flood discusses 20 years spent visiting the heart of penguin colonies in places as remote and challenging as Antarctica. Plus, journalist, former Sunday Times dating columnist and host of one of iTunes’ number one podcasts, Love Stories and The High-LowDolly Alderton.

Hilary Mantel’s booker prize winning novel Wolf Hall was transformed into an acclaimed six-part BBC drama, its score by Debbie Wiseman will be performed alongside extracts from Wolf Hall and its first sequel Bring Up The Bodies read by Anton Lesser – who played Sir Thomas More in the BBC series.

Costa Novel award winner Christie Watson will be in Chester to talk about her latest book – an absorbing account of her former life as a children’s nurse, illuminating hospital wards and corridors – and the state of the NHS. Prize winning author Patrick Gale will discuss his latest novel Take Nothing With You.

Raoul Martinez will discuss his decade-in-the-making book Creating Freedom and he will be interviewed by his sister Francesca Martinez – the award-winning comedian and writer.

William Clegg, QC, is one of the most celebrated advocates at the English bar. A barrister for 47 years, his new book Under The Wig – A Lawyer’s Stories of Murder, Guilt and Innocence, revisits his most notorious trials.

Storytelling theatre features in the busy line-up, acclaimed storyteller and performer James Rowland will perform his piece A Hundred Words for Love examining why relationships fail.

Storyteller Douglas Walker will unravel a shocking true story with his ingenious new comic play Of Christmas Past.  Rob Auton’s The Talk Show received five 5 star reviews  at the Edinburgh Festival 2018, he will perform at the Garret Theatre.

Chester University join the bill with a range of fascinating events by lecturers, poets, playwrights and authors, plus festival favourite Poetry Pub Crawl with Molly Naylor and Gavin Osborn will bask in the glory of Chester’s finest drinking establishments culminating in a wine-fuelled finale at Storyhouse.

Alex Clifton, artistic director of Storyhouse said:

Our annual Literature Festival is a welcome break from phones and iPads – it comes to the city’s events calendar when it’s dark at 4 o clock and all you want to do is be indoors, where its warm – with a good book. For three weeks Storyhouse will be home to some of the UK’s brightest thinkers, writers and performers, to fascinating conversations and ideas – everyone is welcome!’

To find out more and book visit


29-Oct               19:30   Jodi Picoult

10-Nov              14:30   Hollie McNish

10-Nov              19:30   An Evening with Nigella Lawson

11-Nov               14:00   Wolf Hall Live

11-Nov               18:00   Patrick Gale: Take Nothing With You

11-Nov               19:30   Lemn Sissay in conversation with Jenni Fagan

12-Nov               11:00    Michael Rosen

12-Nov               19:30   An Evening with John Simpson

13-Nov               10:30   Get to Know Your Library

13-Nov               13:00   Uni at the Fest: Literature and the Every-day

14-Nov              19:30   An Evening with Joanna Trollope

15-Nov               18:00   Uni at the Fest: Stasi Child – An Interview with David Young

15-Nov               20:30   Orpheus

17-Nov               14:30   Viv Groskop: How Women Own the Room – The Art of Brilliant Speaking

17-Nov               15:00   Get to Know Your Library

17-Nov               20:30   Rob Auton: The Talk Show

18-Nov               12:30   Simon Edge: The Hurtle of Hell

18-Nov               14:00   Lucy Siegle: Turning the Tide on Plastic

18-Nov               14:30   Robert Plomin: Blueprint  – How DNA Makes us who we are

18-Nov               19:30   An Evening with Christie Watson

19-Nov              19:30   Robin Ince: I’m a Joke and So Are You

20-Nov              12:00   Dan Snow: On This Day In History

20-Nov              13:00   Deborah Henry-Pollard: Five Top Tips for Coping as a Creative

20-Nov              19:30   Pam Ayres

21-Nov               17:30    Get to Know Your Library

22-Nov                 13:00     Uni at the Fest – The Quizzical Glance: Two Centuries of Women Cartoonists in Britain

22-Nov                 18:00     Uni at the Fest: We Are Our Words

22-Nov                 20:30     Ross Sutherland: Imaginary Advice Live

23-Nov                 13:00     How to Get Started as a Writer Right Now (with David Atkinson)

23-Nov                 18:00     Sue Flood – Emperor – The Perfect Penguin

23-Nov                 19:30     An Evening with Dolly Alderton

24-Nov              14:00   An Afternoon with Jenni Murray

24-Nov              18:00   William Clegg QC: Under the Wig

24-Nov              19:30   Poetry Pub Crawl

25-Nov              14:30   Francesca & Raoul Martinez: Creating Freedom – Power, Control and the Fight for Our Future

25-Nov              18:00   New Voices

27-Nov              13:00   A Beginners Guide to Art Criticism (with Laura Robertson)

27-Nov              17:00   Uni at the Fest: Ian Seed and William Stephenson

27-Nov              19:30   James Rowland: A Hundred Different Words for Love

29-Nov              20:00  Luke Wright: Frankie Vah

30-Nov              18:00   Uni at the Fest: Vanessa Gebbie – My Very Short Stories

30-Nov              20:30   Douglas Walker: Of Christmas Past

01-Dec               19:30   Horatio Clare: The Light in the Dark – A Winter Journal

+ posts

Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.