Top authors lined up for Althorp Festival

Rev Richard Coles
Rev Richard Coles

A superstar line up of comedians, broadcasters and actors will be talking about their latest works at the Althorp Literary Festival coming at the start of next month.

The event runs at the stately home from Thursday October 5 to Sunday October 8.

It is a unique celebration of the written word, the festival takes place against the backdrop of one of England’s most beautiful private, historic houses.

Thursday will see the festival kick off with actor John Challis, best known for playing Boycie on Only Fools and Horses.

His latest book The Treasure of Mortimer is a record of the restoration of the house and the creation of a garden.

TV chef Ken Hom, the author of almost 40 books, which have inspired millions of home cooks around the world and his most recent book is his autobiography, My Stir-Fried Life, a high-spirited, life-enriching feast where the chopsticks never stock clattering.

Strictly Come Dancing and tennis coach Judy Murray weill be chatting about her extraordinary memoir which charts the challenges she has faced, from desperate finances and growing pains to entrenched sexism.

A regular contestant on Radio 4’s Just a Minute will visit on Friday. Pam Ayres will visit the area to discuss her recent works, You Made Me Late Again and The Necessary Aptitude.

Earl Spencer will be again on hand at the festival to talk about To Catch A King. This is the story of the luck, grit and loyalty that helped Charles evade Parliamentary enemies keen to quickly catch and execute the Stuart heir who had risked everything to gain the crown of England.

To more recent history and former member of parliament and foreign secretary David Owen will be speaking about how Britain’s global role and influence can be enhanced, rather than diminished, post-Brexit.

2017 also sees the introduction of the Althorp Children’s Literary Festival taking place on Saturday and Sunday.

Clare Balding will be speaking about her work for children as part of this event on Saturday. She will talk about her new book The Racehorse who Disappeared.

Entertainer and presenter Johnny Ball will also be at the festival discussing Wonders Beyond Numbers – A Maths History.

Numbers will be key for economist, journalist, and presenter Evan Davies as he discusses his new book Post Truth on Sunday.

Stanley Johnson will return to the festival to talk about his latest novel Kompromat, a satirical thriller that tells the story of 2016’s seismic and unexpected political events on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Rev Richard Coles will be taking a break from the dance foor on Strictly Come Dancing to visit the festival on its final day.

Richard charts his pilgrimage from a sheltered middle-England upbringing to London’s gay scene, through a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of sex and drugs, to a life devoted to God and Christianity.

Also speaking will be the much-loved sports commentator Henry Blofeld whose plummy tones are known and loved worldwide thanks to his extensive cricket commentary career on both television 40and radio. As a broadcaster he has been a regular member of the prestigious Test Match Special cricket commentary team from 1972 through to 2017, having very recently retired in September 2017.

During the 2017 Althorp Literary Festival, guests can enjoy a drink in the Nyetimber Bus or at the Burleigh’s Gin & Tonic Bar, whilst enjoying treats from the Althorp Stables Cafe, To buy tickets for the festival call 01604 770107 or visiting www.spencerofalthorp.com