Chester’s literature festival returns for 2019 marking its 30th year and bringing a host of famous faces to this year’s event.
Taking place at Storyhouse in Chester from 9th-30th November, the event will see authors, poets and broadcasters come together to focus on storytelling in all its forms.
Poet, artist and filmmaker Imtiaz Dharker is this year’s festival’s guest director and artist in residence.
Her poems and illustrations, inspired by Storyhouse and its communities, will be emblazoned across Storyhouse’s spaces creating an enormous poetry book.
Dharker’s specially curated event Imtiaz Dharker and Friends will see her headline alongside former poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
The festival aims to explore the theme of storytelling through spoken word, music and dance.
Debate and discussion is planned for the festival. Talks include Folklore in Fiction, Telling Stories of Displacement, and Young Storyhouse curated: What Young Adult Fiction Means to Us, with 2019 YA Book Prize winner Sara Barnard.
There will also be evenings of poetry from deaf spoken-word artist and Ted Hughes Prize winner Raymond Antrobus.
Award-winning author Michael Morpurgo will also make an appearance, interviewed by Katy Brand.
He will be joined on the line-up by Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, interviewed by TV presenter Angelica Bell and Armistead Maupin, writer of the Tales of the City chronicles who will be interviewed by Booker prize nominee Bernadine Evaristo.
Other appearances are planned by Benjamin Zephaniah, Lemn Sissay, Luke Wright, Molly Naylor, Roger McGough and Gavin Osborn.
The programme features shows direct from the Edinburgh Fringe; poet, teacher and wannabe rapper Mark Grist; James Rowland’s Revelations, a tale of music and dementia from John Osbourne; one-man-band musical comedy Phoenix; and welsh mythology from Blodeuwedd Untold.
Chester University join the bill with a pair of fascinating events. They will be providing workshops on bullet journalling, zine making and writing for wellbeing.
Families are welcomed at the event with talks from children’s authors Kate Pankhurst (Fantastically Great Women who Worked Wonders), Hollie Hughes (The Girl and the Dinosaur), and Jim Whalley with illustrator Stephen Collins’ (Baby’s First Jailbreak).
Local writers take centre stage daily throughout the festival. There will be readings from local writers, poets and storytellers every day at 11am in Storyhouse’s Kitchen and for something to do with the kids straight after the school run, there will be family storytelling at 4pm. There will also be an evening showcase of local talent Your Voices: Celebrating Local Writers.
Festival-goers can also look forward to the Human Library, a Pub Choir and talks from BBC journalist Gavin Esler and Professor AC Grayling and a film screened at the in-house cinema.
Sam Bain, Senior Programme Manager, said: “We are delighted to bring such a rich programme to Chester in the Chester Literature Festival’s 30th anniversary year.
“Our artist in residence Imtiaz Dharker has produced stunningly beautiful illustrations and words for our walls and we can’t wait to bring her curated events to life.
“This year we explore cultural identity across our programme, with themes of ethnicity, religion, disability and physicality, generation, sexuality and gender, class, parenthood and the care system, and belonging and displacement in all their forms.
“We hope you’ll find a home at Storyhouse during this year’s festival.”