Big names announced for Chester festival

Published date: 11 August 2014 |
Published by: Neil Bellis
Read more articles by Neil Bellis


RANULPH Fiennes, John Lydon, Paddy Ashdown and Sheila Hancock are just some of the big names announced in the Essar Chester Literature Festival 2014 line up.

Chester Performs have announced a programme of more than 40 events for this year’s festival. Running from Friday, October 10, to Sunday, October 26, the festival opens with the Dylan Thomas Shed, a replica of the poet Dylan Thomas’s writing shed, which has been touring the country to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Visitors can make up a new word which will be published in a Dictionary of Dylan, in honour of his love of words.

Paul Lavin, festival manager, said: “This is another programme that we believe offers something to suit all tastes, the Festival has a really good audience and we look forward to welcoming them back for another year.”

Friday night will see musician John Lydon, former lead singer of punk rock group, the Sex Pistols, John will be talking about his new autobiography with pop music journalist Mark Ellen.

Princess Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, will be joining the line up on Sunday, October 12, to talk about his book Killers of the King, about the fates of the men who signed Charles I’s death warrant.

On Monday, October 14, the world’s greatest living explorer Ranulph Fiennes will discuss his new book Cold: Extreme Adventures at the Lowest Temperatures on Earth.

Politician Paddy Ashdown will be talking about his new book The Cruel Victory, which was released at the beginning of the year to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, he’ll be at the Town Hall on Wednesday, October 15.

Renowned British novelist, Esther Freud (great granddaughter of Sigmund and daughter of Lucien) will be at Chester Town Hall on Thursday, October 16, talking about her novel Mac and Me about the artist Renee Mackintosh.

National treasure, Shelia Hancock will be interviewed by writer and sociologist Laurie Taylor on Thursday October 16, about her newest novel Miss Carter’s War.

Cricket commentator and former England batsman, Geoff Boycott will talk with David Frith about his new autobiography The Corridor of Certainty, on Friday, October 17.

Author of children’s classic Goodnight Mr Tom, Michelle Magorian will be interviewed about her new novel, Saturday, October 18.

As well as talks from writers, the festival welcomes the return of the “Uni at the Fest” programme, a partnership with the University of Chester. The programme features free lectures by top professors on a range of interesting subjects.

There are also a series of workshops - award-winning author and journalist Alex Preston will conduct a creative writing master class on Saturday, October 25. On the same day is a talk by Tennessee Williams’ biographer John Lahr, to be followed by a screening of A Streetcar Named Desire starring Marlon Brandon.

This is the third consecutive year that Ellesmere Port based Essar Oil (UK) have been title sponsor of the festival.

Ian Cotton, head of communications and community for Essar Oil (UK) Ltd, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the festival once again. It’s a highlight not only in the Chester arts calendar but across our entire region. This year’s line-up offers something for everyone and we’re looking forward to seeing our local communities getting involved.”

Booking opens on Monday, August 18, and for more information including how to book visit online at:

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