Building on the success of Festivals past, the 15th Althorp Literary Festival promises to once again be an intimate yet impressive event, with sessions from renowned historians, novelists, comedians, politicians, sportsmen, screenwriters, biographers and broadcasters.

For further information on each of our speakers at this year’s Festival, and to learn more about their sessions, please see below.

Friday 5th October 2018

Christian Hook

La Búsqueda

A fascinating retrospective from acclaimed artist Christian Hook

10:30 am - 11:30 am

Since he was named Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the year in 2014, Christian Hook has become one of the most sought after artists in Europe. His critically acclaimed paintings are held in important private collections including that of His Royal [...]
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Simon Kerry

Lansdowne: The Last Great Whig

Simon Kerry draws his mighty ancestor out of the shadows and presents him in the context of his own time.

10:30 am - 11:30 am

Simon Kerry was awarded an MA in Archaeology at Jesus College, Cambridge, and a doctorate in late Victorian British History at the University of East Anglia. He is married and lives in London.
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Julian Fellowes

Writing for Television

The highs and lows of writing historical hits from the nation's favourite TV writer

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Baron Fellowes of West Stafford – actor, writer, director, producer, peer. As an actor, he is best known for the BBC series, Aristocrats, and Monarch of the Glen as well as films including Shadowlands, Damage, and Tomorrow Never Dies. Lord [...]
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Kenneth Baker

On the Seven Deadly Sins

Pride, Anger, Sloth, Envy, Avarice, Gluttony and Lust fuel this sinfully engaging talk.

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Kenneth Baker, Lord Baker of Dorking CH, is a British politician and a former Conservative MP having served in the Cabinets of Margaret Thatcher and John Major as Environment Secretary, Education Secretary and Home Secretary. He has previously [...]
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The Week Event – David Weeks & Jon Connell

The Week…Live!

All you need to know about everything that matters

1:20 pm - 2:10 pm

The Week provides a smart, objective and highly entertaining distillation of the very best content covering current affairs, culture, consumer and business. The Week is delighted to be the Media Partner of the Althorp Literary Festival and we [...]
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Helen Rappaport

The Race to Save the Romanovs

A thrilling, moment-by-moment account of the final days of the Russian Imperial family.

1:20 pm - 2:10 pm

Dr Helen Rappaport is a historian with a specialism in late Imperial Russia and the Victorians. She is the author of thirteen published books, including the Sunday Times bestseller Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses; [...]
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Bernard Cornwell

War of the Wolf

The story of Uhtred, an Englishman born in ninth-century Northumbria, continues in this dynastic 11th book.

2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Bernard Cornwell was born in London and now lives in the USA and is one of the most successful and prolific historical novelists writing today.  He is the author of 50 novels including the hugely successful Sharpe novels, which are set during [...]
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Paddy Ashdown

Nein! Standing up to Hitler 1934-45

Paddy Ashdown discusses how elected individuals in the German state used conspiracy, assassination and espionage to thwart Hilter.

2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

After service as a Royal Marine and as an intelligence officer for the UK security services, Paddy Ashdown was a Member of Parliament for Yeovil from 1983 to 2001, and leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1988 until 1999. Later he was the [...]
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Peter Frankopan

The Silk Roads and the New World of the 21st Century

A follow up to Frankopan's phenomenal international bestseller 'The Silk Roads'

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Peter Frankopan is Professor of Global History at Oxford University, where he is founding Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research and Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College. He has been Stanley J. Seeger Visiting Fellow in [...]
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Rachel Kelly

Walking On Sunshine

Rachel Kelly shares the strategies that have helped her stay calm and happy after overcoming two episodes of severe depression

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Rachel Kelly is a bestselling writer and mental health campaigner. The author of four books, she speaks publicly about her experience of depression and recovery, and regularly writes for press and gives TV and radio interviews to help educate [...]
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Dan Snow

World War I on its Centenary

One of Britain's foremost military historians muses on the Great War.

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Dan Snow is a historian, broadcaster and television presenter. He was born and raised in London, and remembers spending every weekend of his childhood being taken to castles, battlefields, country houses and churches. He developed a great love [...]
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Historical Writing Class For TV With James Runcie – Limited Space

How to write Historical Fiction workshop with James Runcie

LIMITED AVAILABILITY. Helpful techniques that will help your writing about the past become thrillingly present.

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Writers often look to the past to understand the present but how do you make your work convincing? How much research do you need to do? How do your characters think, speak and dress? How do you avoid cliché?  Over one intensive ninety minute [...]
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Saturday 6th October 2018

George Courtauld

Three Men On A Diet

An hilarious and compelling story of three men with a lot to lose and even more to gain.

10:30 am - 11:30 am

George Courtauld has worked as a headhunter for 25 years, commuting daily to the West End from his home in Essex. He is married with three sons. In 2004, he self-published The Pocket Book of Patriotism, which reached #6 in the non-fiction [...]
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Prue Leith

Prue - My All-Time Favourite Recipes

Reminiscences and wit from a much loved chef. Prue Leith presents us with the food we all want to make at home.

10:30 am - 11:30 am

Prue Leith has been at the top of the British food scene for nearly 60 years. She has seen huge success not only as founder of the renowned Leith’s School of Food and Wine, but also as a caterer, restaurateur, teacher, TV cook, food journalist, [...]
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Dan Jones and Marina Amaral

The Colour of Time

History is given colour in this acclaimed publishing phenomenon.

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Dan Jones is a historian, broadcaster and award-winning journalist. His bestselling works include The Plantagenets, The Hollow Crown and The Templars. He has written and hosted dozens of TV shows including the acclaimed Netflix/Channel 5 series [...]
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Paula Byrne in conversation with Jonathan Bate

Look to Your Wife: From Othello To Twitter

A witty, wholly entrancing story of the pleasures, pains and obsessions of contemporary life.

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Paula Byrne is the author the bestselling biographies ‘Perdita’, ‘Mad World’, ‘The Real Jane Austen’, ‘Belle’, ‘Kick’ and ‘The Genius of Jane Austen’. She is founder and chief executive of ReLit, the Bibliotherapy Foundation, a charity devoted [...]
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Mike Read

The Writing on The Wall

View history through the blue plaques that dot our nation's buildings, vivid reminders of lives past.

1:20 pm - 2:10 pm

Mike Read is Chairman of the British Plaque Trust, and in 2017 worked with the BBC to create almost fifty plaques to musical icons for BBC Music Day. He has won ten Broadcaster of the Year Awards and as a TV presenter has fronted such top-rated [...]
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Rowan Pelling

Eroticism and Erotic literature

This Daily Telegraph Columnist discusses her true passion.

1:20 pm - 2:10 pm

Rowan Pelling is a writer, broadcaster and regular columnist for The Daily Telegraph. She edited The Erotic Review magazine for eight years and in 2017 launched a new magazine, The Amorist: for devotees of love and passion, producing seven print [...]
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Charles Spencer

To Catch A King

How did the most wanted man in the country outwit the greatest manhunt in British history?

2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

In the week when the paperback of To Catch A King is published, Charles Spencer presents this thrilling chronicle, described by the Times as “a ripping yarn, with ingredients that belong partly to thrillers and partly to fairytales.” This [...]
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Miranda Seymour

The Byron Effect

Learn what it was like to be the long-suffering wife and the set upon daughter of one of the great womanisers in English history

2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Miranda Seymour, author of the award-winning In My Father’s House, has written many acclaimed novels and biographies, including lives of Mary Shelley, Robert Graves, Ottoline Morrell, Virginia Cherrill and Helle Nice, the Bugatti Queen.  Find [...]
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Simon Jenkins

Britain's 100 Best Railway Stations

The foremost expert on our national heritage deftly reveals the significance of each of these glories

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Simon Jenkins is the author of the bestselling books Britain’s 100 Best Railway Stations, A Short History of England, England’s Thousand Best Churches and England’s Thousand Best Houses. He is the former editor of the Evening [...]
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Helen Castor in conversation with Jessie Childs

Elizabeth I

Helen Castor shows how this iconic queen was shaped by profound and enduring insecurity.

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Helen Castor is a historian of medieval England, and a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Her first book, Blood & Roses, was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2005 and won the English Association’s Beatrice White [...]
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Alan Johnson

In My Life: A Music Memoir,

In My Life vividly transports us to a world that is no longer with us - a world of Dansettes and jukeboxes.

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Alan Johnson is definitely one of our most popular and respected MPs and as well as being an award-winning author and broadcaster, is a lifelong fan of Queens Park Rangers. As Members of Parliament go, he also has a surprisingly good taste in [...]
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Leanda de Lisle and Nadine Akkerman

In conversation with Jessie Childs

Queens, princesses and spies in the traumatic years of the English Civil Wars

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Leanda de Lisle is the highly acclaimed author of four books on the Tudors and Stuarts, including the bestselling THE SISTERS WHO WOULD BE QUEEN and TUDOR: THE FAMILY STORY. A former weekly columnist on the Spectator, Guardian and Daily Express, [...]
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Sunday 7th October 2018

Leila Al-shami And Robin Yassin-kassab – Foc With Charitable Donations To Syria Relief

Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War (Pluto, 2016, 2018)

Entry to this talk is free but charitable donations are encouraged (BOOKINGS FOR THIS EVENT ARE STILL REQUIRED)

10:30 am - 11:30 am

Robin Yassin-Kassab is a regular media commentator on Syria and the Middle East. He is the co-author of Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War (Pluto, 2016, 2018), which was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2017, and author of [...]
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Allison Pearson

How Hard Can it Be

Entrancing Chick-literati for our times; a follow up to the bestseller 'How Does She Do It.'

10:30 am - 11:30 am

Allison Pearson is a journalist and author. She is a columnist for The Telegraph (UK) and has also written for many other publications, including Daily Mail, Time, The New York Times, Vogue, and Woman & Home. Her novel I Don’t Know How She [...]
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Marilyn Imrie, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Jasmine Hyde

Rumpole

Listen live as a complex Horace Rumpole legal case develops.

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

The genius of John Mortimer’s Horace Rumpole is one of literature’s most famous legal minds. You are invited to spend sixty minutes in the company of two of the actors who star in Rumpole on BBC Radio 4. They will read extracts from the stories [...]
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Tracy Borman

The King's Witch

Elizabeth I, the Tower of London and Guy Fawkes combine in an explosive tale of compassion and conspiracy.

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Tracy Borman is a best-selling author and historian, specialising in the Tudor period. Her books include Elizabeth’s Women, which was Book of the Week on Radio 4, Thomas Cromwell: the untold story of Henry VIII’s most faithful servant, which was [...]
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Algy Cluff

Unsung Heroes

Carefully selected vignettes of the heroes and villains he has encountered in a rich and varied life

1:20 pm - 2:10 pm

Algy Cluff OBE was born in 1940. He served for six years in the Army in West Africa, Cyprus and Borneo.  He was a Captain in the Grenadier Guards and the Guards Parachute Company and recently retired as Honorary Colonel of the 3rd Battalion of [...]
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Christian Hook

La Búsqueda

A fascinating retrospective from acclaimed artist Christian Hook

1:20 pm - 2:10 pm

Since he was named Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the year in 2014, Christian Hook has become one of the most sought after artists in Europe. His critically acclaimed paintings are held in important private collections including that of His Royal [...]
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Timothy Henry

Conscious Capitalism – Tools for Transforming Your Organization

Making Business work for everybody.

1:20 pm - 2:10 pm

Timothy Henry is co-CEO and Managing Partner of BRIDGE, a global consulting and leadership firm. A former Principal at Booz, Allen and Hamilton in New York and Tokyo, he has worked on executive programs at Harvard Business School and serves as [...]
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Sarah Churchwell

Behold, America: A History of America First and the American Dream

Insightful and revelatory, Behold, America overturns everything we thought we knew about the American dream.

2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Sarah Churchwell is Professor of American Literature and Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is the author of Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and The Invention of The Great [...]
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Sir Chris Bonington

Ascent

The making of a modern mountaineer

2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Chris, the mountaineer, writer, photographer and lecturer, started climbing at the age of 16 in 1951. It has been his passion ever since. He made the first British ascent of the North Wall of the Eiger and led the expedition that made the first [...]
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Bob Champion MBE

I’m Champion, Call Me Bob

Fear, joy and victory intersect in this gripping tale

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Racing legend Bob Champion listed amongst the top 10 professional jockeys in the UK, in 1979 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Following brutal chemotherapy treatment that almost killed him. In 1981 Bob Champion & Aldaniti amazed the [...]
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Alexander McCall Smith

20th anniversary of No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

One of Britain's favourite authors muses on 20 years of his most popular creations.

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Alexander McCall Smith, often referred to as ‘Sandy’, is one of the world’s most prolific and best-loved authors. For many years he was a professor of Medical Law and worked in universities in the UK and abroad before turning his hand to writing [...]
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A.N. Wilson

Aftershocks

A. N. Wilson's extraordinary novel offers a portrait of nature, death and morality

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

A.N. Wilson grew up in Staffordshire and was educated at Rugby and New College, Oxford. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he holds a prominent position in the world of literature and journalism. He is a prolific and award-winning [...]
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Joanna Grochowicz (Childrens Session)

Captain Scott

FULLY BOOKED

5:15 pm - 6:00 pm

Joanna Grochowicz’s narrative non-fiction is meticulously researched and compellingly told. By fusing the real and the imagined in her stories of early Antarctic exploration, she reveals the human aspirations and tragedies that have shaped [...]
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