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Michael Palin, Clare Balding and Jeremy Vine among stars at literary event
Monty Python legend and travel writer Michael Palin heads the list of big names coming to this year’s Ilkley Literature Festival.
The comedian and screen writer turned travel documentary presenter will join BBC sports presenter Clare Balding, former poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, BBC news presenter Jeremy Vine and award-winning Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell in the line-up at the 39th annual festival.
Dozens of writers will be visiting the festival for the first time to talk about their work and introduce their latest books.
Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford, celebrated writer and dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah and 1995 Booker Prize winner Pat Barker are also in the line-up, along with comedian and TV presenter Sandi Toksvig, who will introduce her new book, Valentine Grey, set during the Boer War.
Organisers of the 17-day festival have revealed the first of the headline guests ahead of the publication of the full programme in August. The festival will take place at various venues in the area from September 28 to October 14.
Tickets will go on sale from 9am on Tuesday, August 28.
Clare Balding’s memoir, My Animals and Other Family, is to be released in September. Jeremy Vine will look back over his career in his biography, It’s all News to Me, while Steve Bell – best known for the daily cartoon strip If.... – will talk about some of his favourite, most provocative comic strips.
More names confirmed include official Olympic Poet Lemn Sissay, Barnsley’s Ian McMillan, Skipton-born writer and fellow of the Royal Society of Literature Blake Morrison and Yorkshire poet, Simon Armitage.
Festival director Rachel Feldberg said: “This year we have been influenced by a momentous summer of sport, culture and commemoration and this is reflected in the variety of wonderful writers we have appearing at the festival.
“With over 200 speakers and events covering these areas as well as crime fiction, music, history and food and drink, the Festival has plenty to entertain and educate for all ages.”
Continuing the royalty and sport themes will be biographer Penny Juror with her latest book “Prince William - The People’s Prince”, writer and commentator William Shawcross - with the first published collection of letters by the Queen Mother - and Chumbawamba guitarist Boff Whalley, who will discuss his book, “Run Wild”, which looks at the relationship between our feet and the earth.
Joy Division co-founder Peter Hook, Classic FM broadcaster Peter Suchet and former Time Out music editor Nick Coleman are also heading to the festival this year.
Leading children’s authors Michael Morpurgo - writer of the War Horse, recently made into a film - and best selling poet Michael Rosen are also in the lineup for the 2012 festival.