Get set to book tickets for Stratford Literary Festival's 15th anniversary

Star-studded line-up includes events for all

Ed Miliband, Sir Derek Jacobi and Shirley Ballas will be this year's Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival
Ed Miliband, Sir Derek Jacobi and Shirley Ballas will be this year's Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival

Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Tuesday, for Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival's 15th anniversary event which will bring a host of leading writers and thinkers to the town.

The festival runs from May 3 to 8 and will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Bridgefoot, with its riverside frontage and variety of venues for speaker events - fringe events will take place around the town.

Sir Derek Jacobi, whose roles in Shakespeare plays have won him worldwide acclaim, is one of the star names on the programme. Joining him will be Booker prize winner Howard Jacobson, Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen, Women’s Prize for Fiction winner Maggie O’Farrell, and top literary fiction authors Ali Smith, Tessa Hadley and Andrew Miller, whose book The Slowworm’s Song is this year’s Festival Book Club Read.

Podcast stars Jane Garvey and Fi Glover are on the list and Jane will be in conversation with Today programme presenter, Justin Webb, on what makes a good interviewer. Justin will also be sharing his critically-acclaimed biography, A Gift of a Radio. Other stars of TV and radio include Strictly judge Shirley Ballas, and Great Pottery Throwdown judge Keith Brymer Jones.

Science will be covered by Life Scientific presenter Jim Al-Khalili OBE, Inside Science presenter and geneticist Dr Adam Rutherford, and statistician and presenter of More or Less, Tim Harford OBE. Local celebrity Quentin Willson will interview chemist Kit Chapman about how Formula 1 research has applications that can help support the NHS.

The festival welcomes extraordinary people and their stories including explorer Benedict Allen, and disaster specialist Lucy Easthope. It will also be taking on big topics including climate change with former Labour leader Ed Miliband, the future of the BBC with David Hendy and the FT’s Henry Mance, and remodelling the NHS with the chief executive of South Warwickshire NHS Trust, Glen Burley.

Music lovers can look out for Radio 3’s Tom Service and rock and pop journalists Bob Stanley and Pete Paphides. The line-up also features a number of leading poets, including Poet Laureate Simon Armitage CBE and spoken word poet Hollie McNish. Shakespeare expert Emma Smith explores our love of books with journalist Mark Hodkinson, Sam Knight reveals the extraordinary story of premonitions that shaped government planning, and naturalist Tristan Gooley teaches us how to read the weather.

There will also be a series of workshops for writers, including with the Forward Prize winner Luke Kennard and best-selling author Cathy Rentzenbrink. You can also upskill with book and writing related craft activities including calligraphy and paper craft.

And there will be plenty to inspire young readers too with free events for pre-schoolers on weekdays in partnership with Stratford Library, and a day of events for families on Sunday. May 8, with Winnie the Witch illustrator Korky Paul, and author/illustrators including Yuval Zommer, Jane Newberry, Stratford writing team Brothers McLeod, Hannah Shaw and Christopher Edge. Plus you can take a boat trip with Gareth P Jones.

"The Festival has come a long way since we launched it in a tent in Avon Bank Gardens in 2008," says Festival Director Annie Ashworth.

"And this year’s programme, with its line-up of best-selling writers and opinion formers, is the vision of what we had in mind all those years ago come good. We are so grateful to our sponsors and grant givers, old and new, who have supported us over the years, and to the amazing audience that has grown and grown. We now have three national competitions, and a strong outreach programme in schools, the community and prisons."

Headline sponsors in 2022 continue to be Baillie Gifford, and lead sponsors are Lodders Solicitors, Knight Frank Estate Agents, A-Plan Insurance, Inspired Villages and Rathbones Folio Prize.

Tickets start at £12 and £6 for children’s events, and go on sale tomorrow, Tuesday, March 1, from