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Royal thread running through this year’s Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival

Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival has a very noticeable royal thread tying this year’s event together. 

Being staged at the Crown Hotel – on the edge of Harrogate’s Duchy estate which is owned by the Duchy of Lancaster – the four-day book feast has gained a reputation for being one of the country’s premier literature festivals, and one where authors clamour to appear.

On the Festivals’ opening night in what is a coup for Yorkshire, former premier David Cameron, the twelfth Prime Minister in the reign of the current Queen, is being interviewed by BBC diplomatic correspondent, James Landale.

Published last week, Mr Cameron’s tell-all autobiography, For The Record, has already ruffled feathers in both the Palace of Westminster and Buckingham Palace.

The following afternoon, Knight of the Realm Sir Tim Waterstone, who has just published his memoir The Face Pressed Against The Window, is in conversation with the BBC’s Mark Lawson. Never bored of books, he is the author of four novels and one semi-autobiographical business book.

The Commonwealth, where Oliver Cromwell is all but king in name, is the setting of SG MacLean’s latest historical story, The Bear Pit. The Scottish-born historical mystery novelist, and niece of thriller writer Alistair MacLean, takes to the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival stage at 11am on Saturday, October 19.

Following on from SG MacLean is Jessica Fellowes, niece of Downton Abbey creator, Lord Julian Fellowes, who has written several of the official companion books to the much-loved costume drama.

Whilst the Downtown Abbey film centres on a royal visit to Grantham Hall, the fictional Yorkshire home of Lord and Lady Grantham, Miss Fellowes’ latest mystery, Bright Young Dead, is the second in the bestselling The Mitford Murders, and is soon to be a major TV drama from the makers of The Crown.

Devotees of the Tudor era can step back in time with the appearance of an expert historian and chief curator for the Historic Royal Palaces. In her latest book, Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him, Tracy Borman explores the lives of some of the Tudor monarch’s greatest influences, including Will Somer, Henry’s “fool”, who became one of his closest confidantes.

The final link in this royal chain is editor, author, journalist, screenwriter and presenter Tom Bradby, the former Royal Correspondent for ITN. Nine years ago he scooped his rivals with the first interview of the newly-engaged Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Zoe Robinson, Raworths’ managing partner said: “This year’s line-up will see some fascinating personalities take to the stage. The variety and quality of the authors is outstanding and there is little doubt the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival is gaining momentum and recognition nationwide.”

Helen Donkin, Harrogate International Festivals Literature Festivals Manager, said: “Since its launch in 2010, Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival has gone from strength to strength, and is regarded by many as one of the country’s finest literature festivals.

“Whilst entirely coincidental, there does appear to be a strong royal theme running across the four days, from the venue itself to the subject matters and the past and present careers of a number of the authors.”

Taking place from Thursday, October 17 until Sunday, October 20, no fewer than 25 authors will have their work – and lives – put firmly in the public spotlight.

Further information about this year’s Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival, and the guest speakers who will be appearing at it, is available from the Harrogate International Festivals’ website:

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