The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2023 announces this year’s must-see line-up, consisting of 500+ events encompassing art and design, classic literature, current affairs, faith and philosophy, fiction, poetry and spoken word, history, memoir, food and drink and more.

From Friday 6 to Sunday 15 October, the Festival will offer visitors the opportunity to take the pulse of contemporary culture, hosting thought-provoking discussions and exploration of emerging trends across politics, culture and lifestyle. World-class novelists, incisive global thinkers, bright new voices, bold explorers and conversation-starting creators all await them this October.

The world’s longest-running literature Festival, with a history spanning more than seven decades, continues to break new ground with a programme featuring the world’s foremost writers, thinkers and performers. They will descend on the vibrant spa town when the Festival village returns to the heart of Regency Cheltenham - The Festival Town.

People enjoying Cheltenham Literature Festival

Adele Parks | Adrian Edmonson | Alastair Campbell | Andi Oliver | Andi Osho | Andrey Kurkov Arthur Parkinson | Audrey Magee | Bernard Cornwell | Bernie Taupin | Brian Cox Caroline O’Donoghue | C Pam Zhang | Chris van Tulleken | Chris Packham | Claire Kilroy Charlie Mackesy | Cleo Watson | Clive Myrie | Colin Grant | Danny Cipriani | David Baddiel David Petraeus | David Runciman | Dawn Butler | Eleanor Catton | Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Day | Emma Dabiri | Ed Gamble | Eva Baltasar | Gaby Roslin | Ghaith Abdul-Ahad Guadalupe Nettel | Hamza Yassin | Hashi Mohamed | Henry Marsh | Holly Jackson Ian McEwan | Inua Ellams | John Whaite | Jojo Moyes | Judy Murray | Justin Webb Kate Mosse | Katherine Rundell | Karl Ove Knausgaard | Kelechi Okafor | Keyu Jin Lauren Elkin | Lemn Sissay | Mary Beard | Michael Palin | Michael Rosen | Michel Roux Mick Herron | Miquita Oliver | Musa Okwonga | Nadiya Hussain | Nandini Das | Nicola Sturgeon Nick Frost | Nikesh Shukla | Noel Fitzpatrick | Paula Akpan | Peace Adzo Medie Polly Toynbee | Rachel Parris | Ragnar Jónasson | Raynor Winn | Richard Curtis Richard E Grant | Ruby Wax | Sadiq Khan | Santanu Bhattacharya | Sarah Raven Sebastian Faulks | Shirley Ballas | Steve Backshall | Tété-Michel Kpomassie | Theresa May Tim Peake | Timothy West | Tomiwa Owolade | Toshikazu Kawaguchi | Will Gompertz William Hague | Yomi Adegoke | Yu Jie | Zadie Smith


Dr Alex George | Ann Morgan | Anne-Marie Imafidon | Peter Frankopan | Caleb Azumah Nelson


Adam Rutherford | Alex Willmore | Amara Sage | Beatrice Blue | Benji Davies Bob and Roberta Smith | David Walliams | Derek Landy | Dr Ranj | Elle McNicoll | Esme Higgs Helen Rutter | Holly Bourne | Holly Jackson | Holly Smale | Lucy Bannerman Jacqueline Wilson | Jasbinder Balan | Jennifer Killick | Joseph Coelho | Liz Pichon Maddie Moate | Martin Brown | Matt Lucas | Maz Evans | Michelle Elman | Nadine Aisha Jassat Dapo Adeola | P.J. Holden | Paul Westmoreland | Philip Reeve | Robert Muchamore S.F. Said | Sathnam Sanghera | Sharna Jackson | Smriti Halls | Yeva Skalietska

Guests and speakers at Cheltenham Literature Festival

Celebrating Global Culture

Returning for 2023 is the Festival’s Read the World theme, which has been spotlighting international literature at Cheltenham since 2021, offering visitors a passport to global voices and ideas. Influences from Ghana, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Spain, Taiwan and more will be present in Cheltenham this year. The Festival is also continuing its celebration of Ukrainian literature, hearing from its most celebrated authors and young minds. As well as playing host to a striking number of leading authors across all genres, the Festival is – as ever – a place to discover new talent and emerging voices.

The Cheltenham Literature Programme Highlights include:

Fiction - This year’s fiction programme is packed full of leading literary names and emerging authors.

Current Affairs - The Festival explores many of the major issues facing society today, championing dynamic and nuanced discussion.

Classic Literature - Baillie Gifford Prize judge Frederick Studemann announces the shortlist live at this year’s Festival. He’ll be talking to 2022 winner Katherine Rundell about her biography of John Donne, Super-Infinite, which was catapulted up the book charts by its Baillie Gifford Prize win.

Food and Drink - The Daffodil is a hub for culinary adventures around the world, grand nights out with some of Britain’s best chefs.

Art and Design - Cheltenham Literature Festival explores a range of art forms and welcomes voices from various institutions.

Entertainment - Beloved stars of television, film, music, and comedy are celebrated at the Festival.

History - Guest Curator Peter Frankopan introduces his pick of new writing that reframes our understanding of the world: in Courting India.

Faith and Wellbeing - Comedian David Baddiel offers a new perspective on the desire for divinity, as well as offering a new perspective on the ancient debate of whether God truly exists.

Lifestyle - Inua Ellams, Nish Kumar, Nikesh Shukla, Vinay Patel and Musa Okwonga come together in ‘Crew Love’ to discuss the bond that reaffirmed their faith in male friendship, sparked during lockdown when they watched a film about the end of the world.

Psychology - In ‘Why Women Kill’, Alia Trabucco Zerán and Victoria Kielland talk to Fatima Manji about the women in their respective books, what drove them to commit these acts, and how society, the media and those in power respond to female killers.

Travel and Adventure - Remarkable journeys are brought to life by a number of adventurous travellers. Discovering a book about Greenland in 1950s Togo sparked Tété-Michel Kpomassie’s fascination with life in the Arctic.

Memoir - A variety of voices and life experiences can be found in this year’s memoir strand.

Nature - Various forms of connection to the natural world are explored at the Festival.

Poetry, Spoken Word and Off the Page - Jamaican dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson discusses Time Come, his urgent and incisive careerspanning collection that brings his cultural and political writing together for the first time, with Paul Gilroy.

Science - In a stark call to action, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks with Sathnam Sangera about the climate emergency and how anyone can take a stand.

Family - There are a number of free and ticketed events for families at Cheltenham Literature Festival, catering to children and teenagers alike. Jacqueline Wilson, one of Britain’s best-loved children’s authors, talks to Bex Lindsay from Fun Kids Radio about her writing career and where she finds her story ideas.

Discover more about the inspirational work of our local charity -12 things you may not know about Cheltenham Festivals

For more unmissable events read our guide to summer events in Cheltenham and our ultimate annual Cheltenham festivals guide.


Cheltenham Literature Festival
Cheltenham Literature Festival

Every October the world’s foremost writers, thinkers and performers descend on Cheltenham, The Festival Town, for ten days of fascinating discussion and unforgettable memories.



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