Cheltenham Literature Festival: Speakers Corner's Top Picks

Holly Beddingfield 4 October 2018

If you have ever been to the Speakers Corner HQ, you will know we have a bookshelf brimming with hundreds of titles. In our spare time, we work our way through the vast array of authors and genres, delighting in autobiographical anecdotes, snippets of life advice, and cackling at the craic of comedians. It is no surprise, then, that we wait every year for Cheltenham's Literature Festival to roll around!  For ten days every October, Cheltenham is transformed into a booklovers dream. The cultural centre of The Cotswolds is flooded with over 600 of the world’s best writers, comedians, actors, poets and politicians, all eager to start a dialogue and share their love for the written word. The programme of nearly 500 debates, interviews and workshops offers something for everyone: whether you are an avid reader, a lover of comedy , or have a penchant for politics , the festival has a wealth of incredible speakers on offer for you.
With so much to choose from, how do you decide where to go? Since witchcraft and wizardry is unfortunately bound to the pages of books (preventing us from being in two places at once), we have rounded up our top picks here at Speakers Corner to ensure you make the most out of your trip.

Hollie McNish and Hera Lindsay Bird

Hailing from the spoken word scene, Hollie McNish returns with her bracing poetry exploring feminism and motherhood. She is joined by the incredible New Zealand poet Hera Lindsay Bird in a rare UK performance. This is truly a must-see: these energetic poets are two of the best in the game and leave nothing off-stage. Top tip - go from this event straight to Bang Said The Gun, the spoken word night where these two poets may resurface... Where: The Hive
When: Friday 5th October, 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Mark Beaumont: Around the World in 80 Days

Inspired by Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel, record-breaking endurance cyclist  Mark Beaumont  talks to Ben Tuxworth about his latest remarkable adventure: cycling over 200 miles a day to circumnavigate the world in less than 80 days. Let Mark do the distance (and the talking) so you don’t have to. Where: The Sunday Times Garden Theatre
When: Friday 5th October, 8:15pm – 9:15pm

Romesh Ranganathan

Dry. Dead-pan. Hilarious. Comedian  Romesh Ranganathan  first hailed to the stage at a Pontin’s Holiday Camp talent competition when he was 9 years old. He managed to beat a young girl playing the kazoo, and has since gone on to secure his position as the most in-demand, overweight, vegan, Sri Lankan comedian in Britain. You won’t regret this one! Where: The Times Forum
When: Friday 5th October, 8:45pm – 9:45pm

The Pool Party

The Pool is an online platform producing inspiring and original content for women who are too busy to browse. The Pool Party presents three of its contributors to the Life Honestly: Strong Opinions from Smart Women column: Juno Dawson,  Dolly Alderton  and Poorna Bell. Get this one booked in advance – the ticket includes brunch! Where: The Daffodil
When: Saturday 6th October, 10:00am – 11:30am

Robin Ince: I’m a Joke… And So Are You

Robin Ince is a favourite at both Speakers Corner and Cheltenham Literary Festival. The comedian and host of The Infinite Monkey Cage explores what it means to be human. I’m a Joke… And So Are You is not to be missed – expect an energetic exploration of questions such as: why do we make the choices we do in life? Where does the imagination come from? And do our parents really mess us up? Where: The Sunday Times Garden Theatre
When: Monday 8th October, 8:30pm – 8:30pm

Frederick Forsyth and Frank Gardener

For the thriller novel addict. Frederick Forsyth created the thriller genre when he wrote The Day of the Jackal. He and Frank Gardener, the BBC Security Correspondant turned thriller writer chat to Julia Wheeler about their latest novels. Prepare to sit on the edge of your seats! Where: Town Hall, Baillie Gifford Stage
When: Thursday 11th October, 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Monty Don’s Paradise Gardens

From the highly acclaimed BBC 2 series Gardeners’ World,  Monty Don  is joined by photographer Derry Moore as they explore the delights of Islamic paradise gardens. This is one to make time for - the pair present the most sublime examples in a lavishly illustrated celebration of their beauty. Where: The Sunday Times Garden Theatre
When: Thursday 11th October, 4:15pm – 5:15pm


Undoubted to be one of the most popular sessions, Akala  joins the bill at Cheltenham Literary Festival to talk about his latest book Native with poet Anthony Anaxagorou. He writes and speaks from personal experience, from the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realized his mum was white, he explores the ways in which race and class have shaped his outlook. It’s not to be missed! Where: The Sunday Times Garden Theatre
When: Friday 12th October, 7:30pm – 8:30pm

If you’re planning on travelling to Cheltenham, the festival website contains all you need to know and more. Let us know what you think by tweeting to us @Speakers_Corner , or tagging us on Instagram  @speakerscornerbureau
To book Hollie McNish,  Mark Beaumont ,  Romesh Ranganathan ,  Dolly Alderton , Robin Ince, Frank Gardener,  Monty Don ,  Akala , or any of our other incredible speakers, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email us at .

Newsletter Sign Up

If you liked this article then why not sign up to our newsletters? We promise to send interesting and useful interviews, tips and blogs, plus free event invites too.

Speakers Corner Newsletter

* indicates required

Have an enquiry?

Send us a message online and we'll respond within the hour during business hours. Alternatively, please call us our friendly team of experts on +44 (0) 20 7607 7070.

Speakers Corner (London) Ltd,
Ground and Lower Ground Floor,
5-6 Mallow Street,