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The 60th anniversary of the Cheltenham Literary Festival will be the biggest festival to date.

9th October 2009

The Cheltenham Literary Festival, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, features ten guest directors, including Sir Richard Eyre and Sandi Toksvig, the novelists Monica Ali and Jonathan Coe, Rageh Omaar, the foreign correspondent, and the children’s writer Anthony Horowitz.

The biggest festival to date, there are more than 440 events over the ten days and organisers say they have sold more than 100,000 tickets — a number equal to the total ticket sales last year.

One of the more popular events is The Times Debate tomorrow, in which this year the PR consultant Max Clifford, Evan Davis, the Today presenter, the philosopher Ray Tallis and Caitlin Moran of The Times discuss “Is Celebrity the Curse of Our Age?”.

Other writers and making an appearance include Sebastian Faulks, Ruth Rendell, P. D. James, John Irving, Sarah Waters, Stephen Fry and Kate Mosse.

Alastair Campbell will interview Bertie Ahern, the former Taoiseach of Ireland, about his life and his critical role in the Good Friday agreement, while Jeremy Paxman will talk about the birth of modern Britain and his book The Victorians.

Bestselling author and speaker, Alain de Botton will be looking at the pleasures and sorrows of work in the modern day, and John Mickelthwaite, Stephanie Flanders and Vince Cable will be speaking on the topic - the Credit Crunch - where do we go from here?

Comedians appearing include Jack Dee, Mitchell and Webb, Shappi Khorsandi, Jo Brand, Rich Hall, Al Murray, The Now Show cast, Ronni Ancona and Alistair McGowan.

The festival runs from October 9 until October 18.

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