Ham & High Literary Festival 2013: Ruby Wax and Daisy Waugh among big name writers on line-up

Comedian Ruby Wax is open about her experiences with mental illness.

Comedian Ruby Wax is open about her experiences with mental illness. - Credit: Getty Images

Comedian Ruby Wax is among a packed line-up of top authors and celebrities who will appear at this year’s Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival.

Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival. Tracy Chevalier

Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival. Tracy Chevalier - Credit: None

The annual bookfest returns for a fifth year at the London Jewish Cultural Centre at Ivy House, in North End Road, Golders Green, from September 15 to 17.

More than 60 talks and workshops will feature at this year’s festival, which is run in partnership with the Ham&High.

Among the journalists due to speak are Sathnam Sanghera of The Times, Telegraph columnist Gill Hornby, Marcus Berkmann of The Spectator and travel writer, TV presenter and Times columnist Daisy Waugh.

MasterChef winner Shelina Permalloo is also on the programme, as well as English comedian and actor Miles Jupp; novelist and editor Charlotte Mendelson; author Mark Billingham; the Countess of Carnarvon; author Kate Figes and Baroness Gillian Shephard, to name but a few.

American comedian Ms Wax will bring this year’s festival to a close on Tuesday, September 17, with an evening talk about her new book Sane New World, which explores the stress and anxiety created by our minds and the field of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

Broadcaster Nick Ross, presenter of BBC show Crimewatch for 20 years, will also be talking about his new book Crime on Monday, September 16, which presents a revolutionary new criminal and policing policy.

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Dartmouth Park-based novelist Tracy Chevalier – famed for penning international bestseller Girl With a Pearl Earring, which was adapted into a film starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson – will speak about her new book The Last Runaway on Tuesday, September 17.

Ms Chevalier said: “The festival has the feeling of a local event, yet with national players. I am very pleased to be returning.”

For the first time ever this year festival organisers will also host a Kidsfest on Sunday, September 15, sponsored by Diane and Allan Morgenthau Charitable Trust, offering “kid for a quid” events and activities designed to engage young readers aged six and above. Don’t miss tea and jam sandwiches with The Tiger Who Came To Tea author Judith Kerr, celebrating her 90th birthday, and Lauren Child, writer and illustrator of the Charlie and Lola books, as well as CBBC favourite Horrible Histories and more.

Carolyn Black, LJCC festival co-ordinator, said: “Adding a children’s day was the obvious next stage. Our hope is that families will come from across the community to enjoy a wide variety of events.”

There will also be a new Poetry in the Park free event in Golders Hill Park, from 2-5pm, on Sunday, September 15.

Geoff Martin, editor-in-chief of the Ham&High, said: ‘‘Once again there’s a great line-up for this festival, which in five short years has become a must for everyone who loves the written word. There’s so much to look forward to.’’

* Tickets for the festival will be available from Monday. Book online at www.hamhighlitfest.com or call 020 8511 7900.