With a star 2011 line-up, our literary festival is a match for Hay-on-Wye

Andrew Morton, Sarah Brown, Diana Athill and Raymond Blanc are among speakers at this year’s Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival

�The third Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival boasts a stellar line- up for this September with Raymond Blanc, Rachel Johnson, Andrew Morton, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Edna O’Brien and Sarah Brown among the authors booked to at the London Jewish Cultural Centre in Golders Green.

The annual event has grown every year since it started in 2009.

This year, there are more speakers than ever with 68 events, including – by popular demand – more creative workshops on everything from how to get published to tips on researching your family tree.

There are also shorter “coffee moments” – informal 20-minute sessions where lit-lovers can pop in and hear someone talking about their book.

Louise Jacobs, deputy chief executive of the LJCC, which runs the event in association with the Ham&High, says: “As we look forward to our third Hampstead & Highgate Literary Festival, the LJCC is delighted that authors, publishers and, most importantly, London’s reading public has so clearly taken it to their hearts.

Visitors doubled

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“Having only launched the festival in 2009, the number of visitors doubled in 2010 to nearly 2,500 over three days. With a more varied and extensive programme this year, we hope to bring in an ever wider audience.

“This is an event for the whole community, whether they come to participate in creative workshops, or enjoy our Coffee Moment readings or hear their favourite authors in person. We are grateful once again for the staunch support of media partners the Ham&High, and Daunt Books, which supplies our on-site festival bookshop.”


Ham&High editor Geoff Martin adds: “We are very proud to be associated with this annual festival.

“This year promises an even stronger line-up of top literary names. At this rate, we will soon be rivalling Hay-on-Wye as a destination for book lovers!”

Highlights this year include:

n Gordon Brown’s wife Sarah Brown discusses her memoir of life inside Number 10 – Behind The Black Door.

n Veteran Irish novelist Edna O’Brien reads from her short story collection Saints And Sinners.

n Highgate-based author Esther Freud talks about her latest novel Lucky Break – a tale of three drama school friends struggling to combine rocky personal lives with stage and screen careers.

n Fans of Barbara Taylor Bradford’s rags to riches blockbusters will enjoy her talk on the bestselling A Woman Of Substance.

n And for food lovers, top chef Raymond Blanc will reveal the mysteries of his Kitchen Secrets.

n Highgate author Diana Athill talks about her long career as a respected publishing editor of top flight authors and her award-winning series of memoirs about growing old.

n Rachel Johnson, the sister of incumbent mayor Boris, has written a lively book about her revamp of legendary magazine The Lady, in A Diary Of The Lady.

n And Highgate-based royal biographer Andrew Morton is currently topping the hardback charts with his book about newlyweds William and Catherine. He will also talk about his explosively revealing book on William’s mother Princess Diana, which rocked the royal family by blowing the lid off her unhappy marriage to Prince Charles.

n This year’s festival runs from September 11 to 13. The booking hotline goes live on July 1 at www.hamhighlitfest.com.