Celebrity line-up announced for Tunbridge Wells Literary Festival

Michael Palin, Michael Ball and Lenny Henry

TODAY the Times can exclusively reveal that the Tunbridge Wells Literary Festival for 2024 will see a slew of major household names from both the stage and screen headlining this year’s event.

The organisers of this popular festival, now in its third year, revealed to this newspaper yesterday that comedian Lenny Henry, broadcaster Michael Palin and musical maestro Michael Ball are the first tranche of big names who’ll be taking part in the event, which will run from Thursday May 9 to Sunday May 12.

“With last year’s festival attracting over 5000 people to the town, across 44 events, Lit Fest ‘24 is set yet again to enthral and engage, whether you love books or simply have a curious mind,” said Matt Robson, Sales & Marketing Director of Culture at the Assembly Hall which oversees the event.

In addition to events and talks being held over the four-day festival in the Assembly Hall Theatre, The Amelia Scott, The Forum and Trinity Theatre, this year will see a marquee being used in Calverley Grounds as another satellite site for authors.

“Headlining this year’s Literary Festival will be Radio 2 star and West End legend Michael Ball, with his funny and insightful first memoir Different Aspects,” continued Mr Robson.

“Also confirmed to speak is comedy pioneer Lenny Henry, who with his customary warmth and wit, will be guiding audiences through his career during the 1980s and ‘90s in his wonderfully immersive memoir Rising to the Surface.” They added that also in conversation with Lenny will be the popular BBC newsreader and Mastermind presenter Clive Myrie.

“Completing our current list of headliners is travel guru and national treasure Michael Palin, discussing his new book Great Uncle Harry: A Tale of War and Empire.”

Matt Robson added that over the coming weeks, the full cast of authors and illustrators will be revealed exclusively through this newspaper, with names ranging from ‘internationally acclaimed industry veterans to the local, the young and the new’. “It promises once again to be a festival that truly delivers something for everyone!”

Cllr Justine Rutland, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Liberal Democrat councillor for Culverden ward, added: “I am so pleased that the Tunbridge Wells Literary Festival is back for the third year in a row – and that it appears to be firmly establishing itself as part of the lively local festival scene. It’s wonderful to be bringing together thousands of people to celebrate books, right on our doorstep. I am grateful to the TWBC and our sponsors for helping create another brilliant programme that I hope people of all ages from across the Borough and beyond will enjoy.”

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