we are delighted to announce our first set of headline events for this year’s Festival, led by Booker-winning novelist and Stroud Book Festival patron, Ian McEwan, along with much-loved and mega-selling children’s author, Julia Donaldson.

We are honoured to be welcoming renowned nature writer Richard Mabey to Stroud, along with poet and PEN Pinter award winner Lemn Sissay, actress, comedian and TV regular Katy Brand, and award-winning comic novelist Nina Stibbe who’ll be in conversation with our own Sue Limb. And at Stroud Library, Kerry Hudson and Zeba Talkhani will be discussing their coming-of-age memoirs about finding their own paths in life.

We’re also delighted to be hosting heroic war surgeon David Nott, and Kamal Ahmed, Editorial Director of BBC News, both of whom will be talking about their recent acclaimed memoirs. And Dave Goulson, award-winning nature writer and founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust will be explaining why promoting biodiversity can start in our own back gardens.

Cambridge politics professor and Talking Politics podcaster David Runciman and Molly Scott-Cato MEP will join us for a Democracy Debate that is as topical as we can make it. And Rob Hopkins, co-founder of Transition Network and one of “Britain’s 50 New Radicals” will be sharing his ideas on how to create rapid and dramatic change for the better.

For lovers of fiction, award-winning author Max Porter will present an immersive and spine-tingling reading of his extraordinary novel “Lanny”, whilst our Faber Fiction Fiesta will celebrate both famous publisher Faber‘s 90th birthday and the latest fiction talent with Bev Thomas, Kate Hamer and Ingrid Persaud.  And Polly Clark will be discussing her remarkable novel about Siberian tigers with Annalena McAfee.

We’ll also be celebrating the 25th published novel by Stroud’s own Katie Fforde with a very special event featuring some of her favourite recent books and authors.

For foodies, we are delighted to welcome the culinary talents of Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, authors of BOSH!, the bestselling plant-based cookbook ever. And award-winning food writer Bee Wilson will be in conversation with Stroud’s own foodie author, Matthew Fort about her book “How We Eat Now”.

Stroud has a rich textile history, so it seems only fitting that we are welcoming Kassia St Clair to this year’s festival. “The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History” was a  BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, a Sunday Times Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the Somerset Maugham Award. 

For children we present the star of everyone’s favourite circus Nell Gifford, along with perennial Stroud favorites John Dougherty, Andy Seed, Tracey Corderoy and Tom Percival. Author Neal Layton will be encouraging young children to get recycling in an interactive event on sustainability. And for budding artists, animators and entertainers, we are offering two animation workshops with the world-famous Aardman studios!

Our Schools Day for Stroud primary schools on Thursday 7th November brings in four brilliant and inspiring authors in Joe Coelho, Onjali Q Rauf, Atinuke and Chris Edge. 

For the third year running Stroud Book Festival will play host to an event with the ever-popular Stroud Short Stories, as well as staging an array of other events on subjects as diverse as textiles and crime fiction.

Of this year’s programme Stroud Book Festival Director Paul McLaughlin comments:  

‘We couldn’t be more excited about this line-up, which really does promise something for everyone. We are also delighted that many of our sponsors are continuing to support us again this year: we couldn’t stage the Festival without the generosity of local businesses and individuals. And of course, a huge thank you to the fabulous authors coming to Stroud in the autumn to help us all celebrate the creativity and vibrancy of our town.’

Photo credit: Luke Coleman