First Names announced: Mary Portas, Sir Michael Morpurgo, Kate Mosse, Hassan Akkad & more!

First names announced version 2 (1)

We are delighted to announce the first names for Stroud Book Festival 2021!

Back by popular demand, retail guru Mary Portas will be making a bold and persuasive business case for putting people and planet first post-pandemic, as set out in her book “Rebuild: How to Thrive in the New Kindness Economy”.   Sponsoring this event, and our headline sponsor is Bailey Paints Ltd in Thrupp, our generous and loyal supporter for the past five years.

Headlining Stroud Book Festival for children and families is much-loved author and former Children’s Laureate Sir Michael Morpurgo, speaking about the 25th Anniversary edition of “The Butterfly Lion”, which won both the Smarties Prize and the Writers’ Guild Award.

After his sold-out event at the inaugural Stroud Book Festival in 2016, we are honoured to welcome back Hassan Akkad, film maker, photographer, frontline NHS worker and refugee rights activist, to discuss his memoir “Hope Not Fear”.

Fresh from his work with the England football team (as well as Team GB ahead of the Olympic Games, the Command Group of NATO and the South African Cricket Team), Owen Eastwood – one of the world’s most in-demand performance coaches – will join us to talk about his inspiring motivational book, “Belonging: The Ancient Code of Togetherness”.

Acclaimed authors Kate Mosse and Madeleine Bunting will also join us for an illuminating and compassionate discussion about how we care for others, both within families, and as a nation.

Biologist and nature writer Merlin Sheldrake will be talking about his award-winning and best-selling debut “Entangled Life”, a mind-altering adventure through the world of fungi, which shows why this extraordinary lifeform is key to understanding the planet on which we live.

Ian Dunt of Remainiacs fame will make a welcome reappearance to discuss his book, “How to be a Liberal”, in which he charts the story of liberalism, and argues that liberal ideas and values remain our most powerful weapon in “shattering the tiny lies of populists”.

Former Sky TV diplomatic editor, foreign affairs expert and author of the bestselling “Prisoners of Geography”, Tim Marshall will join us to talk about his follow-up – “The Power of Geography’ in which he offers a compelling analysis of ten regions of growing geopolitical importance in terms of shaping our human future.

The Festival programme wouldn’t be complete without Stroud Short Stories, whose 22nd event ‘WILD’ will be held on Sunday 7 November at the Cotswold Playhouse. Submissions open on 7 August and you can find full information here.

We are also delighted to partner once again with the literary development platform Dialect for a writers’ workshop at the Museum in the Park; as well as with Hawthorn Press.

Our Festival Box Office, the Subscription Roooms in Stroud, will open on 1st August: with the first 8 adult events going on sale. We look forward to announcing more names later this summer for our programme of in-person events, with all events on sale in September 2021.

We have a contingency plan in place for social distancing or moving to digital events, should the wider situation require it.


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