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Folkestone Book Festival line-up revealed including Vince Cable, Sandra Howard, Peter Snow and Tracy Chevalier

By Angela Cole

Book in for some literary healing, as the Folkestone Book Festival unveils its programme for this autumn, featuring everything from humour to history and drama to discovery. 


Organisers of this year’s Folkestone Book Festival hope their line-up this year will beat the winter blues and concentrate on the positive.

The festival in November, which is a highlight of the literary calendar in the county, invites people to come and listen to those who believe in the possibility of change and beating the odds.

Sandra Howard will be at the Folkestone Book Festival

Sandra Howard will be at the Folkestone Book Festival

In the packed programme, which runs from Friday, November 17 to Sunday, November 26, politics mixes with wellbeing, and gripping drama sits alongside history and cookery.

Curator, Geraldine D’Amico, said: “Come and meet old friends, make new ones, engage in thought-provoking discussions, open a parenthesis in your everyday life to look at things from a different perspective. This is a tailor-made festival for the great people of a town which keeps reinventing itself and celebrating creativity.

Wife of former Folkestone and Hythe MP Michael Howard, and also Baroness of Lympne – and former 60s model – Sandra Howard, will be discussing her sixth novel, The Consequences of Love, which is published in September, on Wednesday, November 22, while broadcaster and author Peter Snow and his wife, Ann MacMillan, the granddaughter of David Lloyd George, who worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, will be talking about War Stories: Gripping tales of courage, cunning and compassion, on Saturday, November 18.

Folkestone's Creative Quarter. Picture Visit Kent

Folkestone's Creative Quarter. Picture: Visit Kent

Recently announced leader of the Liberal Democrats and former UK business secretary Vince Cable talks about his debut novel, a gripping international political drama, Open Arms, and is set in Whitehall and the slums of Mumbai. He will be in conversation about it on Sunday, November 19 at 3pm.

Journalist and political columnist Steve Richards, will be back to discuss the rise and rise of political outsiders on Saturday, November 18.

Comedian and writer Francesca Martinez, who has mild cerebral palsy, will be discussing What The *** Is Normal?! on Saturday, November 18 at 6pm while Juno Dawson, author of six novels for young adults, will be talking about her adult memoir, The Gender Games, in The problem with men and women, from someone who has been both, on Saturday, November 25 at 1.30pm.

Vince Cable will be appearing at the Folkestone Book Festival this year Picture Martin Apps

Vince Cable will be appearing at the Folkestone Book Festival this year Picture: Martin Apps

And comedian and writer Miles Jupp and food writer Damien Trench will be in conversation with Andy Miller about their careers and what they have – or haven’t – in common on Saturday, November 25 at 7.30pm.

Tracy Chevalier, author of the Girl with the Pearl Earring, will be launching the book festival with a Christmas lights switch-on

Tracy Chevalier, author of the Girl with the Pearl Earring, will be launching the book festival with a Christmas lights switch-on

There are also political talks, workshops, children’s events, such as Let’s go on a big adventure on Saturday, November 25 and discussions on wellbeing, gardening, cookery and therapy, and, on the centenary of the Russian revolution, there will also be a day devoted to Russian history and literature, which concludes the festival, including former Chatham Grammar School for Girls pupil Helen Rappaport, who is a passionate Victorianist and Russianist, and author of 14 books, will be evoke the contrasting world of the end of the Romanov dynasty and the beginning of the revolution.



Summer may be in full flow, but let’s talk about Christmas...

The festival also heralds the start of Christmas festivities in the Creative Quarter.
Author Tracy Chevalier, who will be talking to Claire Armitstead about her career and themes she has mined for it, including the bestseller Girl With a Pearl Earring, will be performing the switch-on, alongside carol singing, and live music. The event happens at the top of the Old High Street on Friday, November 17 at 5.30pm.



Folkestone Book Festival runs from Friday, November 17 to Sunday, November 26.
Early bird tickets are available until Sunday, September 10.

A festival pass costs £100, rising to £120 after the early bird rate, which gives unlimited access to all events, although seats still need to be booked. A weekend day ticket costs £35, although these are not available during the early bird period.

For details of the full programme and to book tickets, call 01303 760750 or go to folkestonebookfest.com

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