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Gyles Brandreth to headline Maidstone’s literary festival LitFest

Writer, broadcaster and former MP Gyles Brandreth has been announced as the leading author at a town’s literary festival.

Mr Brandreth will headline the Maidstone LitFest, which runs from October 5 to October 12 this year.

Gyles Brandreth will be the star attraction
Gyles Brandreth will be the star attraction

Mr Brandreth was the Conservative MP for Chester from 1992 to 1997, but is better known for his appearances on Just a Minute on Radio 4, and on TV’s Countdown, Good Morning Britain, Celebrity Gogglebox and a dozen or more other shows.

He is launching his latest book this autumn, entitled Prose and Cons, in which he delves into the peculiarities of the English language.

He will talk about the book when he appears at All Saints Church in Maidstone on Saturday, October 12.

The Maidstone LitFest, run by the borough council, is now in its second year,

The council’s cabinet member for community cohesion, Cllr David Naghi, said: “We are extremely proud to be bringing this event back to the town centre as part of our arts and culture offering.

“Last year’s event was a strong start for a new literary festival, but this year is looking even better and we cannot wait to welcome even more people and as many different audiences to Maidstone so that they can enjoy all the LitFest has to offer.”

All Saints Church will be the setting for his visit
All Saints Church will be the setting for his visit

Other guests lined up include authors Maria McErlane, Gill Hornby, Tim Weaver and Mark Billingham.

There will be a special event featuring the Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate, Joseph Coelho.

The festival’s co-director, Jodi Eeles, said: “We have been keeping our fingers crossed for weeks in the hope that Gyles Brandreth could join the line-up.

“We are all big fans and know that he is such a popular character.

“We are so pleased he has chosen Maidstone LitFest as part of his book tour.

“We want to make him truly welcome to our town and give him something to remember us by.

Mr Brandreth is known for his snazzy jumpers
Mr Brandreth is known for his snazzy jumpers

“Maybe one of his signature jumpers that expresses the creativity in the town!

“And if there are any yarn-bombers or knitters who want to dedicate a post box to him – we’d love to have some fun for his visit!”

The LitFest is being backed with £20,000 from the government’s Shared Prosperity Fund.

Mr Brandreth is Chancellor of the University of Chester.

His many books include the poetry anthology, Dancing by the Light of the Moon, and the international best-seller about spelling and punctuation, Have you eaten Grandma?

Earlier this year, Mr Brandreth revealed that he felt responsible for the death of Sheppey-born comedian and ventriloquist Rod Hull.

He explained that he had encouraged Mr Hull to climb onto his roof to adjust his TV aerial after complaining of a poor reception. Mr Hull subsequently fell to his death.

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