Gladfest, the UK’s friendliest festival, is back.
Tickets for Gladfest 2021, which features talks with writers like Sarah Perry (The Essex Serpent) and Katie Hale (My name is Monster), have gone on sale this week.
This year the festival will be underpinned by both the normal and the new; most of the guest speakers are familiar faces, but Gladfest will be held live online for the first time.
This marks the return of the festival after the hiatus last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The event will run across two days, with talks streamed live between 10.30am and 4.30pm on September 11 and 12.
The decision to go online was prompted by several things; firstly, it ensures the comfort and safety of attendees and, secondly, it allows Gladfest to reach people who otherwise would not normally be able to attend.
Louisa Yates, Director of Collections and Research at the library, said: ‘One of the things that became clear during the pandemic lockdowns was that many of our generous supporters live quite far afield and some may never have set foot in Gladstone’s. Now they can take part in our programmes, too. This will allow us to share our events far further than before.’
In addition to Sarah Perry, author of Essex Girls, and Katie Hale, poet and novelist, speakers include Natasha Pulley, who will talk about her sequel to The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, and Sally Magnusson, who will discuss her historical novel, The Ninth Child.
Professor Ian Bradley will share insights into death and heaven from his book The Quiet Haven, while award-winning writer Francis Spufford will talk about his work on the critically acclaimed Light Perpetual.
The event will also mark the premiere of a filmed talk by writer, broadcaster and cleric Richard Holloway (Stories We Tell Ourselves: Making Meaning in a Meaningless Universe) and an ambient audio piece by award-winning author Melissa Harrison (By Ash, Oak and Thorn) on the subject of attentiveness.
In addition, Peter Francis, Warden of Gladstone's Library, will introduce his memoir entitled The Widening Circle of Us, which tackles issues of inclusion and diversity in education and the church, and looks back on his life, including, of course, his twenty-five years at the library. His book is scheduled to be published by the University of Chester Press.
He said: ‘We are very much looking forward to welcoming people to Gladfest 2021, even though it will take a different form to the events of previous years.
‘Though an online festival will be a first for us, we have asked some of our favourite Gladfest speakers back for this year.’
Each event will last one hour and will take place on Zoom. Tickets for each talk are £5, each sold separately.