The Gladfest team reveal their unmissable festival events!

The Gladfest team reveal their unmissable festival events!

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We’ve had feedback in the past that GladLib guests really trust and rely upon the recommendations of our team – year on year people book festival tickets and accommodation before line ups have even been revealed!

So, with just one week until Gladfest commences (7th – 9th September) we’ve rounded up a selection of recommendations for unmissable events from the Gladfest team! Put your faith in us and you could discover your new favourite writer…

Louisa Yates, Director of Collections and Research

I wish I could get tickets for Lucy Mangan [SOLD OUT]. Her book speaks to the childhood reading of every Gladfester, and I’m very envious of those who will be there!

My top ticket tips are for Simon Grennan, Penny Boxall, and Michèle Roberts. There’s only a few tickets left for all of them, and I think those who miss out will wish they hadn’t. Michèle is one of Britain’s finest writers, with a rich body of work just waiting for anyone who hasn’t yet had the pleasure. Penny Boxall is a brilliant poet, one you’ll want to say you heard first. And as for Simon Grennan – he was the sleeper-hit of Gladfest 2015, with the lucky attendees raving about his ability to make any subject engaging. What’s a festival for if not for discovering something new?

Annette Lewis, Development Manager

I love mooching round bookshops and a particular joy of recent years has been spotting the books of so many Gladfest authors – often on prominent displays. This year is no exception and I’ve even seen a huge poster for Joanna Cannon’s [SOLD OUT] Three Things About Elsie on the London Underground. Joanna’s talk is sold out but there is another event on this year’s programme which I would urge you not to miss – 'The Day That Went Missing' with Richard Beard. If this was a novel, it would sound like a good, albeit sad, story but this is real life and an almost unbelievable account of a terrible family tragedy.

Peter Francis, Warden

What I am looking forward to at Gladfest?

Here are five sessions that I would wholeheartedly recommend and for which there are still tickets available:

Of all the books that have been published about the suffragettes this year, Diane Atkinson’s Rise Up, Women! seems to me to be the most comprehensive, interesting and inspiring. She has a great reputation as a speaker too.

William Golding’s Lord of The Flies was the book that resonated the most with me during my adolescence. It remains a devastating parable about human nature and leadership. Last year, Theatr Clwyd’s presentation got to the heart of Uncle Vanya, the play they were rehearsing, and gave a vivid insight into the role of a director and actor. I can’t wait for them to lift the curtain and share insights on their all-woman take on Lord of the Flies.

I thought Melissa Harrison’s historical and pastoral novel All Among the Barley was fantastic and like all good historical novels strongly resonates with our contemporary world - politics, nature, and feminism. It is her third novel and all have achieved great critical acclaim. Wonderful.

The book Reasonable Radical? reviews Martyn Percy’s career. He is a theological polymath, totally engaged in the great ethical, theological and spiritual questions of the day. He is arguably the leading open and liberal voice in British Christianity today. As I interview him, I will try to get to the heart of what he writes. You can rest assured there will be no theological jargon! Who could resist the only real-life clergyperson who is mentioned in the Da Vinci Code? Dan Brown wrote, ‘Everything you need to know about the Bible can be summed up by the great canon doctor Martyn Percy: “The Bible did not arrive by fax from heaven.”’

Richard Beard’s The Day That Went Missing is an honest and utterly compelling memoir of his brother’s death by drowning. An extremely brave book that I simply couldn’t put down – a fascinating encounter with the silent grief of a family that is immensely moving.

It seems unfair to be allowed to choose only five!

Amy Sumner, Marketing Manager

My two picks are the sessions from Penny Boxall and Malachy Tallack who I have been lucky enough to hear speak at the Library on several previous occasions. I admit now to having read neither of their new books yet, however Penny’s words at her 2017 Writers in Residence event made me laugh and reflect in equal measure, and you could have heard a pin drop in the room for Malachy’s Hearth session in February 2017. In both cases the command of language extends from the printed word to captivating a room full of people. Unfortunately I’ll be missing both this year as I’ll be working in another part of the festival so I implore you to go and see them in my place!

Gladfest tickets are still available - click here to view the full line up! Book online, call 01244 532350 or email