Chipping Norton Literary Festival is back with a feast of fiction

Town’s celebration of books will run from 21-24 April

Prize-winning authors, well-known novelists and familiar faces from broadcasting are all set to take part in Chipping Norton Literary Festival in April.

Douglas Stuart, whose novel Shuggie Bain won the 2020 Booker Prize, will be making the Cotswold town one of his few UK dates on his author tour with his next hotly-anticipated book, Young Mungo.

Other distinguished novelists include Louis de Bernières, author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin; Monica Ali with her first book in a decade, Love Marriage; Tessa Hadley (Free Love), and Costa Novel winner Claire Fuller (Unsettled Ground). Fast Show star and comedy writer Charlie Higson will present his first thriller for adults in 25 years. International correspondent Lyse Doucet hopes to join a discussion about a project close to her heart, a collection of short fiction by Afghan women. The festival’s track record of picking debut authors who go on to great things has already been justified by Susan Stokes-Chapman, one of this year’s New Voices, whose first novel Pandora shot straight to No 1 on the Sunday Times bestseller list in February.

Non-fiction joy

There’s plenty for lovers of non-fiction, too, with BBC Today presenter Justin Webb talking about his biography The Gift of a Radio, science journalist Jim Al-Khalili describing The Joy of Science and Clover Stroud with her grief memoir about her beloved late sister, Nell Gifford.

Family fun

On the Saturday morning, the Wimpy Kid Show brings a new type of interactive entertainment to the theatre, with quizzes and challenges for all fans of this phenomenal series. TV historian Dominic Sandbrook will be launching his new range of history books for children, adding to a varied children’s festival packed with storytelling and illustrations.

Birds and bees

ChipLitFest is as strong as ever on nature writing, with guests including Dave Goulson, whose Silent Earth ponders the decline of insect species, Charlie Corbett with 12 Birds to Save Your Life and Hannah Bourne-Taylor’s Fledgling. Visitors can attend a dazzling range of other events with expert writers on art, music, the workplace, mental health, prison, disasters, and comedy.

“We are especially proud of our fiction line-up this year,” says Festival director Jenny Dee. “But as always, there’s something for everyone. We’ve actually got Everything under the Sun, a children’s book by real QI elf Molly Oldfield.

Join in

Interactive sessions include a cookery slot, and six writers’ workshops, one offering a chance to learn from Mick Herron, the author of the hugely popular Slough House spy novels.

Chipping Norton Literary Festival runs from 21-24 April. All events take place in venues around the town, including the Theatre. Tickets for main events start at £7.00 (children’s £2.50).

Tickets on sale 7 March at or 01608 642350