Bigger, better and more diversity for Marlborough’s next Litfest

Written by Gerald Isaaman on .

Michael HolroydMichael HolroydMichael Holroyd, appearing at the Marlborough Literary Festival

An emphasis on quality of every variety. That is the one consistent ingredient for Marlborough’s next literary festival, in the wake of the festival highly successful debut last year, writes Ben Budd.

When local bestselling author Mavis Cheek, the festival chairperson, conceived the festival it was in response to the prevailing celebrity-obsession that proliferated most events, often at the expense of the writing.
Marlborough Litfest is a huge success precisely because it refuses to conform to this template.
Some of the quality on offer this year…


Deborah Moggach wrote the screenplay for the BAFTA awarded Pride and Prejudice. As well as writing 15 novels, she’s masterminded  numerous screenplays for film and television including Anne Fine’s Goggle Eyes, Nancy Mitford’s Love in A Cold Climate and adaptations of her own bestselling books such as Porky and Tulip Fever.

Novelist of the next decade?

For each of the past four decades Granta and The BBC’s Culture Show have predicted the debut novelists who would go on to become our pre-eminent writers. Past selections have included the likes of Martin Amis, Kazuo Ishiguro and Julian Barnes. We’re delighted to welcome Evie Wyld, nominee from the recent list of the twelve to watch for the future, to speak about her new novel.

Youth and overseas cultures

Kerry Young is of Chinese-African parentage and is well known for her writing on youth including The Art of Youth Work, which has become a standard text in its field. Kerry’s first novel is the start of a trilogy influenced by her own childhood and explores aspects of race, class, love and philosophy on the mean streets of Kingston, Jamaica at the end of British rule.


David Edgar is one of the most prolific and important post-60s UK dramatists having written over sixty performed and published works since his first full length effort aged nine! A long association with the RSC included his Life and Times of Nicholas Nickleby, directed by Trevor Nunn. Always inspired by the idealist spirit of the late 60’s, some if his most acclaimed and awarded works include Destiny and Maydays.
This is merely a soupcon of the talent and variety on offer this year.

There’s also Michael Holroyd, Anne Sebba, bestselling children’s writer Lauren Child and many others.  Topics including history, crime, Shakespeare, Orwell and ghost-writing take place at venues ranging from Marlborough College and the Theatre on The Hill to William Golding’s House.

As well as listening to authors, the four-day festival offers many chances to participate in workshops, poetry cafés and competitions.

That’s only a taster and we’ll bring you further updates as September -- the festival weekend runs from 22 to 25 September -- approaches. You can also find out more by visiting