Marlborough LitFest 2018's programme adds Sir Max Hastings, Alan Johnson and motorcyclist Lois Pryce

Written by Tony Millett on .

Sir Max Hastings (Photo: Press Association)Sir Max Hastings (Photo: Press Association)Marlborough LitFest has announced that bestselling military historian Max Hastings, author and ex-MP Alan Johnson, and travel writer Lois Pryce will be joining 2018 Golding Speaker, Rose Tremain, at this year’s ninth Festival to be held over the last weekend in September. 


Acclaimed war and military historian, Max Hastings, spent his early career as a correspondent becoming a long-serving newspaper editor.   He reported on the 1982 Falklands War -an d was the first journalist ton enter Port Stanley.

In his latest book (to be published this September), Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975, he chronicles one of the most devastating international conflicts of the 20th century and tells how its people were affected. 

Hastings spent three years interviewing participants on both sides of the conflict, blending political and military narrative with personal experiences from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, as well as researching American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs. 

He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Honorary Fellow of King's College London.


He was knighted in 2002.

Lois Pryce (Photo: Austin Vince)Lois Pryce (Photo: Austin Vince)After eight years of popular and revealing presentations and question sessions, this year's LitFest will feature its first travel book.  Inspired by a mysterious note left by a stranger on her motorcycle outside the Iranian Embassy asking her to visit his country, journalist and travel writer Lois Pryce embarked on a solo 3,000-mile motorbike ride across Iran in 2013. 

It was at a time when UK-Iran tensions running high. Determined to discover the real, contemporary Iran, she met carpet sellers and drug addicts, war veterans and housewives, doctors and teachers - people living ordinary lives under the rule of an extraordinarily strict Islamic government. 

Revolutionary Ride: On the Road in Search of the Real Iran is Lois’ third book documenting her travels in Iran and was shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Adventure Travel Book of the Year Award.


Lois was named by the Daily Telegraph as one of the ten Great Female Travellers.

Alan Johnson Alan Johnson Ex-MP Alan Johnson’s latest book In My Life: A Music Memoir, is the fourth instalment in his memoirs - it is due to be released on September 20.  It tells the story of his life through the music which has inspired him - from West London in the late 1950s, to working as a postman humming Elvis Costello in the 1970s. 

He vividly evokes a world of jukeboxes, of heartfelt love songs and heart-broken ballads, of smoky coffee bars and dingy dance halls. Johnson held a number of Cabinet positions in both the Blair and Brown governments including a spell as Home Secretary from June 2009 to May 2010.  He retired from politics in 2017. 

His previous memoirs have won the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize (2014), the Orwell Prize and the National Book Award for Best Biography of the Year Author.  The memoir of his childhood - This Boy - caused a senation.

Jan Williamson, Chair of the Marlborough LitFest: “We’re very excited to welcome these three great writers to talk about war, travel and memoir. Together, they reflect the diversity and strength of this year’s programme.”

The 2018 programme will include a variety of speakers throughout the festival weekend, featuring new and young fiction writers as well as established names, children’s authors, workshops and poetry events, as part of the Festival’s intention to bring the best of good writing to Marlborough.

The complete programme will be available in July, when the Box Office opens.