Following the success of last year’s inaugural event at Chiddingstone Castle, the organisers are delighted to reveal the line-up for next year’s Literary Festival, taking place during and after the May Bank Holiday weekend Sunday 30 April -Tuesday 2 May 2017.

Announcing a new partnership, next year’s Title Sponsor of the Literary Festival will be Brooks Macdonald, an award winning company that specialises in providing investment management services across the UK and internationally.

Chiddingstone Castle will welcome an impressive selection of authors covering a wide-range of topics. Highlights include Terry Waite, 25 years after his release from solitary imprisonment as a hostage in Beirut, talking about his life then and now, and his thoughts on the current situation in the Middle East. Biographers Artemis Cooper and Adam Sisman will discuss the life and writings of acclaimed travel-writer Patrick Leigh Fermor and Artemis will also talk about her latest biography of Elizabeth Jane Howard. Radio 4 presenter of Saturday Live, Rev. Richard Coles will be sorting the wheat from the chaff in his reflective account of life as a parish priest and broadcaster. Grief psychotherapist Julia Samuel (author of Grief Works) and Imogen Lycett Green, writer and founder of the Narrative Medicine Workshop in Brighton, will be in conversation with Guardian journalist Decca Aitkenhead (author of All at Sea) about the death of her husband and coming to terms with love, loss and the taboo of death.

Educationalist and biographer Anthony Seldon will be in conversation with David Walsh, and presenter of BBC TV’s Coast Nicholas Crane, will present his new book on the making of the British Landscape. Best-selling writer of historical fiction Alison Weir will launch Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession, the latest title in her Six Tudor Queens series and the highly-praised biographer Anne Sebba will shed light on how the women of Paris lived, loved and died in the 1940s. Rachel Kelly will introduce The Happy Kitchen (written with nutritionist Alice Mackintosh); an inspirational range of recipes scientifically proven to boost energy, relieve low mood, provide comfort and keep the blues at bay.  No 1 bestselling author of the Emperor, Conqueror and the Wars of the Roses series Conn Iggulden will talk about his latest novel Dunstan with local historical fiction writer Angus Donald (author of The Outlaw series), about a tenth century Archbishop of Canterbury. Sunday Times journalist Tim Shipman (author of All Out War) and ITN’s Andy Bell will discuss the impact of Brexit and Trump.

For children, there are appearances from prize-winning authors Piers Torday and Lauren St John, poet A F Harrold and local author Christopher Lloyd. There will be a performance of The Ugly Duckling by award-winning theatre company Pericles, along with storytelling shows from Mr Dilly’s World of Wonder and Really Big Pants Theatre Company. The festival is expanding with the addition of a second marquee providing a space for workshops, storytelling, Sock Puppet Theatre and much more.

Events will take place over three days with a special programme for local schools on Tuesday 2 May. There will be vintage food vans, a bar and organic coffee trikes, along with the Castle’s own courtyard tea rooms serving cakes, sandwiches and light lunches.

During the build-up to the event, children are invited to enter a Short Story Competition (two categories: age 7-9 and 10-13).  The winning entries will be read out at the festival on Bank Holiday Monday and winners will receive a signed copy by one of our children’s authors.

Online ticket booking will be available via the Castle website from 1 March with discounts for Early Birds:

Adult tickets are £12 per event; Child (age 3-13) £5 per event.

Children’s events on Bank Holiday Monday only: Child (age 3-13) plus accompanying Adult £10 together; subsequent Child/ren £5 each - all prices per event.

Adult Sunday only Day Pass (admission to all events): £60

Adult Monday only Day Pass (admission to all events): £50

Comic Strip Masterclass (Monday) for children age 7+ (lasts 2.5 hours): £10

All tickets include admission to Chiddingstone Castle and the Collections.

Early Bird Discounted Tickets available from 1 to 15 March only:

Adult ticket as above £10; Child (age 3 - 13) as above £4; Adult Sunday only Day Pass £55; Adult Monday only Day Pass £45

Tickets for the School Events on Tuesday will be £4 per student per event (these are available for purchase directly from the Castle from 1 February 2016).


The full programme of events in 2016 featured authors, poets and performers such as Anthony Beevor, Chris Riddell (Children’s Laureate), Robert Bathurst (Downton Abbey, Cold Feet), Juliet Nicolson (pictured reading from her book ‘A House Full of Daughters’), Janet Ellis, Andrew Lownie, David Lough, Francis Beckett, Sally Gardner, Caroline Lawrence, Nicky Singer, Brian Moses, Imogen Lycett Green, Erin Kelly, Adam Sisman, Sandy Gall, Richard Streatfeild, Christopher Lloyd, Peter Hanington, Tom Hodgkinson, Mihir Bose, Ed Caesar, Philip Womack, Geoffrey Streatfeild, The Pericles Theatre Company and more! .


The whole weekend featured events for all ages - author talks were held in the marquee on the South Lawn and here are some families enjoying the marvellous performance of ‘The Tailor of Gloucester’ by the Pericles Theatre Company in the Orangery.  We are delighted to welcome the Pericles Theatre Company back to our 2017 Festival - this year they will be entertaining us with a performance of ‘The Ugly Duckling’.


The proud winners of the Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival 2016 Short Story Competition!  Seen here with Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell - a surprise treat for all was to have a Chris Riddell orignal personalised illustration for every winner. The competition is running again in 2017 - watch this space for how to enter! There will again be two categories: age 7-9 and 10-13 and he winning entries will be read out at the festival on Bank Holiday Monday.  Winners will receive a signed copy by one of our children’s authors.


Take a look at our Chiddingstone Castle Facebook and Twitter @Chidd_Castle AND our Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival Facebook and Twitter @chiddlitfest for loads more information and pictures.  Better still - why not become our friend?!

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