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Sir David Hare, Patron of Hastings LitFest

Sir David Hare, patron of Hastings LitFest.

Hastings Literary Festival unveils 2019 programme

Hastings Literary Festival has announced its programme for 2019, featuring George Orwell’s adopted son Richard Blair, musician and writer Tracey Thorn, TV presenters Alice Roberts and Lucy Cooke, and many local authors among a wide array of literary talent. HOT’s Lauris Morgan-Griffiths spills the beans.

Last year, in its inaugural staging, the three-day festival attracted 1,500 attendees to 32 events. With Hastings LitFest’s ambition to bring together a diverse range of literary voices this year, the festival has swollen to 52 events throughout Hastings and St Leonards. And who knows how many more will attend this year?

Crime writers panel at LitFest 2018

Crime writers panel at LitFest 2018

Sir David Hare, a much respected British post-war playwright, is Hastings Literary Festival’s patron. Sir David, who was born in St Leonards and grew up in Bexhill, says: “Hastings is a natural for a literary festival. In 2018, they got off to a flying start. I confidently expect the second edition in 2019 to be just as warm-hearted and exciting.”

Richard Blair will make a rare appearance to discuss the huge cultural impact of his father George Orwell, whose real name was Eric Blair. Orwell, best known for his novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, also wrote literary criticism, poetry and polemical journalism.

Hastings LitFest Founders Tell All Sam Davey and Marcia Woolf, joint founders and directors of Hastings LitFest, talk about how and why they started the event, the authors, the performers, the team behind this year’s festival and their plans for the future. Saturday 4 May, 3.30pm, Opus Theatre, 24 Cambridge Road, Hastings TN34 1DJ. Admission £5, free to Friends of Opus.

Musician and writer Tracey Thorn, well-known as half of Everything but the Girl, is author of the best-selling Bedsit Disco Queen and more recently Another Planet: A Teenager in Suburbia. Tracey will be in conversation with Hastings writer and actor Wayne Herbert.

TV presenters and best-selling authors Alice Roberts and Lucy Cooke are also taking part in the festival, which launched last year. Alice, who is professor of Public Engagement with Science at the University of Birmingham and has appeared on Time Team, Coast and Digging for Britain, will be talking about “the species that changed the world”. Author and explorer Lucy, who grew up in Sussex, began her career in TV production and is a presenter of the BBC’s Springwatch, will be discussing “the unexpected truth about animals”.

Rianna Walcott at LitFest 2018

Rianna Walcott at LitFest 2018

The Hastings LitFest programme also includes a session by Dr Who writer Simon Guerrier, an author talk by MP Rachel Reeves on her new book Women of Westminster, and an enhanced programme of activities for children.

As well as author talks, Hastings LitFest 2019 will feature panel discussions, workshops for budding authors – including a repeat of last year’s popular ‘meet the agent’ sessions – and a link-up with the new literacy initiative, Get Hastings Reading.


Tickets are on sale online, with details of early bird savings, from April 20.

Hastings LitFest runs from Friday 30 August to Sunday 1 September at venues across Hastings and St Leonards.


Posted 13:13 Friday, Apr 19, 2019 In: Literature

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