LitFest organisers Isobel Abulhoul and Yvette Judge flew into Birmingham yesterday, courtesy of Emirates Airline, to take in as much as possible at the oldest Literary Festival in UK, The Cheltenham Literature Festival. Over the next few days we will feature Isobel's notes from Cheltenham as she checks out this well-established and world famous literary event.
The Cheltenham Literature Festival is held in the heart of the wonderful Spa Town of Cheltenham, famous since Roman times for its health-giving waters. Having hopped off the plane we headed straight to Cheltenham, checked into a beautiful small hotel in a converted Georgian townhouse, we then made our way to the Box Office to collect tickets and attend our first sessions.
I went to the panel discussion on the merits or otherwise of the BBC World Service. It was riveting and reinforced for me the importance of unbiased and trustworthy sources of news and information. John McCarthy was particularly good and full of humour and insight.
I then had a cuppa made with the special spa water before going to see Ben Fogle. Guess who was interviewing him? Fiona Lindsay, well known to Dubai audiences for the workshops she has run at Emirates LitFest the past few years. What a great session it was.
We then met up with friends in the Writers Room and I caught sight of Victoria Pendleton busily signing copies of her biography before her session.We were also introduced to the Festival Director of Cheltenham, and shared notes on our Festivals.
Tired but elated we made our way back to the hotel, skilfully led by Yvette. I had misremembered the name of the road, and thought we were staying in Pentonville, but no it was Pitville.
Over and out and looking forward to a full day of fun and entertainment!