Cream of literary talent lined up for Lavenham festival

Sheila Hancock will be at Lavenham Literary Festival

Sheila Hancock will be at Lavenham Literary Festival - Credit: Archant

Popular actress and bestselling non-fiction author Sheila Hancock is to head a stellar literary cast at a festival in west Suffolk next month.

She will discuss her debut novel, Miss Carter’s War, with international award-winning writer Kate Mosse at the Lavenham Literary Festival on November 15.

The encounter is expected to be the highlight of a widely anticipated packed weekend of literary events, which will take place between November 13 and 15 at the village hall.

The Saturday will see Toby Buchan discuss the seminal The Thirty Nine Steps, which was authored by his grandfather John Buchan. Tracy Borman will then talk about her historic book Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII’s Most Faithful Servant.

In addition to her chat with Sheila Hancock, Kate Mosse will also discuss her latest novel The Taxidermist’s Daughter, and Rachel Joyce will focus on her Christmas-connected collection of stories entitled A Snow Garden.

On the Sunday, and following Sheila Hancock’s session, the festival will focus on the world of spies, both fictional and real, when Andrew Lownie discusses Stalin’s Englishman, detailing the life of the outrageous former ‘Cambridge Spy’.

Other highlights over the three days include a talk from John Higgs and a session hosted by Peter Gutteridge. Meanwhile Tom Holland, author of books on Roman autocracy, Roman and Persian power in the Near East and the emergence of Islam, will be the speaker at the literary festival dinner on November 13 at the Swan Hotel, which is the principal supporter of the event.

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Patricia Rockall, chair of the Lavenham Literary Festival, said: “We are delighted and excited that such talented speakers have been attracted to Lavenham.

“The authors that are returning to the festival say it is friendly and fun and a great celebration of books, while we are also looking forward to welcoming some new faces.”

Each session costs £8 with early booking strongly advised. Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds on 01284 769505 or

For more information on the festival, visit