Events for 'the thinking festival-goer'

THERE's plenty to thrill, intrigue and challenge in the corners devoted to matters literary, says Steven Russell.

Steven Russell

IT'S more than just a music festival, runs the Latitude motto, and that's bang on the button. If the tunes get too much, or if you want your festival experience to mirror the variety of a patchwork quilt, there's plenty to thrill, intrigue and challenge in the corners devoted to matters literary.

You won't find Joanna Trollope or anything much similar to the Richard & Judy Book Club, but there is an army of writing types ready to pack a punch. Here's a very, very limited snapshot.

On the heavyweight side, William Fiennes had his first book, The Snow Geese, shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, and won the Somerset Maugham Award. He was Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year in 2003.

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Human rights lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith will speak about his work at Guantanamo Bay, representing victims of extraordinary rendition and torture. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Blake Morrison's most recent novel, South Of The River, has been made into a TV series.

Big names include Vivienne Westwood, la grande dame of fashion, who will read from her manifesto Active Resistance to Propaganda. The collection of essays contains ideas about art and culture that claim to “penetrate to the root of the human predicament and offer the underlying solution”.

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Plenty of literary laughs are promised. Actress, comedian, author and scriptwriter Emma Kennedy, for instance, will read from her book The Tent, Bucket and Me - a 1970s childhood memoir of wet and disastrous family camping trips.

Writer, presenter and comic Mark Steel ponders the big issues hanging over the country in his book What's Going On - such as why supermarkets are killing small town centres.

Comedian Frank Skinner discusses his life and work - as featured in his book Frank Skinner on the Road. It explores his 2007 stand-up comeback, how an act is put together, the terrors and joys of trying to make an audience laugh night after night, and the nature of comedy itself.

You won't be able to move at Henham without tripping over a poet, either.

Essex's Luke Wright, 4Talent award winner, is co-programmer of Latitude's Stand-up Poetry Arena. He's bringing a wealth of bright young things, including Emily Berry, Joe Duggan, Mark Grist, Helen Mort, Steve Rooney and Jack Stannard.

Recently-stood-down Poet Laureate Andrew Motion is back with readings from his recent collection The Cinder Path and a collection of essays, Ways Of Life: On Places, Painters and Poets.

Roger Lloyd, a famous face from Only Fools & Horses and The Vicar of Dibley, joins forces with cellist Melissa Phelps to present TS Eliot's The Waste Land.

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