JUST THINK OF THIS AS A LITERARY ADVENT CALENDAR… WITH, AS OF TODAY, 33 WINDOWS LEFT TO OPEN!
Even more Top Tips for this year’s Must-Sees
In my second promised list of must-see events for this year’s festival, it all gets very topical and au courant (if I may be oh-so-European for a moment) with speakers guaranteed to add grist to the political gossip mill… But as a safety precaution, there will also be some time given over on Friday, March 23, to reflect on the joys of time spent in the garden.
Wednesday, March 21:
Now here’s a gem: Alan Johnson - The Long Winding Road (a Labour minister in both the Brown and Blair governments) talking about his life and career while reflecting on the future of the Labour Party and trade union movement. As with all things political at the moment, this should prove both revelatory and deliciously raw.
And keeping with this theme, parliamentary sketch writer John Crace - “I Maybot. The Rise and Fall” who so eloquently coined the ‘Maybot’ monicker, will be taking a wry look at Theresa May’s time in Downing Street.
Thursday, March 22:
And is it possible - despite the health benefits - to want to steer away from politics at the moment? Er, no. Robert Peston - “WTF: What have we done? Why did it happen? How do we take back control?” will be giving a personal account of what our rulers have got so badly wrong in the last few years and what we need to do to mend it.
Peston is ITV’s political editor and presenter of Peston on Sunday, while Roger Scruton - “Englishness” will be gloriously philosophical (that is after all his job) as he talks about his vision of Englishness and how it’s threatened by the likes of the European Union, devolution and elitist scorn.
Friday, March 23:
And exhale… Yes, taking a much needed breather from all the political turmoil of recent months, Penelope Lively - “Life in The Garden” will talk about her new book – a series of reflections on gardening, art, literature and life. She’d been shortlisted three times for the Booker prize, winning it in 1987 for Moon Tiger.
And in another nice change of pace, “Mark Price - Workplace Fables” will see the former Waitrose managing director and government minister highlight just a few of the good, bad, inventive and hilariously stupid business practices he’s encountered during a 35-year career.
WHAT A WAY TO GO! - MARCH 25 - 3.19pm
LIKE A WARMING BRANDY ON A COLD NIGHT - MARCH 24 - 4.38pm
GOD THEY WERE SMART - MARCH 24 - 4.08pm
PAINFULLY JOYFUL - MARCH 24 - 11.23am
THE OLDER WOMAN’S BIBLE - MARCH 24 - 9.09am
A GUILTY PLEASURE - MARCH 23 - 3.29pm
DEPRESSING? NOT A BIT OF IT! - MARCH 22 - 5.39pm