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Pam Ayres, Clover Stroud, Kamila Shamsie and Benedict Allen added to Marlborough Litfest line-up



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Just announced for the 2022 Marlborough LitFest line-up are Pam Ayres, Clover Stroud, Kamila Shamsie and Benedict Allen, who will join the 2022 Golding Speaker Ali Smith, as well as Patrick Gale, Max Hastings and children’s author Jacqueline Wilson during the festival weekend from 29 September 29 to October 2.

Pam Ayres has been entertaining audiences for more than 40 years as a writer and broadcaster and is the author of several bestselling poetry books, including The Works, Surgically Enhanced, You Made Me Late Again! and The Last Hedgehog. Pam’s autobiography, The Necessary Aptitude, was a bestseller when it was published in 2011. On radio she is a regular on Just a Minute, has had six series of her own Ayres on the Air, and has appeared twice on the legendary Desert Island Discs.

Pam appears at MLF on Saturday, October 1, talking about her new book Who Are You Calling Vermin? as well as performing poems from Pam Ayres on Animals (the UK’s bestselling poetry book of 2021), and from her earlier books. Who Are You Calling Vermin? combines Pam’s sense of humour with her lifelong love of animals and the countryside.

Pam Ayres
Pam Ayres
Clover Stroud credit Paul Clarke (56835330)
Clover Stroud credit Paul Clarke (56835330)
Kamila Shamsie, picture Alex von Tunzelman
Kamila Shamsie, picture Alex von Tunzelman

Clover Stroud joins LitFest on Sunday, October 2 to talk about her latest book, The Red of My Blood. This moving memoir charts Clover's fearless passage through the first year after her sister's death from breast cancer, aged 46, exploring the experience of grief, death and life. The Sunday Times calls it 'A beautiful addition to the literature of loss. It will serve as a lit match, to be passed from one person to the next in the darkest moments.' Clover’s first book, The Wild Other, was shortlisted for The Wainwright Prize. Her critically acclaimed second book, My Wild & Sleepless Nights: A Mother's Story, was rated one of the 'best books of the year, 2020' by the Observer and the Telegraph and the Sunday Times, and was a Sunday Times bestseller.

Award-winning novelist Kamila Shamsie makes a welcome return to Marlborough LitFest on Saturday, October 1 to talk about her latest book Best of Friends. Born in Karachi in 1973, She wrote her first novel while still in college and is regarded as one of Pakistan’s most prolific novelists. Her most recent novel Home Fire won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2018, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017 and shortlisted for the Costa Best Novel Award. Her work has been translated into more than 30 languages. Her new novel Best of Friends traces the story of two friends, Zahra and Maryam, from their teenage years in Karachi in the 1980s to their adult lives in contemporary London. Kamila first appeared at Marlborough LitFest in 2017.

Benedict Allen has been travelling the world for more than 30 years, surviving adversity in some of the world’s most inhospitable and inaccessible terrains, from the Amazon to the Arctic. He has made numerous BBC TV shows and is also the author of 10 books. In his latest, Explorer, he takes stock of his extraordinary career, examining his quest for adventure and reflecting on the lessons to be learned from his expeditions, particularly from the indigenous communities among whom he has lived. Benedict will be appearing at LitFest on Saturday, October 1.

Benedict Allen, picture Martin Hartley
Benedict Allen, picture Martin Hartley
Explorer cover
Explorer cover

The new Friends of Marlborough LitFest scheme is now up and running, giving priority booking in advance of general ticket sales as well as other benefits. The annual subscription is £30 and the deadline for submission of forms and payment for 2022 is Friday, June 24, in order to take advantage of priority booking from July 4 (general booking opens on July 14).

The annual LitFest Love Books competition is open for entries, with prizes of £300 and £100 in each age group category and a deadline of Friday, July 1.

Marlborough LitFest returns for 2022 with a varied programme of literary events for all ages including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and the annual Big Town Read. Already confirmed to this year’s line-up is the 2022 LitFest Golding Speaker, Ali Smith, as well as Patrick Gale, Jacqueline Wilson and Max Hastings. The festival aims to champion new, upcoming writers as well as established names and also encourage a love of reading in children and young people with author talks, competitions and LitFest’s community outreach programme. The full festival programme will be available in late June and general ticket sales will start on July 14, with priority booking for Friends on July 4. For more information, visit www.marlboroughlitfest.org

Highlights from last year’s LitFest can be seen in video produced by local creative video agency, StreamWorks, which was a hybrid live and online event due to Covid restrictions.



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