Feb 07, 2024

Headline names for Literary Festival

Media personalities Louise Minchin and Sarah Beeny, sports stars and commentators Mike Brearley and Pat Nevin, best-selling novelists Louis de Bernières and John Boyne, celebrated chef Michel Roux and journalist Bryony Gordon are among the speakers signed up for this year’s Guernsey Literary Festival.

Each will talk about their recent books during the Festival, one of the Channel Islands’ biggest annual arts events, which this year runs from 23 April to 5 May.

They will be among a host of writers and speakers, mostly from the UK and Channel Islands, taking part in the 2024 Festival, which will be based at a number of local venues including St James, Les Cotils, the Guille Allès Library, The Old Government House Hotel and St Pierre Park Hotel.

Full details of all events will be released soon and tickets will go on sale to the public on 24 February 2024 but Guernsey Literary Festival members will be able to book from Monday 19 February. Details of how to apply for membership are on the Festival’s website guernseyliteraryfestival.com.

Festival Director Claire Allen says that ‘this year’s programme includes some of the most inspirational and creative thinkers from the worlds of literature, poetry, business, politics, stage and screen, food and drink, sport and history, amongst many others.’

‘Also look out for our family events, schools programme and writing competition for school children, bringing literature, books and writing to people of all interests and ages. There are also a number of writing and poetry workshops, an international poetry competition and outreach events in the prison and care homes.’

Michel Roux, celebrated chef and author of numerous award-winning cookbooks, will help his audience discover the joy of cooking simple and delicious French meals at home, sharing the mouth-watering everyday recipes he enjoys cooking and eating with his family and friends, including hearty breakfasts, quick lunches, simple suppers and weekend feasts. His events at St James and the OGH Hotel are sponsored by Rawlinson & Hunter.

Louise Minchin will talk about her book Fearless - Adventures with Extraordinary Women. Having worked on BBC breakfast for over 20 years, Louise noticed something: all the adventurers she interviewed were men. Driven to bring more attention to female stories of courage and endeavour, Louise pushed herself to the extreme and embarked on thrilling endurance adventures around the globe with trailblazing women. In her extraordinary journey, Louise reminds us of the bravery inside us all, and how essential it is to celebrate women's achievements. Her event at St James is sponsored by Investec.

From renovating her very first flat to restoring a stately home, Sarah Beeny has never been afraid of hard work to turn a house into a home. In The Simple Life, she tells the story of her life, sharing stories and experiences in everything from parenting and work/life balance, friendships, nature and the environment, to her cancer diagnosis and treatment, discovering that sometimes life is not so 'simple'.

Mike Brearley’s book Turning Over the Pebbles: A Life in Cricket and in the Mind, is a thoughtful and erudite book seamlessly blending all aspects of his life into a single integrated narrative. With wide-ranging meditations on sport, philosophy, literature, religion, leadership, psychoanalysis and music, he delves into his private passions and candidly examines the various shifts, conflicts and triumphs of his extraordinary life and career, both on and off the field. His event is sponsored by BWCI.

Footballer Pat Nevin’s brilliant memoir Football and How to Survive it will take his audience on a journey to the less glamorous side of football. After a playing career at the very top level, an unprecedented twist of fate finds him both player and Chief Executive of Scottish Premiership club Motherwell. What follows is an entertaining and revealing tale of the side of football that you rarely see as Pat tries to keep the lid on simmering tensions between owner and the manager. His event is sponsored by Kirkwood Properties.

Bryony Gordon joins us for a event around Mad Woman: How to survive a world that thinks you’re the problem. In this insightful, fearless and brilliantly witty reflection on the eternal quest for a ‘happy life’, she reassesses everything she thought she knew about mental health. What if our notion of what makes us happy is the very thing that’s making us sad?

From burnout and binge eating to menopause, OCD and sobriety, Bryony tackles her personal challenges and demons with her trademark blend of compassion, honesty and humour. Bryony is one of the Telegraph’s best-loved writers, presents the Mad World podcast and founded Mental Health Mates. Her event is sponsored by St Pierre Park Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort.

In a series of four short novels named after the elements, beginning with Water and concluding with Fire and Air, novelist John Boyne, writer of the best-selling The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, focuses on intimately human stories. In the second, Earth, young footballer Evan Keogh leaves his Irish island, finding work as a male escort before becoming a professional footballer.

Louis de Bernières is one of the UK’s leading, best selling novelists. His fourth novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, about a love story set in World War II, has now sold over 4 million copies worldwide, translated into 36 languages and has been made into a Hollywood film starring Nicolas Cage and Penélope Cruz. In his latest book, Light over Liskeard, a quantum cryptographer convinced of civilization's fall embarks on a self-sufficient life in the Cornish countryside.

Festival director Claire Allen is delighted with the way the programme is progressing. ‘My heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in making the Festival a success: our dedicated Festival team and volunteers, our loyal sponsors, partners, patrons, members and our fantastic audiences! We passionately believe in the power of words to broaden horizons, connect communities and inspire change. We hope you enjoy this year’s programme of events!’