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Feb 13, 2019

Major speakers for Guernsey Literary Festival

Writer, actor and comedian Adam Kay, whose book This is going to Hurt was a Sunday Times number one best seller, is one of main speakers already signed up for this year’s Guernsey Literary Festival, the seventh, which will be held from 1-6 May.

Among the other major speakers are author Matt Haig, novelist Lionel Shriver and poet and campaigner Lemn Sissay.  Details of more speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Adam Kay’s book This is Going to Hurt was his first – and it was an instant Sunday Times number one best seller. It also won Book of the Year and the Specsavers National Book Awards.

This is Going to Hurt is a hilarious, at times horrifying and heart-rending diary of Kay’s former career as a hospital doctor, working 97-hour weeks and making life or death decisions. He has written scripts for a number of comedy shows, including Mitchell and WebbCrims and Mrs Brown’s Boys. Adam’s talk is sponsored by OSA Recruitment.

Bestselling author Matt Haig will be talking about his book Notes on a Nervous Planet that tackles the questions that so often plague our thoughts: how can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad? How do we stay human in a technological world? Don’t miss this positive and honest discussion about the modern world and how best to navigate it.  

Matt will also be hosting a family event on his book The Truth Pixie, a hilarious and heart-warming story for younger readers, illustrated by Chris Mould. It’s an enchanting and ultimately uplifting story about acceptance and learning to love yourself. Both events are sponsored by The International Stock Exchange and supported by Guernsey Mind.

Lemn Sissay MBE is a poet with a fascinating, and sometimes difficult, past, renowned for his strong, lyrical poems on social and family themes. Lemn was official poet of the 2012 London Olympics and the 2015 FA Cup and is Chancellor of the University of Manchester.

His appearance on Desert Island Discs, speaking about his experiences of emotional andracial abuse in the UK care system and his search for his Ethiopian birth mother, is one of the most moving in the programme’s history. A tremendously powerful speaker, he shines a light on the traumas of a very different life – and points at changes that need to be made in the care system.

Lionel Shriver, whose novel We Need to Talk About Kevin propelled her to national and international fame – the book has since been made into a major feature film – will centre her talk on her latest book, a collection of short stories, Property, published at the end of last year and already acclaimed as a ‘phenomenal collection’.

Past Guernsey Literary Festivals have featured television and radio presenters who have written books, and this year two more have been booked to speak, Libby Purves and Lucy Siegle. 

In her talk On and Off the Air, Libby Purves OBE will speak about her career as a writer, theatre critic and broadcaster. She presented BBC Radio 4’s Midweek for 33 years and is a Times columnist as well as the author of 12 novels and books on subjects as diverse as sailing, childcare and family life.In her event, Libby will talk about her long career in radio as well as her writing. This event is sponsored by Browns Advocates.

Lucy Siegle is an environmental campaigner who is a regular on BBC TV’s The One Show and columnist for the Observer and the Guardian. Lucy offers a unique and beguiling perspective on environmental issues and ethical consumerism. Her latest book, Turning the Tide on Plastic, provides a powerful call to arms to end the plastic pandemic along with the tools we need to make decisive change. It is a clear-eyed, authoritative and accessible guide to help us to take decisive and effective personal action. And recycling is a subject never far from the news in Guernsey. This talk is sponsored by PraxisIFM.

Venture Quest Productions have secret plans for their new interactive family tea party event, inspired by Roald Dahl's The Enormous Crocodile. Storyteller John Kirk is thrilled to be returning to the Festival to join VQP for a special performance of the tale with kind permission of the Roald Dahl Company. This event is sponsored by Specsavers.

The Festival, which is organised by a team of volunteers, is based in venues around St Peter Port, including St James, the Festival Hub in Market Street and the Guille Alles Library. Most income comes from ticket sales, although it relies heavily also on sponsorship, which this year comes from a number of private organisations and the Guernsey Arts Commission.

The Festival is run by a team of volunteers and includes a full education and community programme as well as a series of workshops, an international poetry competition and a writing competition for schoolchildren.

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