Cheltenham Literature Festival

I’ve been living in Cheltenham now for just under a month, and this week is one of the longest running festivals of its kind in the world – the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

Normally at this time of year I hear bits of interviews with some of the big names attending the festival whilst listening to the coverage on my local radio staton: BBC Radio Gloucestershire.

But this year the event takes place right on my doorstep. Lots of tents have been set up at Montpelier Gardens and Imperial Square, both of which I walk past on my journey to university each morning.

As Wednesday is one of my days off – a day no lectures – I couldn’t resist booking myself on to one or two of the events. Let’s face it: to attend any event sponsored by the Times newspaper and which has a tent labelled ‘Writers Room’ is going to make you look intelligent, even if you aren’t.

Browsing the website well before 7:00 this morning, two events in particular caught my eye.

Firstly, Peter Sissons – former journalist for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. He was going to be doing a talk in the evening entitled: ‘My Life In News. As I write, this event starts in just over an hour – I’m quite looking forward to that.

I also saw that Sir Ranulph Fiennes (who, incidentally, I am listening to on BBC Radio Gloucestershire as I write this) would be doing a talk in the afternoon about his new book: ‘My Heroes: Extraordinary Coverage, Exceptional People’. I saw that after lunch this afternoon, and it was really interesting. He spoke about why he chose as his heroes the people he did.

Polar survivor; policeman; Gestapo- tortured woman; MI5 double agent; fire-fighter. These are among the twelve ordinary people who are heroes for legendary explorer, Ranulph Fiennes, and the subjects of his book, My Heroes: Extraordinary Courage, Exceptional People. In this inspiring illustrated talk, he reveals what their extraordinary actions have taught him.

If you’re not able to get to the festival itself, do make sure you tune in to the BBC’s radio coverage – they’re broadcasting live from the event each weekday from 14:30 to 17:00 and live now as part of the Evening Show on BBC Radio Bristol/Somerset/Glos/Wilts.

Last day of the week tomorrow before I head home for the weekend on Friday morning. Don’t forget to tune in to my show on Tone Radio from 20:00 every Thursday evening, and follow me on

Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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