Monday, 19 January 2015

Bath Literature Festival

Returning for its twentieth year, the Bath Literature Festival is rolling back into town from February 27 to March 8. And for the second year running, the artistic director is the multi-talented Viv Groskop (who is not only a whizz at programming arts festivals, but is also a stand-up comedian, a broadcaster and a fab journalist). Here are some of our highlights from the packed programme, but I urge you to visit the website and check out the full programme for yourselves. Be warned, lots of events sell out early so don’t wait too long! 

With a cast including What The Frock! favourite Rachel Parris, as well as comedy talents such as Cariad Lloyd and Andrew Hunter, the brilliant Austentatious is an improvised Jane Austen novel - and it is always hilarious. Every show is different and is inspired by the title of a lost Austen novel suggested by the audience. There’s a good reason why this show sold out in seconds (well, almost seconds!) last year when it came to the Bath Lit Fest. Book your ticket for this now while you still can. 

Hosted by Viv Groskop (a favourite with What The Frock! audiences), the festival’s comedy night is headlined by the mighty Helen Lederer (Absolutely Fabulous, Bottom, The Young Ones) who first made her name during the infamous Alternative Comedy era of the early 1980s. Joining Viv and Helen will be Cariad Lloyd (Toast of London, Vodka Diaries, Austentatious) and Gerry Howell (whom The Guardian describes as being a young Eddie Izzard). 

BBC Radio 4 presenter Anita Anand has struck gold with her newly published biography of the enigmatic Princess Sophia: an exiled Sikh princess who became an unlikely icon of the suffragette movement at the turn of the last century. 

Aristocrat, literary celebrity, devoted wife, lesbian, recluse … Vita Sackville-West remains a controversial figure. Best-selling historical biographer Matthew Dennison follows up his sold-out lecture on Queen Victoria last year with his latest work: a dazzling insight into the closed world of an extraordinary woman.

Old shopfronts and ghost signs give an insight into a forgotten world, and Bath is one of the best places in the country to see them. Join Andrew Swift and Kirsten Elliott on a walk through the city’s streets and byways to discover the rich legacy of long-lost businesses. 

Olivier Award-winner Celia Imrie has been described as “one of the greatest British actresses of recent decades.” The star of Acorn Antiques, Calendar Girls, Bridget Jones’ Diary and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel discusses her debut novel, Not Quite Nice, about a woman forced into early retirement, who sells up and moves to Bellevue-sur-Mer, just outside Nice. 

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