Chipping Norton Literary Festival (ChipLitFest) is celebrating its tenth year with a dazzling line-up of authors, children’s events and writers’ workshops. This year it runs from 27 to 30 April 2023.
David Baddiel is headlining events at the town’s Theatre with his new perspective on atheism, The God Desire. Also appearing at the Theatre over the weekend will be BBC journalist Ed Stourton, Countryfile presenter Adam Henson, top journalists Marina Hyde and Sebastian Payne talking about the recent extraordinary years in UK politics, and art expert and raconteur Will Gompertz.
As ever, there is something for everyone. If history is your thing, then you will be drawn to Simon Sebag Montefiore (The World, a Family History) and BBC favourite Greg Jenner with his family event You Are History, and you’ll want to hear Mensun Bound’s vivid account of the search for Shackleton’s boat Endeavour.
Nature lovers will enjoy meeting Richard Smyth, who has written about finding wild things with his kids, Lev Parikian, who is celebrating the miracle of flight, or attending Nicola Chester’s Wild Writing workshop.
Fiction lovers can relax with Mike Gayle and Milly Johnson – who has sold millions of books of her romantic fiction worldwide – explore dysfunctional families with award-winning novelists Charlotte Mendelson and Meg Rosoff, peer into dystopian fiction with Costa Prize winner Clare Fuller and Katherine Bradley, and meet the best-selling authors of the future in the festival’s regular New Voices slot.
There’s a special appearance by Clare Mackintosh, the festival’s original founder and now best-selling crime novelist, introducing her new series set in Wales.
As always, there is an eclectic mix of talks to stimulate our minds in myriad directions, from alternative funeral director Ru Callender to engineer Roma Agrawal, rock star photographer Chris Floyd, gardening-in-pots expert Harriet Rycroft and food historian Pen Vogler. And festival-goers can explore their emotional depths with talks on grief, the demonisation of middle-aged women, sleep, and diagnoses.
“It’s wonderful to be celebrating our tenth-ever ChipLitFest,” says Jenny Dee, festival director. “It doesn’t get any easier to organise a festival, but we are so heartened that authors continue to love coming to Chippy and taking part.
“We’re now well-established on the literary festival scene and continue to punch above our weight with the range and reach of the writers we can attract. It’s going to be a very special year for us and our audiences. We are so grateful for their support and know they will enjoy being part of our celebrations.
“All of it helps us carry on with the outreach work we do throughout the year, bringing authors into schools in the area and helping children learn to love books.”
Children’s book fun: The children’s festival, as usual, promises lots of participation and fun. It will feature favourites such as storyteller Lucy Walters, illustrator Yuval Zommer, Varjak Paw writer SF Said and author Lissa Evans.
Writers workshops: If you want to write, too, there’s a range of writers’ workshops covering getting started, finding your voice, and working with a literary agent. And there is a chance to pitch your ideas to a literary agent in one-to-one sessions held at the Fox pub on Friday and Saturday.
The ChipLitFest 2023 runs from 27 to 30 April 2023. Tickets will go on sale from 13 March. Priority booking for Festival Friends opens on Monday, 06 March.
Tickets for ChipLitFest 2023 are available from chiplitfest.com and the Theatre Box Office, 01608 642350