Literature Festival at Sea.

In partnership with Cheltenham Literature Festival, The Times and The Sunday Times.

14 - 21 November 2021, Queen Mary 2.

This extraordinary Transatlantic Crossing is curated by the programming team from The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, bringing the spirit of the Festival to your voyage.

A line-up of literary greats.

The Literature Festival at Sea offers book lovers an incredible opportunity to join some of the best-loved authors, historians, poets, and critics, as well as journalists fom The Times and The Sunday Times. Confirmed speakers so far include Bernardine Evaristo, Lynda La Plante and Jamie Susskind.

Events to enrich and inspire.

Throughout the week we celebrate the written word in all its variety with workshops, discussions and Q&As, taking in literature, art, film, history and politics, all underpinned by the quality of delivery that is Cheltenham’s hallmark. There will be opportunities to hear literary greats in conversation and meet favourite authors at intimate book signings.

With unmissable special guests and bookish delights around every corner, this promises to be an incredible journey.

Highlights of the 2019 Literature Festival at Sea.

Special 2021 Literature Festival at Sea guests.

Bernardine Evaristo MBE.

British writer Bernardine Evaristo was a joint winner of the Booker Prize 2019 with her book Girl, Woman, Other, making her the first black woman to win the prize in its 51-year history.

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Clare Mackintosh.

Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award-winning author of I Let You Go which, as well as her second and third novels, I See You and Let Me Lie, was a Sunday Times bestseller.

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Jamie Susskind.

Jamie's bestseller Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech, was published in 2018. This work received the Estoril Global Issues Distinguished Book Prize 2019, and several other prizes.

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Yvonne Battle-Felton.

Yvonne is a writer of fiction and creative nonfiction. Her novel Remembered was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and her writing has been published in literary journals and anthologies.

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Mark Billingham.

Mark Billingham is one of the UK’s most acclaimed and popular crime writers. His series of novels featuring DI Tom Thorne has twice won him the Crime Novel of the Year Award.

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Greg Mosse.

Greg is a ‘writer and encourager of writers’. He has worked for many years as editor, dramaturge and script consultant in theatre, film and novels.

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Alexander McCall Smith.

Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world’s most prolific and best-loved authors. He has received numerous awards for his writing and holds honorary doctorates from universities in Europe and North America.

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Alex Clark.

Alex Clark is a journalist and broadcaster, often seen in the pages of the Guardian, the Observer and the Times Literary Supplement, and heard on BBC R4 programmes such as Front Row and Open Book.

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Pam Ayres.

Pam Ayres has been a writer, broadcaster, and entertainer for over 40 years, and is one of the few authors who has had books in the Sunday Times bestseller charts in almost every decade since the 1970s.

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Lynda La Plante CBE.

Lynda trained for the stage before turning to writing. Starting with her work on the successful TV series Widows, she has written and produced over 170 hours of international television.

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Sharmaine Lovegrove.

Sharmaine is the Publisher of Dialogue Books, the UK’s only inclusive imprint. She was the recipient of the Future Book Publishing Person of the Year 2018/19 and is inspired by innovative storytelling.

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Jane Smiley.

Jane Smiley is the author of many novels including Pulitzer Prize-winning A Thousand Acres, and Golden Age, the concluding volume of 'The Last Hundred Years' trilogy.

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Kate Mosse.

Kate Mosse is a number one international bestselling novelist, playwright and non-fiction writer. She is the author of six novels and short story collections including the multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy.

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Alan Johnson.

Alan’s childhood memoir, This Boy, was published by Bantam Press on 9th May 2013. It won the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, and the Orwell Prize, Britain's top political writing award.

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Rachel Parris.

Rachel Parris is a Bafta Award-nominated comedian, musician and improviser. She recently gained global attention for her satirical segments on BBC2's The Mash Report, garnering over 55 million views to date.

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Cheltenham Literature Festival.

The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is the world’s oldest Literature Festival and continues to lead the way in celebrating the written and spoken word.

The Festival presents the best new voices in fiction and poetry alongside literary greats and high-profile speakers, while inspiring over 9,000 school children with a love of books through their year-round education and talent development programmes.

Discover our unique event voyages.