Literature Festival at Sea 2022.

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

3 - 10 December 2022, Queen Mary 2.

This extraordinary Transatlantic Crossing, curated by the programming team of The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, will offer book lovers an incredible opportunity to join some of the best-loved authors, historians, poets, and critics, as well as journalists from The Times and The Sunday Times, bringing the spirit of the Festival to your voyage.

A line-up of literary greats.

The seven-day programme of literary events celebrates 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. Hear literary greats in conversation and meet your favourite authors at intimate book signings.

There will be bookish delights around every corner, so join us for what promises to be an incredible journey.

Special guests on board.

Ian Rankin.

Ian Rankin is the worldwide bestselling author of over thirty novels and the creator of John Rebus. His books have been translated into thirty-six languages and have been adapted for radio, stage and screen.

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Charles Cumming.

Charles Cumming's experiences working for the UK's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) led to a successful writing career. His novels have been translated into thirteen languages and won him the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger.

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Mary Beard.

Dame Mary Beard is one of Britain's best-known Classicists. Her written work includes the Wolfson Prize-winning Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town, and she has also worked in television, presenting several TV series such as Meet the Romans.

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Matt Chorley.

Matt Chorley is a Times columnist, and editor of the award-winning Red Box political newsletter and podcast, in which he tries to make sense of what is happening in politics. He joined The Times in 2016.

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Simon Winchester.

Simon Winchester is the bestselling author of The Man Who Loved China, A Crack in the Edge of the World, Krakatoa, The Map That Changed the World, and The Surgeon of Crowthorne (The Professor and the Madman). He was awarded an OBE in 2006.

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Maggie O'Farrell.

Maggie O'Farrell is the award-winning author of the Sunday Times no. 1 bestselling memoir I Am, I Am, I Am, and eight novels. Her works have won the Costa Novel Award (2010) and a Somerset Maugham Award.

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Dharshini David.

A highly experienced broadcaster and economist, Dharshini is a familiar face to BBC News audiences. During her time at the BBC she has covered financial stories, presented for Panorama and became the BBC’s first Global Trade Correspondent in 2020.

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Paddy O'Connell.

Paddy’s hit Sunday show Broadcasting House is the breakfast staple for two million listeners to Radio Four. He reported from New York's Wall street for years, and founded a Royal Marine charity for D Day Veterans with whom he travels to the Normandy beaches each year.

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Sathnam Sanghera.

Sathnam Sanghera's accolades include the PEN Ackerley Prize, Young Journalist of the Year (2002), and Media Commentator of the Year (2015). His third book, Empireland: How Imperialism Shaped Modern Britain, became an instant Sunday Times bestseller on release in 2021.

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Richard Osman.

Richard Osman is a British television producer and presenter on shows including Pointless and Richard Osman’s House of Games. The Thursday Murder Club is his first and, so far, best novel.

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Rachel Johnson.

Rachel Johnson has worked for national newspapers since the age of 23 and has written four novels. Rachel is a co-presenter on Sky News' The Pledge topical debate show and makes frequent appearances on Question Time, Any Questions, Newsnight, Marr and other programmes.

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Damian Barr.

Damian Barr is an award-winning writer, journalist and host of his own infamous Literary Salon. Maggie & Me, published by Bloomsbury, was BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and the Sunday Times made it their Memoir of the Year.

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Mick Herron.

Mick Herron's seven Slough House novels have been shortlisted for eight CWA Daggers, winning twice, and shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year four times.

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Pamela Paul.

Pamela Paul is the editor of the Book Review and oversees all books coverage at The New York Times. She is the author of seven books; her latest project, 100 Things We've Lost to the Internet, will be published in October 2021.

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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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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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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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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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Paul Mendez.

Paul is an experienced theatre performer, voice actor and contributor to the Times Literary Supplement and the Brixton Review of Books. Rainbow Milk is his debut novel.

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Simon Armitage.

Simon Armitage is the UK Poet Laureate. His numerous accolades include an Ivor Novello Award for songwriting in the BAFTA-winning film Feltham Sings and the 2018 Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

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Julia Wheeler.

Julia Wheeler is an experienced journalist and interviewer who worked for the BBC for more than 15 years, including as Gulf Correspondent. She continues to work as a freelance journalist.

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Robbie Millen.

Robbie Millen has been Literary Editor of The Times since 2013. He has also been deputy comment editor and a features editor for the Times. In the deep mists of time, he was a journalist at The Spectator and the Daily Express.

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Richard Rogan.

Richard Rogan has been editing the cryptic crosswords for The Times since 2014. In addition to vetting clues from other compilers, he contributes several of his own puzzles each month.

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Highlights of the 2019 Literature Festival at Sea.

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.