Literature Festival at Sea.

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

November 14 - 21, 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 from 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 favorite 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 guests on board.

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 an editor, a dramaturge and script consultant in theater, movies and novels.

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Alexander McCall Smith.

Alexander McCall Smith, often referred to as “Sandy,” 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 on the pages of The Guardian, The Observer and the Times Literary Supplement, and heard on BBC R4 programs 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 on 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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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 May 9, 2013. It won the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, and the Orwell Prize, Britain's top political writing award.

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Paul Mendez.

Paul is an experienced theater 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 for the BAFTA-winning movie Feltham Sings and the 2018 Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

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Antony Beevor.

Antony Beevor’s books include Stalingrad (Samuel Johnson, Wolfson and Hawthornden Prizes), Ardennes 1944 (shortlist Prix Médicis), and now Arnhem, another international Number 1 Bestseller.

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Daniel Finkelstein.

Daniel Finkelstein, OBE, is the associate editor, a columnist and a lead writer for The Times. He also sits in the House of Lords as Lord Finkelstein.

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Artemis Cooper.

Artemis Cooper’s books include Cairo in the War, 1939-1945 Writing at the Kitchen Table, the Authorized Biography of Elizabeth David Patrick Leigh Fermor, an Adventure; Elizabeth Jane Howard: A Dangerous Innocence, and Paris After the Liberation 1944-1949, which she wrote with her husband Antony Beevor.

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Luigi Bonomi.

Luigi is an editor and literary agent with a wealth of experience, having previously worked on the Enid Blyton estate, Harlequin Mills & Book, Penguin Books and Sheil Land Associates. Among his many clients he has represented Sir Terry Wogan, James May and Fern Britton.

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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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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 programs.

Discover our unique event voyages.