Literature Festival at Sea 2024

Find yourself absorbed in a true literary haven, surrounded by fellow book lovers on board the 2024 Literature Festival at Sea. This event, curated by the programming team of The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, sees authors, poets, journalists, critics, and historians unite, bringing the spirit of the Festival to your voyage.

November 13–20, 2024, Queen Mary 2

Find yourself in literary heaven, surrounded by authors, poets, journalists, historians, and fellow book lovers, on this seven-night sailing dedicated to the power of the pen.

Curated by the programming team of Cheltenham Festivals, this unique voyage celebrates the written word in its many forms.

Enjoy a daily dose of news from Times journalists. Lose yourself in thought-provoking conversation at Q&A sessions. Meet your favorite writers at intimate book signings. Listen as literary greats dissect everything from art and film to history and politics. You could fill every day on board with all kinds of literature-based activities and experiences. And that’s on top of exploring the range of signature Cunard experiences you can already look forward to when you vacation with us.

Discover a lineup that includes acclaimed crime writer Mark Billingham, Scottish novelist Chris Brookmyre and his cowriter and wife, Marisa Haetzman (both pictured), former US Ambassador to the UK Matthew Barzun, and Sunday Times journalist Decca Aitkenhead, with more authors to be announced. The Literature Festival at Sea is a must for book lovers and freethinkers everywhere.

Special guests

Decca Aitkenhead

Chief interviewer of the Sunday Times, writer, and broadcaster.

Find out more

Mike Gayle

Award-winning novelist and journalist with a number of book titles, including the Sunday Times top ten bestseller My Legendary Girlfriend.

Find out more

Tracy Borman

Historian and author of a number of highly acclaimed books, including Crown & Scepter and Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him.

Find out more

Matthew Barzun

American businessman, diplomat, and political fundraiser who served as the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Find out more

Mark Billingham

Acclaimed crime writer whose debut novel, Sleepyhead, was listed in the Sunday Times 100 books to shape the decade.

Find out more

Chris Brookmyre

Scottish novelist, best known for Quite Ugly One Morning, who collaborated with his wife, Marisa Haetzman, to produce a number of historical crime novels.

Find out more

Patrick Gale

British novelist with 17 novels, including Take Nothing With You (2018), which was his fourth Sunday Times bestseller.

Find out more

Denise Mina

Award-winning Scottish crime writer and playwright.

Find out more

Robin Niblett

British specialist in international relations who was director and chief executive of Chatham House for 15 years from 2007 to 2022.

Find out more

Marisa Haetzman

Anesthetist with a master’s degree in the History of Medicine. She has cowritten The Way of All Flesh, the first in a series of historical novels, with her husband, Chris Brookmyre, under the pseudonym Ambrose Parry.

Find out more

Sophie Raworth

Journalist and presenter of BBC News.

Find out more

Ayesha Hazarika

Scottish broadcaster, journalist, political commentator, and former political adviser to senior Labour Party politicians.

Find out more

Marina Hyde

Columnist for The Guardian and recipient of multiple awards, including Columnist of the Year at the British Journalism Awards for three years running.

Find out more

Event Voyages

These voyages offer a unique opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and immerse yourself in a theme of your choice.