More big names announced for Cardiff Book Festival!


Robert Harris, Catherine Mayer, Hedd Wyn tribute and Sŵn Festival collaboration join September literary line-up

More big names from the book world have been announced to join the line-up for next month’s (Fri 22nd -Sun 24th September) Cardiff Book Festival.

Over 30 events taking in best sellers and local talent from the worlds of fiction, non-fiction, prose and poetry were launched back in June- and now organisers have added Cicero Trilogy star Robert Harris, Women’s Equality Party founder Catherine Mayer, Cameroon-exile Eric Ngalle Charles, a Hedd Wyn tribute with the National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn, and a collaboration with Sŵn Festival to the already exciting bill.

The new events

Robert Harris in conversation with Marcel Theroux in the Royal Literary Fund Talk, Saturday 23rd September, 3.45pm, The Angel Hotel (The ticket price includes a copy of the new novel, Munich)

Master storyteller Robert Harris, author of eleven bestselling novels including the Cicero Trilogy, Fatherland, An Officer and a Spy, joins Marcel Theroux in conversation.  Harris’ novels have been turned into movies such as Bletchley Park thriller Enigma, starring Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott, while an adaptation of the novel The Ghost starred Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan directed by Roman Polanski.

Released just two days before the event, Harris’ new book Munich is a breathtaking spy thriller set in 1938. The novel sees the author skilfully weave gripping fiction with historical events in his own unique style. The story sees Hitler determined to start a war, while British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is desperate to preserve the peace. As both leaders head for Munich for a summit that will decide the fate of Europe, two friends- one German, one British- travel alongside them with secrets of their own.

The Royal Literary Fund was set up in 1790 to help professional authors. Past beneficiaries have included Coleridge, Ivy Compton-Burnett, D H Lawrence and Dylan Thomas. Last year it helped 200 writers, though not all of them are quite so famous yet.

Catherine Mayer – Attack of the 50 Ft. Women: How Gender Equality Can Save The World!, Friday 22nd September, 7.15pm, The Angel Hotel

Discussing her book Attack of the 50 Ft. Women, journalist and co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party Catherine Mayer will tackle the big questions around women’s place in the world. Not a single country anywhere in the world has achieved gender equality while in more than a few countries, progress for women has stalled or is reversing. If gender equality promises benefits not just to women, but to everyone, why aren’t we embracing it? And how can we speed the pace of change?

The legacy of Hedd Wyn with the National Poet of Wales Ifor ap Glyn, Sunday 24th September, 11.00am, The Angel Hotel

2017 marks the centenary of the battle of Passchendaele, one of the bloodiest events of World War One – with 4,000 Welsh soldiers killed or injured on the first day. One of those who fell in battle was Ellis Humphrey Evans, the poet from Meirionnydd whose Bardic name was Hedd Wyn. He died just six weeks before being announced winner of the Chair at the National Eisteddfod in Birkenhead. Ifor ap Glyn, the National Poet of Wales, examines the work and poignant legacy of Hedd Wyn in this Welsh language event.

Derek Johns – Ariel: A Literary Life of Jan Morris, Sunday 24th September, 11.30am, The Angel Hotel

The Welsh historian, author and travel writer Jan Morris is “one of the great British writers of the post-war era” (The Guardian). As James Morris, she was the journalist who brought back the story of the conquest of Everest in 1953 and who discovered evidence of British involvement in the Suez Crisis of 1956. Her writings on Wales represent the most thorough literary investigation of the mysterious land.  Derek Johns, her literary agent for twenty years, will discuss his book Ariel, published to coincide with Morris’ recent 90th birthday.

Further events include the Cameroon-exile Eric Ngalle Charles on the refugee experience in Wales, a panel including Durre Shahwar and Jafar Iqbal on BAME writing and a partnership with Sŵn Festival on music criticism in the 21st century.

What the organisers say

The event is being organised by Brian Meechan, Cerith Mathias and Dan Tyte.  Mathias said:

“Over the course of a weekend in Cardiff you can be transported to Munich during the Second World War, to the summit of Everest, to a Ziggy Stardust show or the battle of Passchendaele. Writing, whether fiction or non-fiction comes alive when it’s discussed and debated and we’d urge everyone who wants to expand their mind to be part of the festival this September.”

The rest of the programme

  • David Bowie-A Life- GQ editor Dylan Jones in conversation with NME editor Mike Williams about his upcoming book, an engrossing, magisterial biography drawn from Jones’ interviews with the enigmatic star and over 180 interviews with friends, rivals, lovers and collaborators.
  • John Gordon Sinclair discussing his new novel, Walk in Silence
  • Pitch in the Pub with Cardiff-born literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes from Curtis Brown, where aspiring writers can pitch their future bestsellers over Twitter and in person.
  • Library of Imagined Genes with Green Man Festival, a biobank containing genetic samples of fictional characters, takes over Cardiff Central Library
  • Tales from Tiger Bay with Neil M. Sinclair
  • 35 years of Fighting Fantasy with Ian Livingstone.  Livingstone launched Games Workshop, Tomb Raider and the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks which have sold almost 20 million copies worldwide, and will reflect on his career as his new book The Port of Peril marks the 35th anniversary of the series
  • Marcel Theroux discusses his latest novel, The Secret Books, an epic adventure through a world of spies, propaganda and revolution in a mystery about the lost years of Jesus Christ.
  • Cardiff’s own Sunday Times bestseller Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coat and The Doll Funeral
  • Laughter: The Best Medicine? with Mrs. Brown’s Boys writer Adam Kay on his new book. This Is Going To Hurt, a first-hand account of his life as a junior doctor in all its joy, pain and sacrifice and a love letter to those who might be holding our lives in their hands.  Adam will be joined by Dr Dean Burnett, a doctor of neuroscience at Cardiff University who moonlights as a comedy writer and stand-up comedian.  Whoopi Goldberg’s production company has bought the rights to his book The Idiot Brian.
  • Myths and Legends with Horatio Clare, re-telling ancient tales from the Brecon Beacons and his new book of the same name
  • How Bullshit Conquered the World- Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James Ball will tackle the fake news post-truth world
  • Remembering Rhodri– a special event will remember First Minister Rhodri Morgan as his memoir is released to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the vote that created the National Assembly for Wales
  • Hinterland/Y Gwyll- Ed Thomas, and the photographer David Wilson will be in conversation on how the west Wales landscape inspired the noir detective drama which has taken images of Ceredigion to televisions in over 100 countries throughout the world
  • Writing workshops with Kate Hamer and author of The Unforgotten Laura Powell
  • A Lit Disco with music inspired by books and a Boozy Book Quiz
  • Happily Ever After? with Cardiff’s Laura Kemp and Jo Carnegie, looking at whether rom com books are needed more than ever in these troubling times
  • Lucy Owen and family reading in English and Welsh from her children’s book Boo-a-Bog in the Park
  • The Clydach Murders- John Morris asks whether an innocent man was wrongfully convicted of the 1999 murders of the Power family, sharing captivating evidence to illustrate his powerful case
  • Merthyr: the crucible of modern Wales? sponsored by Modern Wales, Parthian with Dai Smith, Joe England and Huw Lewis interrogating Merthyr’s role in the 19th century development of Wales and a moving memoir of growing up in Aberfan in the 1960s and 70s
  • The Arthurian Place Names of Wales with Scott Lloyd examining the sites around Wales associated with the legendary King Arthur
  • Dark Land, Dark Skies with Martin Griffiths exploring The Mabinogion in the night sky
  • New Poetic Voices Showcase with Rhiannon Hooson, Rhian Edwards, Emily Blewitt, Sophie McKeand, Susie Wild, Natalie Ann Holbrow and Rhys Milsom
  • Gaslight with Eloise Williams, a gothic mystery for children and young adults set in Cardiff
  • Scientists of Wales/Gwyddonwyr Cymru, a bilingual event exploring some of Welsh science’s greatest discoveries
  • Lost Lines of Wales, a nostalgic steam-powered journey with Tom Ferris as he explores the history, heritage and social background of the railway and its passengers brought to life
  • Why Wales Never Was/Pam Na Fu Cymru, a bilingual event where Simon Brooks undertakes a devastating analysis of the historical failure of Welsh nationalism with an apocalyptic vision of a non-Welsh future

Where is it and where can I buy tickets?

The festival takes place at a literary hub taking in the iconic Angel Hotel, Cardiff Central Library and official bookseller Waterstones.  Weekend wristbands which get you into every event* are available at the early bird price of £30 until 18th August with tickets for individual events starting at £5 for adults and £3 concessions from

The festival is supported by Capital Law, Quantum Advisory, Modern Wales- Parthian, Working Word, doopoll, Cardiff Libraries, City of Cardiff Council, Literature Wales, Arts and Business Cymru, Waterstones, Mockingbird Media and Deri Danto.  Follow Twitter for updates @cardiffbookfest #cardiffbookfest.

*first come, first served if events are oversubscribed. Not including writing workshops.  Individual tickets to the Robert Harris event are priced at £25 including a hardcover copy of Munich. Wristband access to the Robert Harris event also requires additional purchase of the book.