Literally a Literary Feast!

The 2011 Cheltenham Times Literary Festival

A comment from New Jersey USA about Hanover House ‘Wonderful and beautiful. A home away from home. Great hospitality’

This week sees the start of the Cheltenham Times Literary Festival, one of the biggest in the country and lasting for 10 days, with multi-streams of events running concurrently in a wide range of venues. This year much of it will be under canvas in the Imperial and Montpellier Gardens, but a number of events being held in the Town Hall, Everyman, Playhouse, Parabola (Ladies College) and Deans Close Theatres.  Hopefully the weather will be reasonably kind for those in the tents – but I wouldn’t count on it now the ‘Indian Summer’ had disappeared and wind and rain (more typical for October) are forecast.

As Hanover House is so central to the town and literally only 5 minutes walk from all the venues (except for Deans Close), as usual we have a full complement of Literalista, many of them regulars who come year after year, having appreciated our comforts, relaxed style and very close proximity to the venues and eating places.  Veronica and I have  busy schedule of attending events ourselves as well as catering for our guests, and it is always a bit of juggling trick to keep it all together.  On our own programme we will be attending sessions on ‘The King’s Speech’, ‘Downton Abbey’, the Battle of Towton (like Tewkesbury, another of the great Wars of the Roses battles, and called ‘the Medieval Somme’), The Edwardian House and ‘The Archers’, and seeing celebrity authors and broadcasters like Robert Hardy, Julian Fellowes, Giles Brandreth, Lionel Blue, Penelope Keith, Sue Johnston, Rachel Johnson and AS Byatt out of a cast of thousands. Some of my own favourites link with British History and include Roy Strong, Allan Mallinson and Neil Oliver.

The Festival is also an opportunity (and a temptation) to add to our expansive book shelves with the latest tomes, signed personally by the authors, of all the books I would love to have time to read over the next year, and apart from some ‘dipping’, may well have to wait for quieter times. It’s also a chance to have a word, albeit a brief one, with the various iconic names one sees usually only in print or on the screen.  Perhaps we should slip them one of our cards to encourage them to stay in a luxury, historic, beautiful, town centre 5-star B&B, like Hanover House next time, rather than in the usual relatively sterile chain hotels they tend to get booked into!

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