Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival announces authors for May bank holiday, including War Horse author Michael Morpurgo and Victoria Hislop

Chiddingstone Castle has announced the authors appearing at this year’s Literary Festival over the May bank holiday, including children’s authors Michael Morpurgo and Rob Biddulph.

The festival, which takes place near Tonbridge from Saturday, April 30 to Tuesday, May 3, will host a series of exciting author events, talks and signings with some of the biggest names in British literature.

Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse, will be appearing at Chiddingstone Castle, Picture: Phil Crow
Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse, will be appearing at Chiddingstone Castle, Picture: Phil Crow

The first star-studded event of the festival sees War Horse writer Michael Morpurgo and The Island author Victoria Hislop together in conversation. They will discuss their latest children’s stories, both of which are set on Greek islands, with Nicolette Jones.

Victoria, whose 2005 novel became an international bestseller, has her feet firmly planted in Kent. She was born in Bromley and grew up in Tonbridge, but now lives in Sissinghurst with her husband, Ian Hislop.

Victoria Hislop with her husband Ian in Tunbridge Wells. Picture: Grant Melton Photography ©2011
Victoria Hislop with her husband Ian in Tunbridge Wells. Picture: Grant Melton Photography ©2011

Sissinghurst seems to have a habit for attracting famous authors, as Adam Nicolson - whose grandparents, Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, created the magnificent gardens where he grew up - will also be making an appearance at Chiddingstone Castle.

Adam, whose previous works have explored nature, geography and history, will be discussing his new book, The Sea is Not Made of Water: Life Between the Tides.

Sissinghurst gardens in bloom. Picture: ©NTPL/Jonathan Buckley
Sissinghurst gardens in bloom. Picture: ©NTPL/Jonathan Buckley

During the festival, families can also enjoy a fun-filled hour with award-winning illustrator Rob Biddulph.

Rob will be bringing his #DrawwithRob videos to life with an in-person draw-along where children can learn to create their own illustrations. However, tickets to these popular drawing sessions have already sold out.

Tom Tugendhat, MP for Tonbridge and Malling, will also be stopping by the festival for an hour of probing political conversation with LBC radio presenter Iain Dale. Hosted by 5 News political editor Andy Bell, they will be discussing Iain’s books and analysing our political leaders.

MP Tom Tugendhat speaking during a debate. Picture: Parliament TV
MP Tom Tugendhat speaking during a debate. Picture: Parliament TV

Other authors who will be making an appearance at the literary festival include comic Nina Stibbe, biographer Miranda Seymour, BBC radio presenters Fi Glover and Jane Garvey, historian Philip Mansel and the Great Pottery Throw Down judge Keith Brymer Jones.

The festival will open on Saturday, April 30 in the stunning Stonewall Park.

Chiddingstone Castle, near Tonbridge, is known for its popular literary festival. Picture: Darryl Curcher Photography
Chiddingstone Castle, near Tonbridge, is known for its popular literary festival. Picture: Darryl Curcher Photography

The Chiddingstone Literary Festival takes place from Saturday, April 30 to Tuesday, May 3. You can find out booking information, plus the full programme of authors, here.

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