Star names at literary series

Julia Bradbury. Photo: Clara Molden.
Julia Bradbury. Photo: Clara Molden.

Big-name authors, celebrated public figures and writers with fascinating stories to tell will feature in July’s Buxton Festival literary series at the Opera House and Pavilion Arts Centre.

Among the well-known names appearing will be presenter and raconteur Sandi Toksvig with her novel Valentine Grey, and broadcasting luminary Melvyn Bragg with his latest, Grace and Mary.

There’s popular Countryfile presenter Julia Bradbury, and novelists AN Wilson, Jane Gardam, Deborah Moggach and Frances Osborne will present their latest books.

The Duke of Devonshire will be talking about centuries of collecting at Chatsworth, while Roy Hattersley looks back over the history of the Devonshire family.

Designer Thomas Heatherwick will talk with Joanna Lumley about his extraordinary career, including the creation of the amazing Olympic Cauldron.

Connected with the Festival’s operatic roots, Roger Parker discusses the history of the art form and Peter Conrad and Stephen Barlow talk about opera’s themes and meanings, while Barry Millington looks at the life of Richard Wagner and Paul Kildea celebrates the centenary of Benjamin Britten.

There’s a number of amazing life-stories. Hannah Rothschild talks about her scandalous great aunt Nica Rothschild, Artemis Cooper looks at writer and adventurer Patrick Leigh Fermor, Victoria Glendinning examines the life of founder of Singapore, Thomas Stamford Raffles, Lucy Hughes-Hallett looks at Italian firebrand Gabriele d’Annunzio and Jane Ridley takes a fresh look at the life of Edward VII.

In fascinating historical stories, William Dalrymple looks at the British Empire’s disastrous Afghan campaign, Paddy Ashdown examines the daring World War II raid by the ‘Cockleshell Heroes’, Catherine Bailey investigates the mysterious death of the Ninth Duke of Rutland, Clive Aslet tells the stories from one village’s war memorial, Derek Niemann talks about the three prisoners of war whose love of ornithology helped them through their incarceration and Simon Jenkins gives A Short History of England.

The Festival also features a poetry recital and two literary events aimed at children.

To book tickets, call 0845 127 2190 or visit www.buxtonfestival.co.uk.