As the 2020 edition of the Raworths Literature Festival draws closer, we caught up with interviewer Matthew Stadlen, who has had the opportunity to curate his own schedule of interviews for this year’s festival.

The annual event brings together writers, politicians, historians, broadcasters, and more, and this year will be held in a virtual format due to the current Covid-19 measures and restrictions.

The renowned literature festival, now in its twelfth year, will be held digitally via Zoom for the first time, something that Matthew does not think will affect the power of the event:

“It’s not ideal, it’s not the same thing, but I hope that because it’s happening over a weekend, a marked period in the diary, I hope that people will feel like they’re part of the event and participating in something and there’s a real sense of occasion.”

Matthew is guest curating for the first time this year, allowing him to put together an exciting line up of interviewees from a variety of backgrounds, including a few people he’s interviewed before:

“It’s been really good fun actually, saying I’d quite like to interview this person, or I think this person would work really well.

“I’ve gathered together eight names, a real mix, some politicians, authors… Rory Bremner for example, who I guess is sort of a comedian, he’s hugely funny.

“It’s a real strong line up this year, and I hope people will feel that they’re part of it and even though it’s digital I think it will be quite exciting.”

Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival 2020

So who is set to feature at the first ever virtual Raworths Literature Festival? Events include:

  • Conversations with great novelists including Bernard Cornwell, Lee Child, Ken Follett, Natalie Haynes and Elif Shafak
  • A duo of interviews with British Labour Party Politicians Jess Phillips MP and David Lammy MP
  • An audience with stars of non-fiction Hugo Vickers, Alexandra Shulman and New York Times bestselling author Ariana Neuman
  • Former lecturer Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason shares a beautiful tale of determination as she opens up what it takes to raise a musical family
  • Broadcasters and screen icons turned authors Simon MayoJeremy VineLoyd Grossman and Rory Bremner round out the programme with entertaining and inspiring tales of their careers.

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