Cambridge Literary Festival: Nobel Laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah joins Will Young and Ed Balls on the program


A Nobel Prize-winning author joins a host of famous faces at this year’s Cambridge Literary Festival. Abdulrazak Gurnah, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature, is at the festival to discuss his new novel Afterlives, which focuses about how German colonial rule disrupted the lives of those living in Tanzania.

The African novelist will appear at the festival along with a number of other authors, including Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart and debut novelist Ayanna Lloyd Banwo.

Former Labor MP Ed Balls will also be at the festival to discuss his memoir, Appetite, which has been described as part cookbook and part autobiography. The book mixes memories of his life with recipes close to his heart.

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Pop star Will Young will also take the stage to discuss his new book Be Yourself and Happier. The singer was the first Pop Idol winner and has now become a leading voice for mental health awareness, especially within the LGBTQ+ community.

Footballer John Barnes will also talk about his book, The Uncomfortable Truth about Racism.

Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah

What is the Cambridge Literary Festival and how do I get tickets?

The Cambridge Literary Festival has been around since 2003 and features two festivals each year. It also organizes occasional events throughout the year.

The last festival takes place from Wednesday April 20 to Sunday April 24. Tickets for each conference can be purchased on the festival website.

Those who wish to have an overview of the conferences and buy tickets can do it online here.

Politician Ed Balls will be present at the festival
Politician Ed Balls will be present at the festival

Who is on the program at the Cambridge Literary Festival this year?

Here is the program for the next Cambridge Literary Festival:

  • Will Young – pop star and author of Be Yourself and Happier
  • Ed Balls – politician and author of Appetite
  • Abdulrazak Gurnah – Nobel Prize laureate in Literature and author of Afterlives

  • John Barnes – football legend and author of The sad truth about racism

  • Douglas Stuart – Booker Prize winner and author of Young Mungo

  • Julian Barnes – Booker Prize winner and author of Elizabeth Finch

  • Patrick Gale – historical novelist

  • Same Rose Tremain – historical novelist

  • Kerian Goddard – early novelist

  • Ayanna Lloyd Banwo – early novelist

  • Roopa Farooki – junior physician and author of Story of Life, Death and Grief in a Time of Pandemic

  • John Crace – political satirist

  • Joe Swift – introducing his new series of gardening guides

  • Claudia Roden – presenting her new Mediterranean cookbook

  • Michael Morpurgo – author, poet, playwright

  • Susan Sellers – professor of literature at St Andrews University and author of Firebird: A Bloomsbury Love Story
  • Paleontologist Thomas Halliday
  • Kübra Gümüşay – Cambridge University scholar and writer

  • Parwana Fayyaz – translator, who presents My Pen is the Wing of a Bird, a collection of short stories written by Afghan women).

  • Ali Smith – author of Companion Piece

  • Jo Browning Wroe – author of the first novel A Terrible Kindness

  • Lola Olufemi – author of Imagine Differently

  • Kiran Millwood Hargrave (writer) and Tom De Freston (illustrator) present their new children’s book Julia and the Shark

  • Christopher Lloyd – author of It Depends On Us

  • Simon Woolley – Homerton College Principal and author of an autobiography Professor of Philosophy

  • Clare Chambers – Professor of Philosophy

  • Frances Spalding and James Fox – art historians

  • Helen Thompson – professor of politics and author of Disorder

  • Lucy Ward – presenting pioneering research on Catherine the Great.


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