The Cambridge Literary Festival has re-branded and re-launched, with a new media partner: the New Statesman. Founded in 2003 as Cambridge Wordfest, the festival has gained a reputation as a vibrant forum for ideas – political, cultural and literary – and has hosted authors and thinkers such as Rowan Williams, Donna Tartt, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, William Boyd, A C Grayling, P D James and Zadie Smith. Its patrons include Margaret Drabble, Robert McCrum, Ali Smith and Robert Macfarlane. The New Statesman is the festival’s first major media partner.
From April 1-6, NS staff will be heading to Cambridge to take part in events with the Douglas Alexander, shadow foreign secretary and author of Influencing Tomorrow; the literary critic John Carey and the prizewinning novelists Jim Crace, A L Kennedy and Adam Foulds. The NS Political Editor Rafael Behr will chair the NS Debate on the motion “This house believes that young people have never had it so good”.
Other participants at this year’s Cambridge Literary Festival include Pat Barker, Melvyn Bragg, Alain de Botton, Carol Ann Duffy, Alan Johnson, Rachel Joyce, Hanif Kureshi, David Runciman, Simon Singh, Ali Smith, Joanna Trollope, Kirsty Wark, Eleanor Catton and Jacqueline Wilson. Themes include the First World War, Dylan Thomas’ centenary and an exploration of Brazilian culture in advance of the 2014 World Cup. The full programme, including the speakers for the NS Debate, will be announced in February.