Prize-winning author heads for this year's festival
Two of the star attractions at this year's Bath Lit Fest, which opens at the beginning of March, are Hilary Mantel and Elif Shafak.
Hilary's guest appearance in Bath was agreed long before she won the Booker Prize for the second time and the Costa Prize (announced last week) both for her book Bring up the Bodies.
Hilary's appearance at the Forum with James Runcie on Saturday, March 9 is a rare event as she is apparently only making one other similar appearance this year. Festival organisers say she is extremely busy having taken on the enormous job of adapting both Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies for TV and also for two brand new stage productions at the RSC, which will be given top billing at Stratford upon Avon starting in December this year.
She knows James well: he made a film about her for the BBC in September 2011, when she won the Booker Prize for Wolf Hall. A spokeswoman for the festival said: "His interview will be extremely sensitive and well informed and promises to be a real and exclusive treat for Bath."
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Elif Shafak is Turkey's most celebrated female novelist. Her novel Honour is the Big Bath Read this year and she will be appearing at the Guildhall on Saturday, March 2 at 8pm.
The Big Bath Read is all about the audience being well informed, having read the book and going along armed with questions for the author. Elif's book falls under one of this year's themes of freedom – of speech, thought, politics, religion and justice.
This strand also includes a landmark conversation with the human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith on Tuesday March 5 again in the Guildhall at 8pm and a new production staged in the court room at the Guildhall of the trial scene from Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
The Big Read ties in with the festival-wide intention to include audiences as much as possible and allow them to participate or as James Runcie puts it, to 'join the conversation'.
The Lit Fest opens on March 1. Tickets are on 01225 463362.