More Big Names Announced for 2023 Literary Festival

Actor Timothy West, former England cricket captain Mike Brearley and Booker-winner Ben Okri will join bestsellers, broadcasters and children’s authors at this autumn’s Henley Literary Festival.

The latest names announced also include Julia Bradbury, Victoria Hislop, Dermot O’Leary, Emily Gravett and Clive Myrie. This is in addition to previously confirmed speakers Theresa May, David Olusoga, Jacqueline Wilson, David Petreaus and Polly Toynbee, with many more still to be announced for the 30 September – 8 October Festival.

Timothy West will reflect on his 60-year marriage to Prunella Scales with the highly anticipated Pru & Me, while Mike Brearley will discuss his unique career on the pitch – including a famous 1981 Ashes victory – and as a psychoanalyst. Ben Okri, who won the Booker Prize in 1991, comes to the Henley for the first time with Tiger Work, a collection of poems and essays about climate change.

Bestsellers Victoria Hislop and Cesca Major return after previous sell-outs, while fellow novelists Eva Rice, Liv Little, Rebecca Wait and Georgina Moore speak at the Festival for the first time. A trio of our best-loved broadasters will appear with their latest books: Julia Bradbury, Clive Myrie and Clare Balding.

Events for children of all ages will include the award-winning author-illustrator Emily Gravett, who follows the acclaimed Meerkat Mail and The Odd Egg with 10 Dogs, and Radio 2 host Dermot O’Leary with his wartime, bird-based adventure Wings of Glory.

Tickets for Henley Literary Festival 2023 (September 30 – October 8) will be available via and on 01491 575948 from 17 July for general sale, with Friends of the Festival enjoying early booking from 10 July. Visit the website for information on becoming a Friend of the Festival for priority booking and other benefits.

Festival director Harriet Reed Ryan said: “We’ve been delighted by the take up of Friends and reponse to the line-up so far, so it’s wonderful to be able to reveal a few more of the speakers: a mix of returning favourites, authors we have wanted to have for years and some brilliant new voices.”

Picture credit: c Pete Rosenbaum_Pictures in Mind


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