Trio of Pop Up Events to Kick Off 2024 Literary Festival Programme

Henley Literary Festival 2024 programme kicks off with a trio of exciting pop-up events in February.

The very first event of the year sees Michael Rosen come to Henley on paperback publication day on 8 February for Getting Better: Life lessons on going under, getting over it, and getting through it. From We’re Going on a Bear Hunt to The Boris Letters, as poet, broadcaster, Children’s Laureate and author of over 200 books Michael Rosen has been cheering us up for over 50 years. Over the same time he has grieved the loss of a child, lived with debilitating chronic illness and faced death itself when seriously unwell in hospital. In spite of this he has survived and has even learned to find joy in life in the aftermath of tragedy.

Michael will be talking to Dr Rachel Clarke, author of Breathtaking and Your Life in My Hands. One of our greatest writers shares stories, moving and laugh-out loud funny moments as he investigates the road to recovery, whatever we’ve been through.

Festival favourite Bryony Gordon will also be returning for a special pre-publication event on 8 February for her book Mad Woman: How to survive a world that thinks you’re the problem. Eight years on from her ground-breaking Mad Girl, this book is an insightful, fearless and brilliantly witty reflection on the eternal quest for a ‘happy life’, where Bryony reassesses everything she thought she knew about mental health. What if our notion of what makes us happy is the very thing that’s making us sad?

From burnout and binge eating to menopause, OCD and sobriety, Bryony tackles her personal challenges and demons with her trademark blend of compassion, honesty and humour.

Completing the trio of pop-up events in February is none other than national treasure and broadcaster Lorraine Kelly – when she’ll be discussing her own career and writing on 20 February at 7.30pm in conversation with Steve Jones. After making her Henley Literary Festival debut last year, hosting our Book Club event, she’s back with her own debut novel.

As well as a much-loved fixture on our TV screens for the last 40 years, Lorraine is a HELLO! columnist and author of several non-fiction bestsellers, most recently Shine: Discover a Brighter You. Now comes The Island Swimmer, her poignant debut novel inspired by her deep love for the Orkney Islands, with echoes of Maeve Binchy. Evie arrives on the spring tide to the wild landscape she left as a teenager, the one to which she swore she’d never return, in this beautiful and emotional story of family, community and facing the past. Usually the one asking the questions, this is a chance to see one of TV’s most familiar faces as the interviewee as she talks about her life, career and much-anticipated new book, in the week it is published.

Festival director Harriet Reed Ryan said: “Our 2023 Festival was our best-ever, with record ticket sales, a stellar line up and glowing feedback from our audiences, authors, interviewers and sponsors so we’ve got our work cut out for our 2024 programme, however we’re kicking off this year in style with some great names. These first names for 2024 show Henley is an important literary location, attracting big names to the town to promote their books during publication week and we’re really excited to welcome these names to Henley for our wonderful audiences.”

Tickets are available via and on 01491 575948 (10am-2pm Monday -Thursday). Visit the website for information on becoming a Friend of the Festival for priority booking and other benefits.


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