Cambridge Literary Festival announces an online Winter Festival line-up of unmissable conversations

Cambridge Literary Festival's 2021 Winter Festival features a host of big names.

Cambridge Literary Festival's Winter Festival Online 2021 features James Rebanks, Fatima Manji, Carmen Maria Machado, Joan Bakewell, Natasha Brown, Claudia Rankine, Rebecca Solnit and Gillian Beer. - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Literary Festival

Organisers of the Cambridge Literary Festival have announced their Winter Online Festival 2021 line-up.

CLF has presented many memorable combinations and conversations over the years and this year is no exception, with many new ones to look forward to.

Launching proceedings on Wednesday, November 17 is a Dame, Professor and stalwart Cambridge citizen. 

Gillian Beer features in Cambridge Literary Festival's Winter Festival line-up.

Gillian Beer features in Cambridge Literary Festival's Winter Festival Online 2021 line-up. - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Literary Festival

CLF's honorary patron Gillian Beer talks movingly to fellow honorary patron Alex Clark about Stations Without Signs, her short memoir recounting her childhood experiences as an evacuee in World War Two.

Later in the week, Merlin Sheldrake, winner of this year’s Wainwright Prize, shares his spectacular and surprising book Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Word, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures with one of our best nature writers, Robert Macfarlane.

Rebecca Solnit features in Cambridge Literary Festival's Winter Festival line-up.

Rebecca Solnit features in Cambridge Literary Festival's Winter Festival Online 2021 line-up. - Credit: Trent Davis Bailey

In a delightful combination, American writer and activist Rebecca Solnit and James Rebanks discuss their mutual regard for George Orwell and their exchange about Solnit’s book Orwell’s Roses is fascinating.

Author James Rebanks features in Cambridge Literary Festival's Winter Festival line-up.

Author James Rebanks features in Cambridge Literary Festival's Winter Festival Online 2021 line-up. - Credit: Andrew Heading

Debut novelist Natasha Brown joins poet, essayist and playwright Claudia Rankine, whose multidisciplinary work on racial justice is directly echoed in Brown’s first novel, Assembly.

Natasha Brown features in Cambridge Literary Festival's Winter Festival line-up.

Natasha Brown features in Cambridge Literary Festival's Winter Festival Online 2021 line-up. - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Literary Festival

Claudia Rankine features in Cambridge Literary Festival's Winter Festival line-up.

Claudia Rankine features in Cambridge Literary Festival's Winter Festival Online 2021 line-up. - Credit: John Lucas

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Husband and wife team and co-authors of After the Virus, Hilary Cooper and Simon Sretzer, are joined by writer Melissa Benn for a galvanising conversation setting out an ambitious manifesto for growth, regeneration and change.

Former Labour MP Alan Johnson has earned respect, admiration and prizes for his series of memoirs, and he has now turned his hand to fiction.

His conversation with Alex Clark about his debut crime novel, The Last Train to Gypsy Hill, is sure to be gripping.

The festival takes place less than one week after the conclusion of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) and you can expect to see a healthy crop of environmentalists and nature writers.

Climate scientist Peter Stott

Climate scientist Peter Stott exposes the shocking truth in Hot Air: The Inside Story of the Battle Against Climate Change Denial. - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Literary Festival

Climate scientist Peter Stott joins the festival straight from his attendance at COP26 to report on this and the battle against climate change denial which is the subject of his new book, Hot Air.

In a nod to Rachel Carson’s climate classic Silent Spring, Professor of Biology Dave Goulson joins the line-up to discuss his Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse.

Making the case for profound change at every level – in government policy, agriculture, industry and in our own homes and gardens – he believes that although time is running out, it is not yet too late for insect populations to recover.

Once again CLF display their strong links with art and culture with an exclusive trip to The Hepworth Wakefield where we meet Eleanor Clayton, author of the exquisite Art & Life.

Joan Bakewell features in Cambridge Literary Festival's Winter Festival line-up.

Joan Bakewell features in Cambridge Literary Festival's Winter Festival Online 2021 line-up. - Credit: Sukey Parnell

Closer to home, Joan Bakewell talks about her latest book, The Ticking of Two Clocks, with Cambridge resident, life coach and writer Judy Reith.

Tom Gatti also treats us to a revival of some of the best music in his intoxicating book Long Players. Join him and Alex Clark for a conversation on writers and the albums which shaped them.

Tune in to enjoy all of this and more.

Booking is now open at www.cambridgeliteraryfestival.com and with it being an online festival you can watch from anywhere in the world.

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