The Guernsey Literary Festival, one of the biggest annual arts events in the Channel Islands, will feature no fewer than 80 events this year, most with writers and speakers from the UK and Channel Islands. Tickets for the Festival, which runs from 23 April to 5 May, are selling fast, especially for the headline speakers. Two events with celebrity chef Michel Roux have sold out in a week.

As well as Michel Roux, household names include media presenters Louise Minchin and Sarah Beeny, political and history writer Martin Sixsmith (Putin and the Return of History) and sportsmen and commentators Mike Brearley and Pat Nevin. All of them will talk about their recently published books.

A great strength of the Festival is the wide range of subjects covered by its speakers, including politics, health and well-being, economics, history, science, comedy, the novel and poetry. There are also writing workshops and events for local writers, as well as full education and community programmes and two major competitions.

‘We try to appeal to as wide a range of people as we possibly can,’ says Festival Director Claire Allen, ‘and we’ve found so many times that people go to a talk because they’re quite interested in the subject only to come away completely inspired by the expert they’ve listened to.’

‘This Festival is a celebration of the wonder and power of books.’

The full programme is available on the Festival website, and printed versions have been delivered to every island household, courtesy of Guernsey Post. Tickets can be purchased through the website, as can Festival membership.

Fiction and literature feature highly in any book festival and this year in Guernsey, Louis de Bernières, writer of best-selling Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, will talk about his latest novel Light over Liskeard, while John Boyne, writer of The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas, will discuss his latest novel, Earth, the newest volume in a powerful four-novel series.

Claire Kilroy will share insights into her latest novel Soldier Sailor, a gut-wrenching story of motherhood, creativity and identity and described by the Observer as a ‘tour de force’, while Peter James will reveal how he keeps readers hooked in his long-running Roy Grace series. The latest is titled They Thought I was Dead.

Jacquie Bloese, author of the excellent The French House, returns with her latest historical novel The Golden Hour, and this year the Festival has its very own crime panel. The panellists are Anna Mazzola, writer of the darkly delicious The Book of Secrets; Mary Horlock, whose 1930s-set novel The Stranger’s Companion is based on the real-life events of a missing couple on Sark; and Jenny O’Brien, whose latest crime thriller Roses for the Dead is packed with mystery and suspense.

From the media, TV presenter Louise Minchin, sponsored by Investec, will speak about adventures of extraordinary women and Sarah Beeny will share stories of her life, family and career. Celebrated chef Michel Roux will help his audience discover the joy of cooking simple and delicious French meals. Both his events are sponsored by Rawlinson and Hunter.

For sports fans, the Festival offers Pat Nevin, a classy footballer who has become a classy commentator. His event, sponsored by Kirkwood Properties, is based on his book Football and How to Survive It. And for cricket lovers, Mike Brearley’s event, sponsored by BWCI Group, is based on his deeply thoughtful and erudite book Turning Over the Pebbles – A Life in Cricket and in the Mind.

Endurance runner Richard Askwith will reflect on his inspiring book The Race Against Time – Adventures in Late-Life Running, about the challenges and rewards of running in later life, and Tour de France cycling commentator Ned Boulting will speak about the Tour and a particular year that has obsessed him since he saw a short Pathe film about it. Author, adventure activist and swimmer Jessica Hepburn is back to discuss her amazing book Save Me From the Waves – An Adventure from Sea to Summit. Her talk is supported by Vive La Vallette.

There’s a packed schedule of daytime Festival events, especially in the main week of Wednesday 1st May to Sunday 5th May but as night falls, the focus turns to comedy and music, and here the Festival offers a particularly exciting line up.

Helen Lederer will share her frank, funny and moving memoir Not That I’m Bitter, and stand-up comedian Geoff Norcott will deliver a rib-tickling relatable guide to blokedom based on his book The British Bloke, Decoded.

The Bookshop Band, popular at book festivals all over the UK, will perform a concert of their songs, all of which are inspired by particular books. There will also be world premiere of a Victor Hugo themed song, commissioned by the Festival. The concert is sponsored by C5 Alliance.

Henry Normal, a regular on BBC national radio and at venues around the UK, combines humour with poetry for his performance. As a writer and producer of shows such as The Royle Family and Mrs Merton and a regular collaborator with Steve Coogan, he also has a treasure trove of great stories and jokes to share.

And while on the subject of poetry, the Festival is proud to welcome highly regarded poet Paul Muldoon. He is the judge of this year’s Guernsey International Poetry Competition and will present the awards and he will also read from his own work. Paul’s events are sponsored by Specsavers and supported by Guernsey Arts.

For everyone interested in health and lifestyle, writer and podcaster Emma Gannon will talk about her portfolio career and her search to craft work (and life) on her own terms, with plenty of suggestions for her audience from her book, The Success Myth. Journalist Bryony Gordon, one of the Daily Telegraph’s best-loved writers, will discuss menopause, binge-eating, OCD and mental health in her talk Mad Woman. Both these talks will be held at and are sponsored by St Pierre Park Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, with a tea/coffee and sweet treat as part of the event/ticket price.

Emma Gannon will also interview author Clover Stroud about the importance of family, community and belonging and how Clover coped with uprooting her family to live in the US by exploring the landscape of Oxfordshire’s ancient Ridgeway.

Just as one hits the headlines, that of the Post Office sub-postmasters and mistresses falsely accused of dishonesty, another is gaining traction, that of the infected blood which in the 70s and 80s was given to people with haemophilia. Their treatment infected them with HIV and hepatitis C and killed many. Cara McGoogan reveals the depths of the story and the attempts to cover it up over many years in her book The Poison Line.

This year the Festival welcomes several Business, Current Affairs and Environmental heavyweights.

The Business Breakfast speaker this year is the senior climate reporter for Bloomberg News Akshat Rathi, who will be speaking about climate capitalism and the green economy. This event is sponsored by Butterfield.

One of the world’s leading marine conservationists, Charles Clover, will discuss how to save our oceans and how to rethink our relationship with nature. This event is sponsored by Mourant. Lawyer and campaigner Jolyon Maughan KC will talk about his book Bringing Down Goliath and reveal how good law can topple the powerful.

BBC journalist Richard Fisher has long been concerned that the short-termism of modern politics will not help us tackle the major problems we face.  In Richard’s talk, sponsored by Dorey Financial Modelling, he will explore the importance of long-term thinking.

Professor Linda Yueh will be taking her audience through the tumultuous economic times of the last 50 years and asking how we can learn from them. In her book The Great Crashes – Lessons from Global Meltdowns and How to Prevent Them, Linda exclusively predicts the next financial crisis. Can we do anything to prevent it?

One of the UK’s foremost AI experts Nigel Toon, author of How AI Thinks, will help his audience to understand the phenomenon of AI and how it can augment, not threaten, human intelligence. Nigel’s event is sponsored by the NED Forum.

In a global story with a local twist, financial journalist Jane Martinson will chart the story of the Barclay twins, how they rose from poverty to create a huge business empire and the problems of later years.

In non-fiction, the Festival includes a number of authors who have written their own inspiring stories, with Tracy King’s story of growing up in poverty. Her story is a shocking but ultimately hopeful memoir that holds a mirror to the realities of living in poverty and the power of and learning to question our world. Her talk is sponsored by The John Ramplin Charitable Trust.

Fifty years ago, Hilary Bradt founded Bradt travel guides, the UK’s largest independent travel publisher. Her talk, like her book, will look at the early days of budget travel and setting up the business, recounting some of her favourite and most bizarre experiences.

Andy West’s book The Life Inside is a memoir of prison, family and learning to be free. Andy is now philosopher in residence at Brixton Prison and will be in conversation with Sir Terry Waite. The event is sponsored by The John Ramplin Charitable Trust.

Journalist and history writer Martin Sixsmith will explore the Ukraine war and the change in Putin’s take on the West. His talk, based on his book Putin and The Return of History, is sponsored by Carey Olsen.

Turning from one dictator to another, could we have dealt with Hitler differently, and therefore avoided the horrors of World War Two?  This is the questions that historian Charles Spicer poses in his highly regarded book Coffee with Hitler.

Most people in Guernsey will know something of the exile here of the great novelist Victor Hugo, but biographer Mark Bostridge has turned his attention to Hugo’s daughter Adele, whose story is about a tragic pursuit of love. This event is sponsored by Walkers.

Family events

There is plenty this year for the family and young people, with interactive activities like Well Done Mummy Penguin led by popular illustrator and author Chris Haughton as well as family events with Sam Copeland and Rashmi Sirdeshpande, all of which are sponsored by Rothschild & Co. There will also be our popular annual Festival Children’s Tea Party, which this year features Winnie the Pooh, sponsored by Specsavers. The WriteStuff writing competition winners will receive their awards at the ceremony for young local writers, sponsored by Julius Baer.

Local interest

Events of local interest include a talk by Rob Batiste on great Guernsey men and women sponsored by TPA and an event with Simon Hamon on the lives of the German soldiers buried at Fort George. Andrew Doyle will discuss how Guernsey has reinvented its economic system and The Leaders Consultancy will speak about the foundations of excellent leadership. There is also a panel event featuring three Guernsey writers, Nicki Harrison, Rachel Le Mesurier and Matthew Berryman Leach.

Ben and Naomi Tustin, writers of Vraic, A Seaweed Foraging Tour, will be leading a walking tour that will do just that, sharing the history of the island’s seaweed use, identifying different types and showing how they can be used.

Schools Programme

The Festival’s extensive education programme in local schools will feature the children’s writers and illustrators already mentioned, in addition to Frances Hardinge, Jess French, Anna James, Matt Goodfellow, Ash Bond, Cath Howe, Huw Lewis-Jones, Nicole Le Goupillot, Andrew Doyle and Sir Terry Waite. The education programme is sponsored by Rothschild & Co.

Community and Outreach

The Community & Outreach Programme will see events with a number of authors speaking in the prison and in local care homes as well as events in other community spaces. This year’s Festival Service is being held at the Town church with the Festival’s Honorary Chairman Sir Terry Waite. This programme is sponsored by The John Ramplin Charitable Trust.

The festival takes place in various venues in St Peter Port, with the main venues being St James, the Guille-Alles Library, Les Cotils, St Pierre Park Hotel and The Old Government House Hotel.

Tickets can be booked online at or by calling the Festival Box Office on 07781 143545.