Dates announced for 2018 Literary Festival at Chiddingstone Castle in Kent



Dates announced for 2018 Literary Festival at Chiddingstone Castle in Kent

Chiddingstone Castle is looking forward to delivering another fantastic literary festival between Sunday 6 May and Tuesday 8 May 2018 when a great new line-up of authors, illustrators, poets and children’s performers will be at the Castle. Once again, the festival will be sponsored by investment management firm Brooks Macdonald.

The festival programme will offer author talks for adults and teenagers on Sunday 6 May, a wide range of events for families on Bank Holiday Monday 7 May, and a whole day of children’s authors, illustrators and workshops especially for schools on Tuesday 8 May.

The Tunbridge Wells office of investment management firm Brooks Macdonald is the proud title sponsor for the second year running of Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival 2018. The festival, now in its third year, will take place during and after the first Bank Holiday weekend in May at Chiddingstone Castle, near Edenbridge, West Kent.

Pam Beith, Senior Investment Director and Head of Brooks Macdonald’s Tunbridge Wells office, said:

“We are delighted to once again sponsor Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival. This year’s festival was a huge success and we were very proud to be associated with it. 2018’s event will yet again include an impressive line-up of well-known authors covering a wide range of topics offering something for all age groups. 

At Brooks Macdonald we firmly believe in giving back to our local community and we have an established history of supporting the arts. The festival has a very strong following in Kent and beyond and sponsoring Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival 2018 also provides us with a wonderful platform to continue raising awareness of our business in Kent and the South East.”

A limited-edition Sunday Day Pass for next year’s literary festival is now available online for just £70, visit These reduced-price vouchers allow the holder access to:

  • All seven talks from renowned authors Ian Rankin, Diana Henry, Anna Pasternak, John Sutherland and Erwin James, Adam Kay and Cathy Rentzenbrink, Sir Anthony Seldon and Anne de Courcy in the Main Marquee on Sunday 6th May
  • Visit the Castle’s historic rooms and collection of art and artefacts
  • Enjoy a free glass of wine in the festival bar


Register your interest on our pre-registration page to be first to hear when our Box Office opens, and follow our Facebook Event Page for updates. Tickets to individual events will be available to purchase online from 1st March 2018.

2018 Literary Festival Programme


Ian Rankin – the UK’s no.1 bestselling crime writer will talk to Jake Kerridge, crime reviewer for the Daily Telegraph, about the inspiration behind his Rebus novels.

Anna Pasternak – author of Lara: The Untold Love Story that Inspired Dr Zhivago will talk about her great uncle Boris Pasternak and his remarkable life with its many parallels in his writing. Geoffrey Streatfeild will read excerpts from his letters and works.

John Sutherland – author of Blue: Keeping the Peace and Falling Apart and a Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police will be in conversation with Erwin James author of Redeemable: A Memoir of Darkness and Hope, an ex-prisoner convicted of murder who now writes for the Guardian and edits Inside Time (prison newspaper). They will talk about their experiences of crime, punishment and policing and their effects on both their own mental health.

Diana Henry – cookery writer for the Daily Telegraph and author of Simple, will talk about her new book How to Eat a Peach which contains many of Diana’s favourite dishes in menus that will take you through the year and to different parts of the world.

Anne de Courcy – author of The Fishing Fleet, The Viceroy’s Daughters and other social history/biographies will talk about her latest book The Husband Hunters: Social Climbing in London and New York, at the end of the 19th century beginning of the 20th. Think Downtown Abbey.

Adam Kay with Cathy Rentzenbrink – From comedian and former junior doctor, This Is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line, scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends. He will be in conversation with Cathy Rentzenbrink, the writer of Last Act of Love and A Manual for Heartache.

Sir Nigel Shadbolt  –has written The Digital Ape: How smart machines are transforming us all and what we should do about it. An expert in the field of Artificial Intelligence, he will talk about its significance in the future of science and education, and its impact on human life.

Linda Porter, Leanda de Lisle, Lucy Moore – authors of Royal Renegades, The White King: Charles I, and Lady Fanshawe’s Receipt Book. These three highly regarded historians will discuss ‘Royalist Women’.

Daljit Nagra – the author of several poetry anthologies (his latest is The British Museum), teaches poetry at Brunel University and is Radio 4’s poet in residence. He will read from his poems and describe how he became a poet with Radio 4’s poetry editor Emma Harding.

Sam Leith – literary editor of The Spectator (author of Write to the Point) will talk about persuasive writing and the importance of grammar. He will then deliver a workshop for people to produce their own.

Eddie Armer – experienced artist, will lead 3 classes in life drawing throughout the day in the Streatfeild Room.



Jim Al-Khalili – physicist, author of What’s Next and broadcaster on Radio 4’s The Life Scientific will be in conversation with his publisher Andrew Franklin about the future of Science, AI and Robotics.

Kate Mosse – the bestselling author of Labyrinth will be discussing her new historical novel The Burning Chambers set in 16th century France with local author Deborah Lawrenson.

Evan Davis – BBC2’s Newsnight anchor will discuss his book Post-Truth: Why We Have Reached Peak Bullshit and What We Can Do About It, alongside current political events with Channel 5 News presenter Andy Bell.

Leigh Ladies Choir – will perform for the first time, a choral piece specially written for them.


Pericles Theatre Company will return with a musical performance for all the family in the Orangery based on a traditional Romanian fairy tale.

Lauren Child – the new Children’s Laureate will talk about writing and illustrating her prize-winning children’s books including Charlie & Lola, Clarice Bean and Ruby Redfort.

David Melling – author of Hugless Douglas and many other children’s books will read, draw and entertain 3-5yr olds.

Aardman Animations – creators of Wallace and Gromit, Sean the Sheep and their forthcoming film Early Man (Jan 2018) will hold 3 modelling workshops throughout our Family Day.

Story Makers – creative writing and storytelling workshops for children aged 7-11 with Shelley Fallows.

Scoop Magazine – workshop for children aged 7+ on How to make a Magazine with the founder of the beautiful children’s magazine Scoop.


Really Big Pants Theatre Company – return with Plundered! An exciting new performance with pirates, puppets and audience participation.

Cressida Cowell – the hugely popular no. 1 best-selling author of How to Train Your Dragon will talk about her new series for children The Wizards of Once.

Abi Elphinstone – the irrepressible author of The Dreamsnatcher, The Nightspinner and her forthcoming novel Sky Song will enthuse children about reading, writing and exploring their imaginations.

Guy Bass and illustrator Pete Williamson – creators of the Stitch Head series for children will perform an entertaining double act with live drawing.

Philip Ardagh – local author of over 100 books will talk about his new Secret Diary series, which combine history and humour, as told by Jane Pinny, Victorian Housemaid and John Drawbridge Medieval Knight in Training. Perfect for a festival in a castle!

Andrew Clover – comedian, actor and children’s author will perform his hilarious Seven Secrets of Storytelling show.

Notes to Editors.

Address:   Chiddingstone Castle, Chiddingstone, Edenbridge, Kent TN8 7AD