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Excitement as Cheltenham Literature Festival starts today

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: October 04, 2013

By Jonathan Whiley

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STOP all the clocks. Cut off your mobile phone. And make sure to clear your diary as Cheltenham Literature Festival begins today.

Authors, comedians and sportsmen all descend on the town as one of the highlights of the calendar gets under way.

Over the course of 10 days the spotlight will be cast on all manner of topics, from Gloucestershire's role in the First World War to the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

You only have to cast a glance at this weekend's line-up of events to know that you're in for a treat.

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The big names heading to Imperial and Montpellier Gardens include Queen guitarist and badger campaignerBrian May.

He joins Midge Ure to discuss Live Aid at the Times Forum tonight.

The likes of historian David Starkey, singer Cerys Matthewsand shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander are among the highlights of tomorrow's schedule.

Sunday's programme is no less exciting with Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman discussing all things Pointless, actressEmma Thompson sharing her love of Beatrix Potter as she launches her new book and Alison Steadman looks back on her stellar career with roles including Pamela in classic sitcom, Gavin and Stacey.

Comedian Johnny Vegas reveals his surprising life story on Monday and Strictly Come Dancing's Craig Revel Horwood chats about his new book, Tales From The Dance Floor, on Tuesday.

Amanda Holden drops in to the Town Hall on Tuesday evening to talk about her life and on Wednesday, British institution Richard and Judy talk about their new novels on the back of their highly successful book club.

On Thursday the big names come thick and fast in the form of Julian Clary, Cath Kidston and Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Political guru Alistair Campbell joins 'Queen of Mean' Anne Robinson next Friday for what promises to be a fiery encounter. For tickets for any of the events call 08448 88094.

■Read an interview with author Wilbur Smith in WEEKEND magazine inside the Gloucestershire Echo and Citizen tomorrow ahead of his appearance at the festival.

■ Make sure you pick up a copy of the Echo next week when we'll be giving away five tickets a day to events at the festival including Richard and Judy, Ronnie O'Sullivan and Time Team DIY with Tony Robinson.

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