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More names added to Rochdale’s literature festival line-up

19 July 2017

Alan Johnson

More headline guests are on the line-up for this year's Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival.

The 7 day festival in October 2017 will include humanitarian and author Terry Waite CBE, former Home Secretary and MP Alan Johnson, along with one of the UK's best loved crime writers, Mandasue Heller.

26 years ago, Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie's special envoy Terry Waite, was released from captivity in Beirut, after being held hostage for almost five years. During the festival he'll be recalling the highs and lows of his life, published in 'Out of the Silence' his moving sequence of poems and reflections. You'll be able to hear his incredible journey, immortalised in his best-selling autobiography 'Taken on Trust'.

Alan Johnson will be making his Rochdale debut to discuss the third volume of his award-winning memoirs.  Following on from his early life recounted in This Boy and Please, Mister Postman, The Long and Winding Road takes us to the corridors of Westminster where his negotiating skills and charismatic style soon came to the notice of Tony Blair and other senior members of the Labour Party. Entering Parliament as an MP after the landslide election victory in May 1997, Alan rose to the office of Home Secretary in 2009.

Mandasue Heller will be discussing 'Run,' her 15th novel in 15 years - a gritty, fast-paced, urban thriller based in Manchester's criminal underworld. Warrington-born Mandasue, dubbed "the Martina Cole of the north", moved to Greater Manchester in the 1980s where she found the inspiration and backdrop for her crime thrillers. Her 2015 novel, Afraid, was a Sunday Times top-ten bestseller and her books have already sold nearly 2 million copies.

Terry Waite CBE, Alan Johnson and Mandasue Heller join a line-up which also includes talk show legend Sir Michael Parkinson, comedian and novelist Jenny Eclair and Manchester poet Tony Walsh aka Longfella. 

Further details of the programme will be announced shortly and tickets go on sale at 10am on 7 August 2017 from the festival website.

The festival will run from Tuesday 17 to Monday 23 October 2017 and we're promising another packed week of exciting arts for all ages.

'we have so much ambition for this festival and I am very proud to see it growing each year'

Events will cover drama, comedy, poetry, spoken word, visual arts and children's shows. For young people aged 14 to 25, another 'Generation Z' programme is being put together.

Councillor Janet Emsley our Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Community and Culture said:

"Once again as you can see, the calibre of our line-up is of the very best and here we have three more fascinating additions to the programme.  Feedback so far has been fantastic … we have so much ambition for this festival and I am very proud to see it growing each year.  Our popular early bird ticket offer will also be returning in August, making what is already a great value festival even more affordable if you book well in advance."

The festival will include guest speakers and writers and is aimed at celebrating and promoting the Maskew Collection of classic literature and philosophy at Rochdale Central Library, encouraging people to engage with books and ideas. Annie and Frank Maskew, a Rochdale couple who shared a passion for reading and thinking, met in Rochdale Library in the 1950s and left a sum of money to be used on resources and events related to literature and philosophy to ensure classic works are available for future generations.

For festival updates on Twitter connect with @RochdaleLitFest

The festival is organised by us, supported by the Maskew Bequest and sponsored by The Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre and creative digital media company - JGM Agency