Prize-winning novelists and acclaimed international musicians on bill for third Kenilworth Arts Festival

Zoe Rahman
Zoe Rahman

Great British Bake Off finalist Ruby Tandoh, MOBO Award-winning pianist Zoe Rahman, and Man Booker Prize nominated author Donal Ryan are among the guests lined up for the third Kenilworth Arts Festival next month.

Joining them on the bill are over 40 other acclaimed writers, musicians and artists including US songwriter S. Carey, nature writer John Lewis-Stempel, and novelist Fiona Mozley.

Ruby Tandoh

Ruby Tandoh

For ten days between Thursday September 20 to Saturday 29 Kenilworth will be transformed into a hive of creativity, with live music, author talks, panel discussions, workshops and exhibitions, taking place in a range of venues around the historic Warwickshire town – from intimate bookshops to the magnificent 900-year-old castle.

The festival kicks off with an appearance from Great British Bake Off 2013 finalist Ruby Tandoh (20 Sep, Talisman Theatre). The revered food writer will be talking about her latest book, Eat Up!, which celebrates the fun and pleasure of food, and arms readers against expensive fad diets and food crazes.

Music events include a trio of concerts at the newly renovated St John’s Church beginning with MOBO and Jazz Award winning pianist and composer Zoe Rahman (21 Sep). She’s followed by appearances from Elbow approved Californian singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop (28 Sep), and Bon Iver associate S. Carey (29 Sep), whose growing fan base includes Sufjan Stevens and Taylor Swift!

Meanwhile, Kenilworth Castle’s Tudor Stables welcomes acoustic duo Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker (27 Sep), and multi-instrumentalist Erland Cooper takes his mesmerising blend of classic, alternative and electronic music to St. Nicholas’ Church (26 Sep).

Donal Ryan (c) Anthony Woods 2014

Donal Ryan (c) Anthony Woods 2014

A new addition to the festival programme this year is a weekend of literary events (22-23 Sep), held at Priory Theatre. A succession of highly regarded and inspiring authors will be in attendance, including Kamila Shamsie, the winner of this year’s Women’s Prize For Fiction for Home Fire (a thrilling retelling of Sophocles’ Antigone); best-selling children’s author Kiran Millwood Hargrave; and Fiona Mozley, who became an overnight literary sensation when her debut novel, Elmet, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017.

Also present will be Irish writer Donal Ryan, whose From A Low And Quiet Sea is nominated for this year’s the Man Booker Prize (his second nomination following a listing for 2013’s The Spinning Heart). He’ll be in conversation with Birmingham-born Kit de Waal, whose third novel, The Trick To Time, was long-listed for the Women’s Prize For Fiction 2018.

The weekend will also feature a book launch for Sarah Moss’ Ghost Walk, as well as a number of other panel discussions and showcase events.

Lewis Smith, Creative Director of Kenilworth Arts Festival, said: “At the heart of Kenilworth Arts Festival is a desire to celebrate high quality, original work within the contemporary arts.

“I’m very proud of this year’s line-up, which features four Man Booker prize nominated novelists, plus a dazzling array of internationally-acclaimed musicians, writers, and visual artists from around the UK and beyond. With over 30 events taking place during the festival - including a range of fantastic family activities - this year’s programme is our biggest and best yet. It promises to be a very special 10 days.”

Other highlights across the 10 days include best-selling nature writer John Lewis-Stempel (25 Sep, Talisman Theatre), an art and craft market in Abbey End (23 Sep), and family theatre from Bristol-based Wardrobe Ensemble (23 Sep, Kenilworth School), while leading regional guests include poets from Birmingham-based Verve Poetry Press, Leamington Spa’s Harriet Cummings, Warwickshire writer Patrick Kincaid, and Brum’s Mike Gayle - whose The Man I Think I Know is set in and around Coventry and Kenilworth.

Kenilworth Arts Festival tickets are on sale now, with prices ranging from £7 (for one-off events) to £45 (for a Literary Weekend Pass). For more information, including the full line-up, see www.kenilworthartsfestival.co.uk