Announcing Kenilworth Arts Festival 2018

Prize-winning novelists and acclaimed international musicians dominate third festival.

Great British Bake Off finalist , 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 (Thursday 20th to Saturday 29 September 2018, Kenilworth, Warwickshire).

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

For ten days, 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 (20th September, 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 (pictured – 21st September). She’s followed by appearances from Elbow-approved Californian singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop (28th Septemb er), and Bon Iver associate S. Carey (29th September), whose growing fan base includes Sufjan Stevens and Taylor Swift.

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

A new addition to the festival programme this year is a weekend of literary events (22nd-23rd September), 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.

The festival’s Creative Director Lewis Smith, 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 thirty 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 tem days.”

Other highlights across the festival include best-selling nature writer John Lewis-Stempel (25th September, Talisman Theatre), an art and craft market in Abbey End (23rd September), and family theatre from Bristol-based Wardrobe Ensemble (23rd September, Kenilworth School), while leading regional guests include poets from Birmingham-based Verve Poetry Press, Leamington Spa’s Harriet Cummings, Warwickshire writer Patrick Kincaid, and Birmingham’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: