The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival (5-14 October) may be the best of its kind in the known universe. Established in 1949, this year its attractive image features a hand, with, on each finger, a word - not just a word, but a word doing something. This bold hand urges us to: "Question, Debate, Discover, Engage, Enjoy". Literature could also do with the following Prison Breakesque body-commands on its other hand: Learn, Change, Create, Critique, Share.
This year will feature an astonishing range of writers and bookish figures from across the tiny planet we call home (as we say), including, yes, myself. More on that in a minute. Others appearing include: Alan Alda, Al Alvarez, Martin Amis, Margaret Atwood, Iain Banks, Pat Barker, Simon Callow, Douglas Coupland, Alain de Botton, Sebastian Faulks, AA Gill, Stephen Hawking, Nick Hornby, Mimi Khalvati, Galway Kinnell, Naomi Klein, Ken Loach, Ian McEwan, Daljit Nagra, Michael Ondaatje, Steven Pinker, Craig Raine, General Sir Michael Rose, Helen Thomas, Lynne Truss, Michael Wood, Xinran and Johnny Zucker.
It is an honour to appear. And appear I did, for the official launch of Life Lines 2: Poets for Oxfam, which I edited. It was at the Town Hall, 5 October 2007, from 7.30-8.30 pm, with talk and poetry readings from myself, Michael Rosen and Kate Clanchy. I am now back in London.