Award-winning authors to headline Cunard’s literature festival at sea

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Award-winning authors Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and Prue Leith will host talks, workshops and Q&As on board during Cunard’s literature festival at sea. The literary voyage, arranged in collaboration with the Cheltenham Literature Festival, The Times and The Sunday Times, will sail from Southhampton, UK, on 1 December 2020, arriving in New York on 8 December 2020.

(Left to right): Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith, Prue Leith

Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president of Cunard North America, says, “We are excited to once again offer a celebration for book-lovers in a unique setting as they sail across the Atlantic on board our stunning flagship Queen Mary 2. The Transatlantic crossing on Cunard is the perfect time for authors, poets, and artists to gather for readings, discussion and creative ideas.”

Guests will be able to listen to writers in a conversation about their life and work and get the chance to meet them at intimate author signings.

Alexander McCall Smith says, “On the great liners of the past, people had time to read books and talk about them. What a magnificent thing it is that Cunard has decided to recreate this. I look forward immensely to meeting readers, talking about books, and watching the broad Atlantic go by.”

Prue Leith comments, “It’s been a dream to cross the pond on Queen Mary 2. I love literary festivals because the audience are interesting readers, and one’s fellow speakers are, like me, delighted to take a break from solitary writing and join the chatting, eating, drinking real world — if a luxury liner par excellence can be called the real world.”

The authors will be joined by Kate Mosse OBE, Joanne Harris, Simon Armitage, Pam Ayers and Alan Johnson, among others. Columnists from The Times will be onboard to analyse the latest headlines and the biggest news stories of the year. There will also be a program of workshops and masterclasses for budding writers; literary editors and critics pick their best books of the year; onboard bibliotherapists will be available to create hand-crafted reading lists for guests.

Images: Cunard

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Marisa has been writing about transport design and the passenger experience since 2013 and is also a contributor to sister titles Aircraft Interiors International and Business Jet Interiors International. She has travelled the world extensively by car, plane, train and cruise liner.

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