This years event will run from the 2nd to the 11th October 2015. Formed in 1949, The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is the longest-running festival of its kind in the world. The Festival was started by the Spa Manager George Wilkinson, in conjunction with the Tewkesbury-based author John Moore, who served as its first director. Actor Ralph Richardson, who was born in Cheltenham, launched the festival, and poet Cecil Day-Lewis, who taught at Cheltenham College, read a selection of contemporary verse. The Festival currently has the national newspaper 'The Times' and Sunday Times as its 'title' sponsor: therefore making the full name of the festival "The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival". The Festival's current Artistic Director is Sarah Smyth and its Festival Director is Jane Furze.
The 2014 festival took place from October 3- 12 2014 and was led by Guest Directors Shami Chakrabarti, Omid Djalili, Amit Chaudhuri, Sophie Hannah and Michael Rosen. In its varied programme of over 500 events, the Festival touched upon subjects as diverse as history, politics, sport, food and fashion.
The theme of the 2014 Festival was Brave New Worlds, which asks big questions such as: Is democracy at risk? Is technology changing our brains? What future for words? What does the next century hold?
The Festival prides itself in showcasing the biggest names from contemporary culture with award- winning authors, up-and-coming writing talent and controversial debate. The 2013 Literature Festival issued around 135,000 tickets. the Festival remains one of the most prestigious literary events in the world.
The festival also sees the presentation each year of the Nick Clarke Award for best broadcast interview, as well welcoming literary prize winners to discuss their most recent work.