Our full list of speakers and events will soon be posted. This year we have another very broad range of talks, discussions, debtates and study mornings, from the dinosaurs right through to the the Cold War and beyond. There will be eminent historians, experts in their fields, brilliant communicators and performers, and some very familiar faces too. We are delighted to have musical legend Mark Knopfler as well as Peter Mandelson, one of the most influential politicians of recent years. Professor Niall Ferguson, Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe, and Professor Hew Strachan will be speaking at the festival for the first time, and there are welcome returns for Professor Sir Ian Kershaw and Professor Lord Peter Hennessy. Melvyn Bragg will be making his first appearance, while there will also be a number of talks on the history of art and gardens, great adventuers, Tudors and Stuarts, the Crusades, as well as Shakespeare, the birth of ideas and the Englightenment. There are some old friends coming back too, not least Ian Hislop, Dan Snow, Alice Roberts, Michael Wood and Charlie Higson.
There are hard-hitting discussions on contemporary issues, placing them in their historical context, as well as our Histrionics comedy panel show, and a number of events specifically for children.
We have been very lucky to have had a number of veterans of the Second World War speak at the festival, and this year is no exception. For the first time, we are thrilled to be welcoming Herr Gunter Halm, a German veteran of North Africa and Normandy and a Knight’s Cross winner – awarded to him in person by Field Marshal Rommel back in 1942. Johnny Johnson, the last surviving Dam Buster, will also be discussing the Dams Raid and his time in Bomber Command, while Joy Hunter, one of Churchill’s wartime secretaries, will be discussing with Andrew Roberts her memories of working for the Prime Minister and the incredible events she witnessed and people she met. We are also delighted that Field Marshal Lord Bramall, who began his army career during the war and who landed in Normandy on D-Day, will be talking about his memories of those days as well post-war Japan, Malaya and other aspects of his incredibly long and distinguished career.