Alan’s

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Times/Sunday Times Literature Festival at Sea

December 18, 2023

This messy group photograph is of the authors who crossed the Atlantic from Southampton to New York at the end of November on what was in essence the Cheltenham Literature Festival at sea. As one of the organisers said, “We now call Cheltenham, our land-based festival.”

Some on this trip were longing to be back on terra firma almost as soon as we set sail. The Queen Mary 2 is huge but so were the waves. Even some of the ships officers were seasick! But that was an unusually bad storm and amazingly the whole thing worked! The 2,500 passengers had a great time and the camaraderie amongst the writers was superb.

Those writers included Alan Titchmarsh, Val McDermid, Danny Finkelstein and Lynda La Plante. As well as talking about my books, I was involved in discussions on poetry, the Beatles and growing old disgracefully! Great fun and a wonderful bunch of people to be with.

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