Cunard’s Literature Festival at Sea returns for 2020

After a successful event last year, Cunard’s Literature Festival at Sea is returning for 2020.

Happening onboard the impressive Queen Mary 2, the festival will see guests embark on a seven-day voyage of literary events and workshops as they cruise between Southampton and New York.

Curated by the programming team at Cheltenham Literature Festival, the event will be headlined by award-winning authors Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and Prue Leith. Also joining the trio will be Kate Mosse OBE, Joanne Harris, Simon Armitage, Pam Ayres and Alan Johnson, amongst others.

Throughout the week guests can listen to some of literature’s greatest writers in conversation and have the chance to meet them at intimate author signings. 

Cunard's Literature Festival at Sea has Alexander McCall Smith as a star guest.

“On the great liners of the past, people had time to read books and talk about them,” explains Alexander McCall Smith. “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 joins Cunard's Literature Festival at Sea.

“It’s been a dream to cross the pond on the Queen Mary 2,” adds Prue Leith. “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.”

Cunard’s Literature Festival at Sea, happening in association with The Times, The Sunday Times and the Cheltenham Literature Festival,  will also review some of the finest reads of the past 12 months from both sides of the Atlantic.

War Stories

“Our week-long literary festival is a celebration for book-lovers in a completely unique setting as they sail across the Atlantic on board the stunning ocean liner Queen Mary 2,” commented Lee Powell, vice president brand and product at Cunard. “This is a perfect setting for authors, poets, actors and artists to gather for a week of readings, talks, debates and special events.”