Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Richmond Literature Festival has established itself as an arts and culture giant. Events run throughout November at venues around Richmond, featuring a diverse range of celebrated poets, authors, critics, spoken word artists, art historians, biographers, collectors, directors, broadcasters and more.
The programme is far too extensive to list here, so I'll pick out just a few of the highlights to give an idea. On Saturday 12 November, Lisa Chaney discusses her biography of Chanel over cocktails at the Bingham hotel. On Thursday 17 November, Sandy Nairne, former director of programmes at Tate, tells the cloak-and-dagger story of his involvement in tracking down stolen artworks. Friday 18 brings together historian Hallie Rubenhold and author Rosie Thomas for a panel discussion about sex and taboo in fiction. On Sunday 20 Jeremy Paxman and Ben Monroe Davis explore the legacies of the British Empire.
I'll stop there - but do check out the full programme, as there are just loads of fantastic events. In addition to the main schedule, there's also a series of special young people's events running throughout, as well as the Fringe Festival run in partnership with poetry organisation Apples & Snakes.
Many of this year's readings are themed around the Thames, which connects together many of the venues. On Friday 4 November, the river itself becomes the venue - the Fringe Festival 20th Birthday Party is on board the Richmond Royale, departing from Saint Helena Pier. Writers will be performing and playing music, and the star guest is Culture Show presenter Michael Smith, reading a specially commissioned piece.
For foodies, Ham House is hosting a weekend full of special events on Saturday 26 and Saturday 27, including an interactive Edwardian tea party (or salon du thé) which combines sumptuous fine dining with performances from Gideon Reeling theatre company.
I really could go on - the programme is a veritable cultural banquet of performance and debate. But instead I'll just direct you once again to the programme, so you can choose your own literary feast.