William Boyd makes his first literary appearance this year at The Independent Bath Literature Festival to discuss his new novel. Waiting for Sunrise is about a young English actor, whose destructive love affair begins in a psychiatrist's waiting room.
He will be joined by Alain de Botton, who, as a non-believer, proposes we look to religions for insights into how to live our lives, in Religion for Atheists. Elsewhere, over the 10-day festival some of the biggest names in literature will come together with cutting-edge thinkers. Ali Smith talks about her new novel, There But For The, about a dinner-party guest who locks himself in a bedroom and Tony Parsons discusses his post as Writer in Residence at Heathrow and his forthcoming novel Catching the Sun. Jeremy Paxman and Lynne Truss will also appear and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy will present poems from her new collection, The Bees, accompanied by John Sampson on recorder and crumhorn.
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, Alan Titchmarsh will read the first chapter of David Copperfield as part of a public reading and Claire Tomalin will be on hand to discuss her biography of the author. Other strands include Esther Freud, Harriet Walter, Stella Rimington, and Joannna Briscoe talking about their latest works, as part of the 100th International Women's Day, for which the public are invited to read the work of 100 women.
A whole weekend will be devoted to Angela Carter, who lived in Bath in the Seventies. On the 20th anniversary of her death, Kim Evans introduces her BAFTA Award winning film Angela Carter's Curious Room, the last interview Carter gave before she died. On opening night, there will be a gala screening of Buster Keaton's classic 66-minute film, College, about a bookworm who attempts to win a girl's heart by becoming sporty. It will be accompanied live by musicians who have never seen the film before – let alone had a rehearsal.
Elsewhere, festival debates with commentators, politicians and journalists will tackle national and global issues such as, are books doomed? Let's hope not.
The Independent Bath Literature Festival (01225 463362) from 2 to 11 March. Independent readers are offered an exclusive weekend of priority ticket booking (7 & 8 January 2012). Please quote INDY2012 when booking. (www.bathlitfest.org.uk)