Alexander McCall Smith and Prue Leith among headliners at Cunard’s Literature Festival at Sea

Award-winning authors Alexander McCall Smith, Prue Leith and Ian Rankin are set to headline Cunard’s Literature Festival at Sea.

Returning for its second year, the event kicks off on December 1, 2020 with a seven-day programme of literary events including talks and workshops aboard the line’s Queen Mary 2 as it sails from Southampton to New York.

“On the great liners of the past, people had time to read books and talk about them. What a magnificent thing it is that Cunard has decided to recreate this,” said McCall Smith.

“I look forward immensely to meeting readers, talking about books, and watching the broad Atlantic go by.”

Leith added: “It’s been a dream to cross the pond on the Queen Mary 2. 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.

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. 

Other famous faces to join the line-up include Kate Mosse OBE, Joanne Harris, Simon Armitage, Pam Ayres and Alan Johnson. 

“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,” said Cunard’s vice president for brand and product, Lee Powell.

“This is a perfect setting for authors, poets, actors and artists to gather for a week of readings, talks, debates and special events.”

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