Andi Oliver, Miquita Oliver and Damian Barr to present Sky Arts Live at Cheltenham Literature Festival as Sky Arts festival activities announced

Andi Oliver, Miquita Oliver and Damian Barr will present Sky Arts Live at Cheltenham Literature Festival, a packed week of dedicated programming from The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2019, which will air on Sky Arts daily from Monday 7 October-Sunday 13 October between 7pm-10pm.

All the action and activities will be bought to Sky Arts audiences from the onsite Sky Arts pop up studio where Andi Oliver and Damian Barr will be presenting, while Miquita Oliver will be out and about reporting. Andi Oliver will be interviewing key festival guests while Damian Barr will be hosting the Book Banquet, in which prominent authors discuss a range of books, from those that whet the literary appetite to guilty pleasures.  Damian will also act as the Book Doctor, diagnosing the reading habits of a variety of festival guests.

Andi Oliver and Miquita Oliver said: “Miquita & I are so thrilled to be hosting Sky Arts’ coverage of the Cheltenham Literature Festival alongside Damian Barr this year. For an entire week the festival will be home to a hugely rich and varied collection of literary voices and we can’t wait to dive in amongst them all!”

Damian Barr said:Cheltenham was the first literary festival in the world and remains one of the most exciting - it’s one big conversation.  It’s thrilling that Sky Arts will continue that pioneering spirit by broadcasting the festival live, for the first time, in its 70th year. I am so excited to be part of the team bringing viewers a taste of all the literary fabulousness happening on and off stage. It’s a festival like no other and our show will be just as surprising and rewarding.”

This year is the 70th Anniversary of the festival, and to mark the occasion Sky Arts have asked historian Dominic Sandbrook to look back over the festival’s 70 years and talk about key books from each of its seven decades in Leafing Through the Decades.

Cheltenham is the world’s oldest literary festival, drawing in leading novelists, poets, comedians, historians, philosophers, actors and politicians from around the world.  Among the names confirmed to take part in this year’s Festival are Debbie Harry, Tessa Hadley, Louis Theroux, Helena Bonham Carter, David Cameron, Richard Ayoade, Candice Carty-Williams, Melvyn Bragg, Celeste Ng, James O'Brien, Lenny Henry, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Malorie Blackman and Cressida Cowell. 

Sky Arts can today reveal a wide range of specially curated activities which will take place in the onsite Sky Arts pop up studio. With the workshops being offered on a first come first served basis and details on how to participate being advertised on the day, visitors will be given the opportunity to try their hands at various techniques and skills related to literature, reading, books and writing:

Letterpress Workshop: Run by Cherry Press, learn how to create and print your own posters in this dedicated workshop, and be guided through how to use the pencil and note card printing stations. Visitors will leave with their poster, hot foil printed pencils, and hot foil printed note cards and envelopes.

Calligraphy: A beginner’s workshop, dipping your nibs into the world of Modern Calligraphy with lettering artist and stationery designer, Alice Gabb. Visitors will be guided through a brief introduction on how to use the nib and ink, moving onto practice exercises, and finally to letterforms, with Alice's wealth of tips and tricks to help you along the way.

Book Illustrating: A workshop designed to introduce the world of illustration and illustrated book making. By the end of the session participants will have experimented new ways of combining words and pictures, explored different methods for making illustrated books and have created their own miniature illustrated book to take home. The workshop will be run by Millie Nice, an illustrator and educator with over five years’ experience teaching illustration.

This workshop is suitable for all ages and can be adapted to adult or family groups.

Hardback Bookbinding with the London Centre for Book Arts: In this workshop participants will learn how to create by hand a classic “hardback” notebook, with either lined or plain paper inside pages, and their choice of cloth for the cover. Participants will leave with their own hand bound book, and the skills to make more at home using minimal equipment.

How to Write a Successful Blog: A seminar style session, run by Niamh Shields a food writer, and one of the UK’s best-known food bloggers. Niamh will give visitors the toolkit to start their blog. What is a blog? Why start a blog? Learn how to establish your brand, become a better writer, improve your photography skills and learn how to edit.

Story Telling Through Instagram: A brief introduction to how Instagram lends itself to storytelling and which features of the app are best for it. Learn how to tell a good story, create great content and get tips for mixing images and videos. Understand how long they should be and what the best apps are to use. The workshop will be taught by Julie Falconer, who runs the award-winning travel and lifestyle blog, A Lady in London.

Rap Poetry: Rap is a great tool and can act as a therapeutic outlet to build self-confidence through writing, performance and can inspire creativity. This Rap Therapy workshop is designed to improve your literacy skills, challenge you beyond imagination and expose you to creative writing techniques and different expressive forms through self-written raps. The session will be run by Rap Therapy (www.raptherapy.co.uk)

Continuing the ‘Book Doctor’ theme, outside of the Festival Sky Arts are creating a co-branded experiential activation called The Book Doctor Live which will tour regional shopping centres around the UK in the run up to and during the Festival, creating a pop-up reading space for children and adults. The initiative is to encourage reading and help drive footfall to local libraries.

Visitors will get to have an appointment with a Book Doctor who will recommend a book for them, there will be storytelling sessions for children, as well as 70 classic books available to download for free.

The Book Doctors at each venue will be made up of local librarians or partners from Cheltenham Festival’s Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils scheme. https://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/education/take...

The Book Doctor Live will visit Manchester Arndale (28 September), Birmingham Bull Ring (29 September), Newcastle Metrocentre (5 October), Glasgow Braehead (6 October) Westfield Stratford (12 October) and Lakeside (13 October).

The world’s first literature festival still leads the way in celebrating the written and spoken word, presenting the best new voices in fiction and poetry alongside literary greats and high-profile speakers. It inspires over 9,000 school children who visit the Festival with a love of books, plus thousands more through its year-round education programme.

Live at Cheltenham Literature Festival was commissioned by Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content, Sky UK and Ireland and Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Entertainment. The series will be made by Storyvault and the commissioning editor for Sky is Bill Hobbins.  The executive producers for Storyvault are Sam Richards and Danielle Graham.

Sky Arts is the UK’s only dedicated channel for the arts. It offers something for everyone, whatever their passion, with entertaining programmes showcasing the best of classical and popular music, theatre, opera, dance and the visual arts, as well as original drama and comedy. Sky Arts is broadcast 24 hours a day and has over 1,000 hours available on catch-up TV, including flagship programmes such as Portrait Artist of The Year, Landscape Artist of the Year and The South Bank Show.

For further information please contact

Esther Beaumont - esther.beaumont@premiercomms.com / 0207 292 7396

Katie French – katie.french@premiercomms.com / 0207 292 6460

Jenny Carroll – jenny.carroll@premiercomms.com / 0207 292 8346

About Sky Arts

Sky Arts is the UK’s only dedicated channel for the arts. It offers something for everyone, whatever their passion, with entertaining programmes showcasing the best of classical and popular music, theatre, opera, dance and the visual arts, as well as original drama and comedy. Sky Arts is broadcast 24 hours a day and has over 1,000 hours available on catch-up TV, including flagship programmes such as Portrait Artist of The Year, Landscape Artist of the Year and The South Bank Show.

The channel is committed to supporting the arts by investing in the best talent, both on and off screen, as well as through exclusive partnerships with major UK and European cultural institutions, including National Theatre Live, Tate and The British Library.

Sky is Europe's leading entertainment company, serving 23 million customers across seven countries - UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. The company had annual reported revenues of £12.9 billion in 2016/17, and is Europe’s leading investor in television content with an annual programming spend of around £7 billion.  Sky has over 31,000 employees and is listed as one of The Times Top 50 employers for women, as well as being recognised in the Stonewall list of Top 50 LGBT-inclusive employers. Sky is listed on the London Stock Exchange (SKY).

About NOW TV

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About Storyvault Films

Storyvault Films is an independent TV production company making a wide range of high-quality factual and factual-entertainment programmes for all the major TV channels in the UK and for international distribution.  Current and recent credits include six series of “Portrait Artist of the Year” and five series of “Landscape Artist of the year” for Sky Arts. Storyvault also produced ART 50 in which Sky Arts commissioned 50 works of art, dance, music and film, all expressing something new about Britain post-Brexit. Other recent shows include the award-winning “The Football Club” for Channel 4, a number of well-reviewed episodes of “Imagine” for BBC 1 and “Vive La Revolution” for BBC 4.  Storyvault’s recent feature “Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don’t Know Me” is in cinemas and available on Sky, Showtime and the BBC.

About The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

The world’s first literature festival celebrates its 70th birthday in 2019. It still leads the way in celebrating the written and spoken word, presenting the best new voices in fiction and poetry alongside literary greats and high-profile speakers, while inspiring over 9,000 school children with a love of books. All set in a beautiful Regency town with free pop-up events galore and festivities continuing late into the night.

The Cheltenham Literature Festival is part of Cheltenham Festivals - a charity delivering a pioneering year-round educational programme.  Its flagship Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils outreach project is being rolled out nationally this year enabling teachers and their pupils to rediscover the joy of reading. The award-winning Beyond Words is a creative writing project working with vulnerable young people unable to access mainstream education in Gloucestershire. http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature