Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and Prue Leith to Headline Cunard’s Literature Festival at Sea

(Left to right): Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith, Prue LeithLuxury cruise line Cunard will return with its Literature Festival at Sea in collaboration with the Cheltenham Literature Festival, The Times and Sunday Times, on flagship Queen Mary 2.

The Literature Festival at Sea is a seven-night Transatlantic Crossing, which departs out of Southampton on December 1 and arrives in New York on December 8, 2020. The event, curated by the programming team at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, will bring together some of the most renowned names in the literary world.

The voyage will be headlined by award-winning authors Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and Prue Leith, who will host talks, workshops and Q&As on board. Guests will be able to listen to some of literature’s greatest writers in conversation about their life and work and get the chance to meet them at intimate author signings.

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

Prue Leith commented, “It’s been a dream to cross the pond on 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.”

In addition, they will be joined by Kate Mosse OBE, Joanne Harris, Simon Armitage, Pam Ayers and Alan Johnson, among others.

Columnists from The Times will be onboard to analyze the latest headlines and the biggest news stories of the year. There will be a program of workshops and master classes for budding writers; literary editors and critics pick their best books of the year; and onboard bibliotherapists will be available to create hand-crafted reading lists for guests.

Josh Leibowitz, SVP Cunard North America, said, “We are excited to once again offer a celebration for book-lovers in a unique setting as they sail across the Atlantic on board our stunning flagship Queen Mary 2. The Transatlantic crossing on Cunard is the perfect time for authors, poets, and artists to gather for readings, discussion and creative ideas.”

(Cunard Line)