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Calling all literature-lovers: The Queen’s Reading Room Festival returns to Hampton Court Palace for another year of fantastic story-telling, brilliant performances and exceptional live shows

A literary festival like no other, immerse yourself in the breathtaking surrounds of Hampton Court Palace as you join family and friends to experience a magical programme of live performance dedicated to the written word, all performed by a host of household names including Helena Bonham-Carter, Miriam Margolyes and best-selling author Harlan Coben. Whether it’s history, crime or the classics that tickle your fancy, The Queen’s Reading Room festival promises to have something for everyone.

So, what exactly can you expect to see at this year’s festival?

Winner of ‘Best New Musical’, Operation Mincemeat is the fast-paced, hilarious and unbelievable true story of the twisted secret mission that won us World War II. Prepare to be entertained as the cast perform two hits from the show, before joining the creatives for a Q&A exploring its ingenious creation.

Classical novel lovers will delight in the insights of Mary Beard and Alex Michaelides as they discuss the complexities of the classical novel, while the celebrated novelist Elif Shafak joins to discuss her latest novel There are Rivers in the Sky. Expect to be captivated as she explores how one lost poem, two great rivers and three remarkable lives could all be connected by a single drop of water.

And sometimes, only a poem will do. In the years since he first had the idea of prescribing short, powerful poems for all manner of spiritual ailments, William Sieghart has taken his Poetry Pharmacy around the length and breadth of Britain. In what is sure to be a mesmerising performance, Helen Bonham Carter and friends will explore poetry to ease loneliness, lack of courage, heartbreak, hopelessness, or even an excess of  ego.

The festival also welcomes back familiar faces such as that of Kate Mosse, the incredible historical novelist. Centring on the extraordinary women of the Second World War – from Irene Sendler, Yukiko Sugihara and Violette Szabo to name just a few – Kate’s unique adaptation of her one-woman show will bring to life some of the unforgettable heroines who stood firm against the evils of the Third Reich.

To crime and thriller fans – don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Join the titans of thriller-writing, Harlan Coben of ‘Fool Me Once’ and Mick Herron of ‘Slow Horses’ fame, as they divulge their most secret tips for writing a page-turning novel that will thrill, chill and fit the bill. Meanwhile, three of our greatest living crime writers – Sir Ian Rankin, Ann Cleeves and Lee Child – will be taking to the stage to discuss the crafting of a perfect crime, the art of creating tension and how to develop compelling characters.

Whether you know him from strutting his stuff on Strictly or ruminating on Radio 4, there’s no doubt that the Great British public loves the Reverend Richard Coles. Join Rev Coles as he tells of how he continues to create wonderful mystery novels that resonate so strongly with his readers.

As the day of festivities draws to a close, Miriam Margolyes will take to the main stage to express her love and deep knowledge of a little-known writer, named Charles Dickens. Expect her to be funny, fascinating and – let’s be honest – probably a little bit naughty as she commands an army of famous friends for an evening of great, great expectations. From Twist to Pip, from Bumble to Marley, Miss Haversham and Peggotty, the cast of great Dickensian novels will be brought to life with fanfare and flourish.

And if you want to experience the beautiful gardens of Hampton Court Palace before The Queen’s Reading Room Festival on the 8th June, Hampton Court Palace’s Tulip Festival is taking place until the 29th April. Stroll through the courtyards and be astonished as over 100,000 tulips bulbs erupt in colour.

We hope to see you at Hampton Court Palace very, very soon.