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From comedy to music and poetry to adult fairytales, York’s storytelling jamboree is back.

The York Literature Festival runs from March 16-30 promoting the best of books and writing.

There are some big names this year, and also lots of interesting talks, walks, workshops and performances. Tickets are selling fast – the event with Bake Off star Sue Perkins has long been sold out.

Here’s a few of the highlights.

Mark Gatiss in Conversation

Mark Gatiss as Mycroft Holmes in Sherlock. Photograph: BBC/ Hartswood Films/ Robert Viglasky

Grand Opera House

Mar 18, 3.00pm

£15

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Mark paved his way for success in the comedy troupe The League of Gentlemen and has not only appeared in Doctor Who but has written scripts for no fewer than four doctors. Then he co-created the hit Sherlock in which he plays Mycroft Holmes. He will be in conversation with author Robert Ross.

Joanne Harris and the #Storytime Band

De Grey Rooms

Mar 16, 7.30pm

£14

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The Chocolat author Joanne Harris created a new live storytelling spectacle via Twitter. Posting stories as she thought them up in 140-character Tweets led to a whole book of stories. This live show launching the 2017 festival will feature some tales from the book along with original music from her band.

Fairytales for Grown Ups

York Theatre Royal

Mar 18, 8.00pm

£12

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Four lesser known Grimm tales have been transformed into fairytales for grown-ups by Ben Haggarty. The night will offer an escape into a magical world including forbidden doors, betrayal and even talking skulls.

The Yorkshire Rows

All at sea, but in control: the Yorkshire Rows in mid-Atlantic

St Peter’s School

Mar 30, 7.00pm

£8

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Four ‘ordinary’ mums from Yorkshire proved that they are anything but ordinary when they rowed across the Atlantic. Their record-breaking tale is told in Four Mums In A Boat – and here’s your chance to meet these incredible ladies and goggle at their achievements.

Michael Palin in Conversation

Python, traveller, writer, actor and all round top guy… Michael Palin

Grand Opera House

Mar 18, 7.00pm

£22.50

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Python Michael Palin was the key creative force behind some of the silliest sketches ever filmed, from the fish-slapping dance to the lumberjack song. A star of films including A Fish Called Wanda opposite John Cleese, showbiz nice guy Michael went on to charm TV audiences with his compelling travelogues. He will also be in conversation with Robert Ross.

Poetry Competition winners

Friargate Theatre

Mar 26, 7.00pm

Free

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The results of the poetry competition, run by YorkMix and the Lit Fest together, will be announced by Antony Dunn. Winning poets will collect their prizes and read their pieces followed by a reading from Antony of some of his own work.

Tim Hopgood

York Explore Library

Mar 18, 2.00pm

£3

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For the little lit lovers, award winner Tim Hopgood will be reading his best-selling book Wow! Said the Owl and conducting some owl themed craft projects. This is perfect for 3 to 6 year olds who love stories and drawing.

Ann Widdecombe

Controversial politician turned writer Ann Widdecombe

St Peter’s School

Mar 21, 7pm

£10

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If you have managed to recover from those disturbing images of Ann Widdecombe being dragged along the ballroom floor in Strictly, then pop down and listen to her talking about her controversial political career, her books and more.

Reverand Richard Coles

Rocker turned preacher Richard Coles

St Peter’s School

Sun Mar 26 @ 7.30pm

£7.50

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A late addition to the York Lit Fest programme, Richard Coles brings it all – sex, drugs, rock’n’roll and religion. A former chart-topper with the Communards, the Rev Coles is now a familiar voice on BBC Radio 4 as well as the author of several books.

York Station Stories

York St John University

Tue Mar 21 @ 7pm

Free

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The Quad South Hall at York St John is transformed for a couple of hours into York Railway Station, where you will become immersed in the lives of those who pass through it. Students have created this celebratory journey through modern Britain.

Jonathan Dimbleby’s war stories

St Peter’s School

Wed Mar 29 @ 7pm

£10

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Broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby will be talking about his book The Battle of the Atlantic: How the Allies Won the War. If the German U-boats had prevailed, the outcome of the conflict could have been very different. As the author might say himself, any questions?

Eating With Victoria: A Greedy Queen

Queen Victoria, as portrayed by Jenna Coleman in the recent ITV series. Photograph: ITV

Fairfax House

Fri Mar 17

£14

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She may not have been amused by many things, but Queen Victoria was a happy eater. Food historian Dr Annie Gray will talk about her culinary biography of the monarch, and reveal her large appetites – and you get a glass of wine thrown in with the ticket price.

An Audience with Gervase Phinn

St Peter’s School

Mar 19, 6.00pm

£7.50

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Comedy, poetry, stories, educational books, you name it, Gervase Phinn has done it. The Yorkshire author of whimsical book series Little Village School will be sharing his wide range of experiences.

Sam Preece

Sam Preece

Sam is a 21 year old with a passion for both local and established music. Loves all things entertainment in York and always interested in things that affect the city.

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