Vikings descend on Harrogate for History Festival

Viking at Harrogate History Festival (s)
Viking at Harrogate History Festival (s)

Vikings will invade Harrogate in a torch-lit procession on Thursday October 23 to open the Harrogate History Festival.

The festival will open in dramatic style as the Ormsheim Dark Age Re-enactment Group parade from the Festival offices on Cheltenham Parade to the Old Swan Hotel.

The parade will precede the Historical Fiction Awards at 8pm, featuring a presentation for the Outstanding Contribution to Historical Fiction Award, followed by the Festival opening party.

The event builds on Harrogate’s pedigree for world-class literature festivals, brought by Harrogate International Festivals – the team behind the world-famous Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

Giants of the genre include Peter Snow, Sandi Toksvig and Bernard Cornwell. Audiences are invited to explore with leading literary minds on some of the most gripping conflicts, personalities and epic tales in history.

Bernard Cornwell, author of the Sharpe series, adapted to TV with Sean Bean, is travelling from the States for his UK appearance. Other Special Guests include James Naughtie, Elizabeth Chadwick, Elizabeth Fremantle, broadcaster and former presenter of the Late Show Sarah Dunant, Guardian writer Charlotte Higgins, and the author and journalist Stephanie Merritt writing as S.J. Parris. Simon Scarrow will be in conversation with Harry Sidebottom.

Dr Irving Finkel, the Assistant Keeper of the Ancient Mesopotamian script at the British Museum, will discuss his quest to reveal a radical interpretation of the Noah’s Ark myth. Former adventurer and English teacher, Conn Iggulden, whose worldwide smash, Dangerous Book for Boys, was a publishing phenomenon also headlines with his War of the Roses series.

Panels include ‘New Blood’ showcasing the best new historical writers, the role of the supernatural, and an exploration of Vikings in an age of blood and poetry. Panel authors include Toby Clements, Robert Goddard and Michael Ridpath.

’50 Shades of Grail’ debunks the myths and legends that dominate history, and for Downton fans there is a fascinating discussion on social history in ‘If Walls Could Talk’ through the eyes of those who served, featuring Dr Pamela Cox, author and TV presenter of the BBC’s Shopgirls: The True Story of Life Behind the Counter.

For individual tickets, day rovers or weekend rovers, visit http://harrogateinternationalfestivals.com or call the Box Office on 01423 562303.