Will Young and Ed Balls join Cambridge Literary Festival's spring 2022 line-up

Will Young and Ed Balls will both take part in the Cambridge Literary Festival's Spring Festival 2022.

Will Young and Ed Balls will both take part in the Cambridge Literary Festival's Spring Festival 2022. - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Literary Festival / Nicky Johnson

Singer Will Young and former Labour frontbencher Ed Balls are among the latest names announced for the forthcoming Cambridge Literary Festival.

Singer Will Young's new book Be Yourself and Happier is published on April 21.

Singer Will Young's new book Be Yourself and Happier is published on April 21. - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Literary Festival.

Pop Idol winner and Leave Right Now chart-topper Will Young joins an exhilarating line-up of authors for Cambridge Literary Festival’s first in-person festival since 2019.

CLF's Spring Festival 2022 will take place at various venues across Cambridge from Wednesday, April 20 to Sunday, April 24.

Will Young will be talking at The Cambridge Union on Sunday, April 24 from 6pm, with the event also being livestreamed. 

Twenty years ago, the singer became the first winner of Pop Idol, reaching millions with his beautiful voice.

Today, Will is also a leading voice in mental health awareness, particularly within the LGBTQ+ community.

Revealing his own vulnerabilities along the way, Will delights Cambridge Literary Festival audiences with his new book, Be Yourself and Happier: The A-Z of Wellbeing.

Former Labour MP and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Ed Balls

Former Labour MP and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Ed Balls - Credit: Nicky Johnson

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Also joining the CLF line-up is former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls with his memoir Appetite, a heart-warming work which blends memories with recipes – part autobiography, part cookbook. 

Former MP Ed Balls is scheduled for The Cambridge Union on Friday, April 22 at 8pm.

They join a festival line-up already featuring former Watford, Liverpool and England winger John Barnes.

Ex-England and Liverpool footballer John Barnes.

Ex-England and Liverpool footballer John Barnes. - Credit: Fabio De Paola

The football legend exposes The Uncomfortable Truth about Racism in Britain today in his conversation with New Statesman Editor-in-Chief Jason Cowley at The Cambridge Union on Saturday, April 23 at 6pm.

Susan Sellers, literature Professor at St Andrews University, enchants with her novel Firebird: A Bloomsbury Love Story, which transports readers to the heart of Virginia Woolf’s inner circle.

Susan Sellers take part in the Cambridge Literary Festival's Spring Festival 2022.

Susan Sellers takes part in the Cambridge Literary Festival's Spring Festival 2022 - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Literary Festival

The festival attracts writers and thinkers from across the world, but it also has speakers who are based in Cambridge and surrounding areas, as well as alumni of Cambridge University.

Susan Sellers, Parwana Fayyaz, and Kübra Gümüşay all currently live or work in Cambridge, which boasts one of the most exciting literary scenes in the entire world.

Proving this point is literary legend Ali Smith, who charms with her dazzling work Companion Piece. 

Kübra Gümüşay, Cambridge University scholar and acclaimed writer, joins translator Parwana Fayyaz to introduce My Pen is the Wing of a Bird, a pioneering collection of short stories by Afghan women.

Parwana Fayyaz will take part in the Cambridge Literary Festival Spring Festival.

Parwana Fayyaz will take part in the Cambridge Literary Festival Spring Festival 2022. - Credit: Supplied by Cambridge Literary Festival

Also joining the festival is Jo Browning Wroe, whose heart-breaking debut A Terrible Kindness became an instant Sunday Times bestseller and one of the season’s most talked-about novels.

Selwyn College alumna Lola Olufemi breaks new ground with her Experiments in Imagining Otherwise.

Writer Kiran Millwood Hargrave and illustrator Tom de Freston, who met at Cambridge University, introduce children to the joy of reading with their phenomenal Julia and the Shark as does Peterhouse College alumnus Christopher Lloyd with his friendly and timely children’s book It’s Up to Us.

Homerton College Principal Simon Woolley, the first black man to head an Oxbridge college, will stun audiences with his unbelievable life story.

Philosophy Professor Clare Chambers argues that we should love our bodies just as they are, while art historians Frances Spalding and James Fox treat us to visual feasts.

Politics Professor Helen Thompson navigates political Disorder, and Lucy Ward presents pioneering research on Empress Catherine the Great.

Other festival highlights include winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Abdulrazak Gurnah, making a hotly-anticipated appearance to discuss Afterlives, his riveting new novel about how German colonial rule disrupted lives in Tanzania.

The line-up also includes Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart with his achingly tender love story Young Mungo. 

Booker Prize winner Julian Barnes looks to the past and finds poignancy in the present with his thought-provoking novel Elizabeth Finch.

Likewise transporting readers back in time are historical novelists Patrick Gale and Sunday Times bestselling author Dame Rose Tremain.

Looking to the future, extraordinary debut novelists Kieran Goddard and Ayanna Lloyd Banwo take the stage alongside established literary greats.

Junior Doctor Roopa Farooki shares her intensely personal Story of Life, Death and Grief in a Time of Pandemic, while political satirist John Crace reminds us that we must find a way to laugh at even the darkest of times.

Author Michael Morpurgo says Farms for City Children is his 'greatest story'

There will be storytelling and poetry with author Michael Morpurgo at the Cambridge Literary Festival - Credit: Phil Crow

On a lighter note, Joe Swift celebrates spring with his new series of expert gardening guides, while former Children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo provides fun for the whole family with The Carnival of Animals thanks to the generous support of Bidwells Property Consultants, who sponsor the Cambridge Literary Festival’s Children's Programme.

The full programme and booking is now open at www.cambridgeliteraryfestival.com