A NUMBER of famous names are coming to Bradford for an event that more than 70,000 people attend.

Bradford Literature Festival (BLF) has announced a roster of well-known figures for the summer event, including Sir Lenny Henry, Anita Rani and Sir Michael Palin.

The festival, in its ninth year, will run from June 23 to July 2 and features 500 events across its running period.

These topic-led events include author talks, world-class poetry lineups, live music, film, theatre and more and attract more than 70,000 people to Bradford each year.

The topics range from a journey through the Ottoman Empire, to an exploration of global feminism, from political poetry to free family fun days.  

There will also be the return of annual recurring strands, such as the Brontës, poetry, world affairs and politics, global futures and health and wellbeing.

BLF often attracts some of the world's most sought-after speakers and several other major figures from the literary world will be in attendance.

Booker-Prize winner Shehan Karunatilaka is one of those, as well as Sebastian Faulks exploring his life in writing, 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction winner Kamila Shamsie and legendary dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, who will look back on his life in words.

The festival is set to welcome a host of international guests, including acclaimed artists like calligrapher Haji Noor Deen from China, renowned scholar Reza Aslan from LA, world-class musicians Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad Qawwal & Brothers from Pakistan, 

BLF will also premiere a performance of Sir Muhammed Iqbal’s seminal poem Shikwa, sung in its entirety by Abi Sampa and performed by the pioneering Manchester Camerata orchestra.

Sitting alongside this will be an evening of Nina Simone’s music to mark 20 years since her passing and to celebrate her lyrical legacy with rising star Judi Jackson and her band. 

Visual arts fans can also immerse themselves in West Yorkshire’s rich cultural history through the influence of one of the world’s greatest artists, Bradford-born David Hockney at Hockney Day.

His work will be explored through the eyes of his lifelong friend Martin Gayford, and in a series of interactive workshops, gallery visits and walking tours.

Adam Kay, Lemn Sissay, Bolu Babalola, Amanda Owen, Shayk al-Yaqouibi and Val McDermid are also set to feature at the festival.

Sir Lenny Henry said: “Books are fundamental to building bridges and links between different communities and ways of thinking.

"Bradford Literature Festival is truly a festival like no other in its line-up, showcasing so many diverse stories and connecting audiences to different voices.

"I’m so proud to be working with Bradford Literature Festival for the second time this year (following the fantastic World Book Day celebration that they hosted which was the biggest in the UK) and to be part of something that takes a bottom-up approach to creating genuine change.

"This is truly a very special festival.” 

For more information and to buy tickets visit: bradfordlitfest.co.uk