Bradford Literature Festival got underway today - with a large tent in Centenary Square providing a focal point for the eagerly-anticipated event.

Confirmed authors and speakers for this year's festival include comedians Ruby Wax, Shaparak Khorsandi and Sara Pascoe; singer Corinne Bailey Rae, author and broadcaster Lemn Sissay, national treasure Miriam Margolyes, historian Mary Beard, vicar and journalist Kate Bottley and poet Joelle Taylor.

The festival's 10th anniversary programme is set to deliver 500 events across the 10 days, aiming to cement the event as one of the UK’s top three largest literature festivals.

Pakistani writer and journalist Fatima Bhutto, American journalist and blogger Steve Clemons, and comedian Konstantin Kisin will all feature in an upcoming event to be held as part of the festival. The trio have been announced by Bradford Literature Festival and Doha Debates, as the international panel for a very special student town hall event, on Saturday, July 6.

Chaired by journalist and broadcaster, Remona Aly, the panel will explore how Western media, politics and public rhetoric shape narratives about global justice, and whether they act as a force for good or advance the West’s own interests.

Doha Debates’ unique, youth-driven town halls allow students and recent university graduates to ask questions of expert panellists with different perspectives, to engage the next generation in discussions of critical global issues and amplify the voices of young change-makers.

Students attending from both the UK and Doha, will come together to listen to the speakers and consider how potential patterns of narrative control play out on the world stage, examining the roles of free speech and censorship.

Using examples such as the global war on terror, participants will discuss how the West’s approach to narratives about global justice has changed over time, and to what extent a range of perspectives are represented.

Syima AslamSyima Aslam is the Founder, CEO and Artistic Director of the festival 

Syima Aslam, Founder, CEO and Artistic Director, said: “Since its inception, Bradford Literature Festival has been a home for complex and nuanced debates tackling some of the most challenging issues we face as a global community.

"Being able to discuss some of these critical topics in an open forum is central to our democracy and freedom of expression, and we are proud to provide a platform for writers and thinkers to come together and consider how we might make a better future for us all.”

Amjad Atallah, Doha Debates Managing Director, said: “Bradford Literature Festival has long been a beacon for thoughtful and thought-provoking discourse.

"Partnering with BLF for this town hall aligns perfectly with our mission to delve into the critical issues of our time in a meaningful and impactful way. This collaboration embodies our shared commitment to fostering open and inclusive dialogue that challenge perspectives and inspire innovative solutions for a better future.”