Entertainment

Carrie Gracie to join politicians and poets at literature festival

The BBC journalist joins the likes of Prue Leith, Kirsty Wark, David Suchet and Poet Laureate Simon Armitage at the event in October.

Carrie Gracie will talk about her fight against workplace discrimination at the BBC at a literature festival later this year.

The former BBC China editor, who resigned from her position in January 2018 in protest at inequalities at the broadcaster, will join previously announced speakers Prue Leith, David Suchet, Clare Balding and Poet Laureate Simon Armitage at the Ilkley Literature Festival in West Yorkshire in October.

Gracie was the most high-profile casualty of the controversy over equal pay at the BBC and became a figurehead for other women at the organisation when she announced, in an open letter, that she had resigned from her role in a row over unequal pay.

Prue Leith
Prue Leith (David Loftus)

Following a nearly two-year dispute over pay and after received messages of frustration from women across the UK, Gracie was inspired to pen her book Equal.

She will discuss the book, in which she advises employers, men and women how they can change things for the next generation, at the annual festival on October 13.

Gracie joins other journalists including Kirsty Wark and GQ’s editor Dylan Jones at the event, which is said to be the North of England’s largest and oldest literary festival and has more than 170 author events scheduled across 17 days this year.

Newsnight host Wark will discuss her latest novel The House By The Loch, while Jones will explore the legacy of the Jimmy Webb-penned country ballad Wichita Lineman.

Journalist and feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez is on the line-up to talk about her book Invisible Women, exploring the gender data gap.

Simon Armitage
Simon Armitage (Peter James Millson)

The bill also includes former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell, who will talk generally on the current state of British politics, and former MP Chris Mullin, who will dissect a post-Brexit Britain.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper will appear at a special event on November 21 to talk about her forthcoming anthology The Power of Women’s Voices.

Along with Armitage, who will open the festival with readings from his new collection, the festival will include appearances from poets Pam Ayres, Lemn Sissay and Raymond Antrobus.

Great British Bake Off star Leith will appear at an In Conversation event to talk about her life-long passion for food, actor Suchet will reflect on his decades-long career and broadcaster Balding headlines the Children’s Festival alongside Mr Gum creator, Andy Stanton, and Conn Iggulden with the return of the Dangerous Book for Boys.

The Ilkley Literature Festival was inaugurated by the poet WH Auden in 1973. This year’s event runs from October 4 – October 20 in venues across the town.

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