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Viv Groskop recommends Alain de Botton at the Independent Bath Literature Festival

Journalist, comedian, presenter and now Artistic Director of the Independent Bath Literature Festival, Viv Groskop has been busy programming a delightful line-up for March- here she shares one of her highlights; our guest editor this week, Alain de Botton (you can read our interview with the man himself here.)

We have a double dose of Alain de Botton at the Independent Bath Literature Festival in early March. He’s headlining our Great Bath News Debate with Intelligence Squared at the Forum on Saturday March 1st at 3pm. He’ll be proposing the motion: “News is ruining our lives.” I can’t wait to hear his argument. Backing him up is “slow” guru and TED speaker Carl Honore. Opposing? Channel 4’s veteran broadcaster Jon Snow and the Huffington Post UK’s Editor-in-Chief Carla Buzasi. Can they fight back and prove that we need quality news in our lives?

This promises to be an explosive debate, chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby (who will have just hosted BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions in Bath the night before). It comes one week before the US attempts its first ever National Unplugged Day. For 24 hours over the weekend of March 7th and 8th, the Sabbath Manifesto will be encouraging Americans to pledge to unplug regularly from technology -- with a “cold turkey” weekend to kick things off, “designed to help hyper-connected people of all backgrounds to embrace the ancient ritual of a day of rest.”

All this ties in perfectly with the themes in Alain de Botton’s new book The News: A User’s Manual. He’ll be speaking in depth, up close and personal on this in Bath at 6.15pm on Saturday March 1 (fresh from either triumph or defeat at the News Debate). Join him for an hour of challenging ideas, thought-provoking anecdotes and a sharp new take on the role news plays in all our lives. I will be there. As an experiment I will try to unplug and not live-tweet. Yeah, right.


Writer and comedian Viv Groskop is the new Artistic Director of the Independent Bath Literature Festival (28 Feb to 9 Mar): 10 days, 180 authors, 20,000 tickets. For the full programme and to book: ... or call 01225 463362. Or follow @Bathfestivals or @vivgroskop.


Alain de Botton at the Indepedent Bath Literature Festival: Saturday March 1, 3-4pm (Great Bath News Debate) and 6.15pm-7.15pm (The News: A User’s Manual)

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