Luxury ocean liner Queen Mary 2 will host some of the world’s best authors, including headliners Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and Pure Leith, during the 2nd Literature Festival at Sea.

Lee Powell, vice president brand and product at Cunard, said: “Our week-long literary festival is a celebration for book-lovers in a completely unique setting as they sail across the Atlantic on board the stunning ocean liner Queen Mary 2.

“This is a perfect setting for authors, poets, actors and artists to gather for a week of readings, talks, debates and special events.”

The programme of literary events begins on 1 December when Queen Mary 2 sets sails from Southampton to New York.

© David Loftus

Other much-loved authors on the line-up include Kate Mosse OBE, Joanne Harris, Simon Armitage, Pam Ayers and Alan Johnson.

Throughout the week guests can listen to these writers (and more) in conversation. Plus, there will be the chance to meet them at intimate author signings.

Alexander McCall Smith said: “On the great liners of the past, people had time to read books and talk about them. What a magnificent thing it is that Cunard has decided to recreate this.


“I look forward immensely to meeting readers, talking about books, and watching the broad Atlantic go by.”

Meanwhile, Prue Leith added: “It’s been a dream to cross the pond on Queen Mary 2.

“I love literary festivals because the audience are interesting readers, and one’s fellow speakers are, like me, delighted to take a break from solitary writing and join the chatting, eating, drinking real world — if a luxury liner par excellence can be called the real world.

The 2nd Literature Festival at Sea will also review some of the best reads of the year from both sides of the Atlantic.

It’s curated by the programming team at Cheltenham Literature Festival and run in collaboration with The Times and Sunday Times.

Discover more by reading Rachel Johnson’s Literature Festival at Sea review.

Visit for more information or to book.