Author and TV personality Mary Berry and former U.K. prime minister Theresa May have been confirmed as two of the main guest speakers for this month’s Gibunco Gibraltar International Literary Festival.
To be held from 17 to 19 November, the festival is expected to be officially opened by Princess Anne. Attending in her capacity as patron of the festival, The Princess Royal is due to be accompanied by her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence – although their presence has still not been officially confirmed by the government.
On the other hand, Mary Berry’s confirmed presence prompted such a response that the organisers arranged a second talk on 18 November – at a larger venue, the John Mackintosh Hall. Shortly after this news was released, the buytickets.gi website crashed due to popular demand, having reportedly received more 2,000 simultaneous requests for tickets. Tickets for her original talk (on 17 November at the Convent) sold out almost immediately after going on sale.
Described as “Great Britain’s favourite baker”, Mary Berry is the author of more than 80 books, including the best-selling “Mary Berry Cooks”, “Cook and Share”, “Mary Berry’s Simple Comforts”, “Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites”, “Mary Berry At Home” and “Mary Berry’s Baking Bible”.
She was the judge on the BBC’s “The Great British Bake Off” TV program, and has been teaching people to cook for more than four decades. Cordon Bleu-trained in Paris, Mary began her career as a magazine cookery editor before publishing her first cookbook in 1966.
In 2009, Mary was awarded the Guild of Food Writers’ lifetime achievement award, and in 2020 she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s birthday honours.
At the festival, Mary will be discussing her new book, “Mary Makes It Easy”, with copies available to purchase at the venue after her talk.
Meanwhile, Theresa May MP is set to speak at the festival on 18 November at 11 am from Grand Battery House. Tickets for the event can be purchased online via Buytickets.gi or directly from the box office at the Garrison Library, open every weekday from 10 am to 4pm.
According to the organisers, Lady May, who served as prime minister from 2016 to 2019 and as home secretary for six years before that, will share insights from her book “The Abuse of Power.”
Welcoming her attendance, newly-elected chief minister Fabian Picardo said, “I am delighted that Lady May will be coming to Gibraltar to speak at our prestigious Gibunco Gibraltar International Literary Festival. Lady May is a great friend of Gibraltar who worked very closely with us during her time as both home secretary and prime minister. I look forward to welcoming Lady May to Gibraltar and listening to her talk.”
The Gibunco Group will be the headline sponsor for this ninth edition of the festival. “I am personally very excited and privileged to be sponsoring the Gibraltar International Literary Festival for a ninth consecutive year,” said CEO John A Bassadone. “The festival is something very close to the Bassadone family and I am proud to be able to uphold its legacy. I have seen the benefits it has had on our schools and young people and it is always great to see the support and engagement from the local community.
“Its international appeal, paired with unrivalled local hospitality, is a recipe for success and helps promote Gibraltar to a global audience. We are delighted to, once again, work closely with the government to help ensure this event is as successful as ever.”
More information about the festival, and other guest speakers, is available at gibraltarliteraryfestival.com.