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Peace Descends Upon Latitude

David Peace, writer of the acclaimed Damned Utd is one of a host of literary heavyweights who've been added to the 2009 Latitude Festival, while Ed Byrne and Sean Lock also arrive to bolster the already stellar comedy lineup.

Latitude celebrates the art of the written word and all its many splendid facets at Suffolk’s now legendary library by the sea. Like all good books, the Literary Arena will transport you to the far reaches of your imagination guided by the storytelling talents of the very best authors and special guests scheduled for the weekend. Discussions, Q&As, stories and comic genius are the order of the day for these book readings with a difference. Immerse yourself in Latitude’s literary world and learn, explore, laugh and discover at the best literary event of the summer.

Writer, presenter and comic Mark Steel ponders the large and looming questions hanging over the country in his bitingly funny book ‘What’s Going On’. Disillusioned with the Socialist Workers Party - of which he has spent most of his life committed to - and entering his forties, Mark has found himself questioning life and all its inherent issues and problems. Digging into the heart of Britain and the troubles it suffers today, Mark wonders why over a million people marching in London couldn't stop the war in Iraq, why supermarkets are killing the small town centres of Britain and why George Galloway went on Celebrity Big Brother destroying any political credibility he may have had in the blink of a cat's eye. Poignant and sharply observed and very much of the moment, this is Mark Steel at his brilliantly intelligent best.

Tokyo based David Peace is famous for his Yorkshire Ripper inspired quartet of crime books ‘Red Riding’ which led him to be named by Granta magazine as one of twenty 'Best of Young British Novelists' in 2003. His fictional portrayal of the miner’s strike ‘GB84’ was the winner of the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize and his 2006 book ‘The Damned Utd’, a recreation of Brian Clough’s reign at Leeds United has just been released on film and was described by The Times as “probably the best book ever written about sport”. Peace is currently working on his Tokyo Trilogy thriller.

The Comedy Arena at Latitude is one of the main draws of the weekend; bursting at the seams with people as they sit back and enjoy the stellar stand up performances from the cream of the comedy circuit. The first crop of comedic talent has just been confirmed with many more to be announced over the coming months.

Irish Perrier-Award nominee Ed Byrne is a familiar face on the comedy circuit and on the small screen. He has presented television shows ‘Uncut! Best Unseen Ads’ and ‘Just For Laughs’, and is a regular guest on various television panel games including Mock The Week, 8 Out Of Ten Cats and Have I Got News For You. His amiable chatty style of observational comedy, colourful anecdotes and whimsical tangents that lead into innovative ideas and threads has won him a legion of fans selling out three UK tours and five sell-out show at Edinburgh Fringe

Political activist, stand-up comic, author, multi-award winner and general thorn in the side of corporate companies and politicians, Mark Thomas joins the line-up. He has lobbied, demonstrated, protested, fought and made a mockery of people in power and is renowned for his political comedy shows, ‘The Mark Thomas Comedy Product’ on Channel 4. He is also a regular on Radio 4, has presented many ‘Dispatches’ programmes, and tackled the multi-national powerhouse of Coco-Cola in his book ‘Belching Out The Devil’. For Latitude, Thomas will be bringing a manifesto - a policy paddle to help steer our way out of shit creek. It's a roving comedy think tank of a show where the audience gets to nominate and vote for their favourite policies. Mark road tests them and then sets off to make them happen. It is somewhere between Jim'll Fix It for anarchists and White Collar Crimewatch, with a passing nod at Bill Drummond, the Fluxus art movement and Anneka Rice.

Antipodean comic Adam Hills has achieved international acclaim as one of the world’s best stand up comics. His combination of positive uplifting comedy and rampant spontaneity, have seen him receive many awards, glowing reviews and fans from all over the world. He has been nominated for an if.comedy award three times, his 2002 show, ‘Happy Feet’, took the inaugural Best Of The Fest Award in Edinburgh, and his follow up show ‘Cut Loose’ won the Radio Forth Award for Best Comedy. Adam has also won a Chortle Award for Best Compere in the UK, and his 2007 show “Joymonger” won a Helpmann Award for Best Comedy Performance in Australia. He’s also appeared on many UK TV programmes including ‘Mock The Week’, ‘The Charlotte Church Show’ and ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’, as well as having his own half-hour special on The Paramount Comedy Channel.

Sean Lock is one of the UK's most highly acclaimed and original comedians, his stand-up is the product of a hyperactive imagination combining hilariously surreal imagery and insightful observations on the human condition. Lock has been nominated for the prestigious Perrier Award and has also received a British Comedy Award for Best Stand Up (previous winners include Jack Dee, Eddie Izzard and Jo Brand). Sean has also won a Time Out Comedy Award.

Marcus Brigstocke hosts The Early Edition - a bit like BBC 4's Late Edition... but earlier. The morning papers, comedy, and special guests take to the stage to wake you up with a start! Swapping its usual late night slot for one at the festival, the show interviews politicians, campaigners, pundits and experts with an agenda that is irreverent, honest and fearless. Brigstocke began his comedy career at Bristol University where he performed stand up and character shows and soon won the BBC New Comedian of 1996. He has since emerged as a major comedy, writing and acting talent, performing in the UK and beyond and has become a regular voice on BBC Radio with an impressive list of TV and film credits that includes current lively debate show ‘Argumental’.

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