Watchman artist Dave Gibbons and human rights champion Lord Lester sign up for St Albans Literary Festival 2016

Dave Gibbons

Dave Gibbons - Credit: Archant

The co-creator of the Watchmen comic book and the founding father of modern human rights are the two latest names to sign up for this year’s St Albans Literary Festival.

Anthony Lester QC

Anthony Lester QC - Credit: Archant

Legendary comics artist Dave Gibbons, whose portfolio includes Kingsman: The Secret Service, Green Lantern, Doctor Who and Rogue Trooper, will be headlining the Thursday evening slot at this summer’s event, taking place at Waterstones in St Albans on July 7.

The Dave Gibbons event will be a retrospective look at his remarkable career, spanning his time working for 2000AD, his art and scripts for US publishers Marvel, DC and Dark Horse, through to his recent collaboration with the renowned Mark Millar which inspired the action blockbuster Kingsman.

The other confirmed guest is Anthony Lester QC, the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Lester of Herne Hill, who was at the heart of the 30-year campaign which resulted in the Human Rights Act 1998, as well as the struggle to bring about the Equality Act 2010 and prevent discrimination on grounds of race, gender, religion, sexuality, and disability.

He was also the architect of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and Race Relations Act 1976. He campaigned successfully for the Civil Partnership Act and the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act, the Equality Act 2010 and the current Defamation Act 2013.

Appearing at St Peter’s Church on Friday July 8, he will be speaking about his new book, Five Ideas To Fight For, looking at principles vital to the way of life we enjoy today: human rights, equality, free speech, privacy and the rule of law.

A fierce argument for why we must act now to ensure the survival of the ideals that enable us to live freely, Five Ideas To Fight For is a revealing account of the state of freedom and the law today, looking at how are basic rights and civil liberties are under threat because of factors like cuts to legal aid, interference in access to justice, efforts to combat extremism and the growth of the internet.

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This year’s LitFest follows the inaugural event in 2014, which featured authors including Sir Terry Wogan, Jessie Burton, James Runcie, Leanda de Lisle and Conn Iggulden.

It includes talks and workshops taking place in different sections of St Peter’s and also in the churchyard, using the storyteller’s circle opened there in the summer of 2014.

The festival will be kicking off with Ken Livingstone’s appearance at St Albans Cathedral on Monday July 4, with other events scheduled between Friday July 8 and Sunday July 10, and promises a programme of exciting activities aimed at appealing to both adults and children.

St Albans LitFest will also support any fringe events taking place during the weekend, offering publicity and assistance if any organisation wants to run their own talk.

Run entirely by volunteers, the festival is supported by the Herts Advertiser, and editor Matt Adams said: “These two new signings illustrate the diverse range of talent we’re attracting to this year’s festival. We will be announcing more names over the next few weeks, so keep checking for updates.”

If you’d like to get involved in the event, or just want to find out more information as it becomes available, visit the Facebook site or visit the website.

Tickets for the Dave Gibbons, Anthony Lester and Ken Livingstone events are now available from the LitFest website.