Screenwriter and novelist Frank Cottrell-Boyce announced as Guest Director for Brighton Festival 2024

  • Writer named as 15th Guest Director for England’s largest multi-arts festival
  • Critically-acclaimed author and screenwriter known for Millions, 24 Hour Party People and latest novel The Wonder Brothers
  • Follows previous Guest Directors including Anish Kapoor, Kae Tempest,  Lemn Sissay and Laurie Anderson


Brighton Festival has announced its Guest Director for 2024 will be the award-winning author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

Brighton Festival was established in 1967 and is the largest annual curated multi-arts festival in England. Next year’s Festival will take place from 4-26 May and is a celebration of music, theatre, dance, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and community events in venues and locations across Brighton, Hove and Sussex.

Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s debut children's novel, Millions, won the CILIP Carnegie Medal, which annually recognises a new and outstanding English-language book for children or young adults. He is also the author of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again, Cosmic, Framed, The Astounding Broccoli Boy and his latest novel published by Pan Macmillan, The Wonder Brothers. His books have been shortlisted for a multitude of prizes, including The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Whitbread Children's Fiction Award (now the Costa Book Award) and the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. His novel Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth was also shortlisted for the 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal.

Cottrell-Boyce is a judge for the BBC’s 500 Words competition and, along with Danny Boyle, he devised the Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics. He has written many hit films, including adapting Millions for a critically acclaimed screen version, plus 24 Hour Party People, The Railway Man and Goodbye Christopher Robin. The legendary film critic Roger Ebert referred to Cottrell-Boyce as ‘the most original and versatile screenwriter in the land’. He has also written for the hit TV series Dr Who and wrote the ITV drama Stephen, based on the 1993 murder of Black British teenager Stephen Lawrence. This year he received a BAFTA for being part of the team that brought to life Paddington meeting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to mark her Platinum Jubilee in 2022. 

Brighton Festival’s Guest Directors reflect the city’s spirit of openness and enquiry and help consolidate the Festival’s reputation as a ‘crucible of ideas’. The role is designed to inspire an events programme where art highlights and comments on the complexities of the world around us.

Frank Cottrell-Boyce will be Brighton Festival’s 15th Guest Director, following in the footsteps of Anish Kapoor, Brian Eno, Laurie Anderson, Kae Tempest, Lemn Sissay OBE and, in 2023, musician, DJ and broadcaster Nabihah Iqbal.

On becoming Guest Director of Brighton Festival 2024, Frank Cottrell-Boyce says:

‘What a thrill and what a challenge to be asked to help put together Brighton Festival 2024. In the 70s Keith Waterhouse famously said, “Without putting your finger on it, you always get the feeling that Brighton is up to something.”  In 2024 I’m hoping that Brighton is up FOR something - for everything.  Brighton’s a special place - with its love of liberty, style and the salty sea.  Unlike nearly everywhere else in Britain, Brighton seems to look to the future. That spring in Brighton’s elegant step is hope. If we can celebrate that for a few days then maybe we can spread a little seaside illumination over the rest of the land.’

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says:

‘When we look for a Guest Director of Brighton Festival we think about an artist who matches the eclecticism and open spirit of Brighton, is a brilliant collaborator with other artists and someone who naturally delights in the explosion of creativity that the Festival brings. There are few artists who fit that description better than Frank Cottrell-Boyce. His work speaks to children and adults alike, and for many of us he helped to define our nation at its best with the London Olympics Opening Ceremony in 2012. We are thrilled to be working with his inspiration and infectious curiosity and can’t wait to present the 2024 Brighton Festival programme.’

Frank Cottrell-Boyce is collaborating with the Brighton Festival programming team to develop a diverse and inclusive programme of events for 2024, which will be revealed at the official launch on Thursday 15 February.

Brighton Festival 2024 will take place from Saturday 4 – Sunday 26 May.