Festival of books

Last year's Althorp Literary Festival
Last year's Althorp Literary Festival

There will be talks and signing from a host of big name actors, writers, presenters and journalists as tickets have gone on sale for this year’s Althorp Literary Festival.

The 12th annual literary festival will be held from Wednesday June 10 to Saturday June 13.

It is the first time in the festival’s history that it is running over four days rather than two or three as it has done previously.

Among the famous authors appearing at the event include TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh and Julian Fellowes, the writer and creator of the hit ITV drama Downton Abbey. There will also be a talker from former Eastenders actress Pam St Clement.

Earl Spencer, who will also give a talk during the festival at his home, said: “Every year, the Althorp Literary Festival has got better, but this year it has hit the peaks.

“I don’t think there is a festival of its size in the country that brings together such a variety and depth of talent.

“It’s a fantastic line-up.

“There is something for those who love books, who enjoy hearing really distinguished people in so many different fields, and who love to spend summer days in a gorgeous setting.”

The festival will kick off with a talk from sports presenter and journalist Clare Balding

The second day of the festival will start with a talk from prolific novelist Marian Keyes. On the same day, Strictly Come Dancing judge and ballet star Darcey Bussell will also be appearing. Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson, playwright Sir Tom Stoppard and Pam St Clement will also appear.

Charles Spencer, Alan Titchmarsh and Julian Fellowes will be appearing at the festival on Friday. There will also be talks from Sir Ranulph Fiennes and former politician Gyles Brandreth.

The festival’s final day will see appearances from The Rev Richard Coles, TV presents Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, authors Rachel and Stanley Johnson as well as model Sophie Dahl.

Earl Spencer added: “We’ve had some great line-ups at the Althorp Literary Festival over the years – but this is the best, yet.

“It’s been really very exciting to assemble such an eclectic mix of fascinating speakers.

“I can’t wait to see how they light up Althorp in June – there are a lot of feisty characters on that list, and not too many shrinking violets. It should be a lot of fun.”

Organisers of the festival have said that people should book their tickets as soon as possible.

Lunchtime session tickets cost £10, single session tickets to individual author talks are £15 and day tickets are £45.

For more information or to book tickets for the festival visit www.spencerofalthorp.com/literary-festival or alternatively call 01604 770107.