SOME of the country’s most celebrated authors are heading to Marlborough as the town gears up for its fourth LitFest.
From September 27 to 29, Marlborough will be packed with novelists, playwrights and poets, with events for adults and children.
Opening the festival will be acclaimed author, playwright and the LitFest’s Golding Speaker for 2013, Fay Weldon.
Ms Weldon, who teaches creative writing at Brunel University, will be discussing her latest novel, Long Live the King, the second in her Love and Inheritance trilogy.
She has been writing fiction for 50 years, producing 34 novels, numerous TV dramas, radio and stage plays and five collections of short stories. In 2001 she was awarded a CBE for services to literature.
Another renowned writer on this year’s bill is Claire Tomalin, one of the UK’s most respected literary biographers, whose work includes books on Jane Austen, Samuel Pepys and Thomas Hardy.
Her most recent book, Charles Dickens – A Life, vividly portrays the energy, complexity and contradictions of the 19th-century novelist, as well as detail of the time he was writing.
Ms Tomalin was literary editor of the New Statesman and The Sunday Times and is married to novelist and playwright Michael Frayn, who appeared at the LitFest last year.
One of the nation’s most respected wine critics, Malcolm Gluck, will be giving a talk in the town hall on the Saturday from 6pm.
Malcolm rose to fame with Superplonk, his weekly wine column for The Guardian and has subsequently published 36 books on the subject and starred in the BBC TV programme Gluck Gluck Gluck.
And closing the festival is award-winning poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, who has been given the Whitbread Prize, the Forward Prize, the Signal Prize for Children’s Verse, and the E M Forster Prize.
She will be joined by John Sampson, who will provide both musical interludes and collaborative performances, combining his atmospheric music with Carol Ann’s poems.
This year readers will have their chance to put their own mark on the LitFest with an initiative called The Big Town Read.
Poet and novelist Jackie Kay will be speaking about her memoir Red Dust Road during a question-and-answer session at the town hall from 4pm on Sunday.
Founder patron Mavis Cheek said: “The LitFest puts the very best of writing first. We are thrilled with this year’s attendees and look forward to another successful year.”
Catalogues and tickets are available at www.poundarts .org.uk, www.marlboroughlitfest.org or from the White Horse Bookshop in Marlborough.
The LitFest Café will be open all weekend in the town hall.