LITFEST brought Marlborough to life at the weekend as Rose Tremain and a host of popular writers descended on the town for the eighth year of the annual literature weekend.

To kick off the event, three local primary schools performed their own version of a fairy tale in a 10-minute pop-up tableau drama on the High Street on Thursday. Preshute Year 4 performed Jack and the Beanstalk outside Marlborough Library, St Michael’s Aldbourne Year 3 performed Peter Pan by the Jubilee Centre in Marlborough High Street and two Year 3 classes from Marlborough St Mary’s performed Three Billy Goats Gruff outside The White Horse Bookshop.

Keen bookworms form Marlborough have given their take on the festival after being inspired to put pen to paper.

Fred Hosier, 10, went to see David Walliams speak and said: “I think that watching David Walliams was extremely funny and exciting to watch. I loved how Ade was there interviewing David and which meant that everything flowed nicely. I had a particular interest when David read bits from his books because he read with all the characteristics of everything that was happening in the book.

“I also thoroughly enjoyed the excitement at the end where everyone looked under their seat for a golden envelope. I definitely enjoyed my day and want to see David again.”

Andrea Keighley took part in the Big Town Read debate and said: “Marlborough may be a fairly small town, but Chris Cleave’s Everyone Brave is Forgiven proved that the Big Town Read could draw a very big audience. Was the size of audience thanks to the compelling storyline or Chris Cleave’s beautiful dialogues? Maybe the novel’s appeal was as a result of the big questions his moving story forced us to ask ourselves; inequality and racism to name just two.

“Chris showed a series of slides which took us through the heartbreaking reality of lives shattered by the Second World War, the devastation in the East End of London after relentless air raids, the little-known and horrific siege of Malta, the black children living in terror in London as they were unwelcome in the countryside.

“An hour was scarcely enough to hear Christopher Cleave speak about his own family history and how it inspired his story.”

Helen Sheehan watched William Boyd on the truth of fiction and hoax, at the newly refurbished Memorial Hall at Marlborough College and said: “He is a natural on stage, relaxed, inspiring and witty. Boyd revealed that he has a ‘writing mantra’; readers should believe that fictional characters are real and fictional events really happened and, for the author to achieve this, any methods or ruse he employs are justified.”

“He referred to this mantra several times, to great effect, as he talked about his latest book, Love is Blind, and a book he wrote in the late 1990s titled Nat Tate: An American Artist 1928-1960. In Love is Blind Boyd explained that to access the world of 19th century classical music in Europe and to make it ‘real’ to his readers, his research led him to interview a famous piano tuner who gave him great insight into the lives of professional musicians.

“With his mantra in mind he took this insight and created his central character, Brodie Moncur, piano tuner to the renowned pianists of his time.”

Davina Jones praised Golding Speaker Rose Tremain’s talk on her memoir Rosie, where the writer revealed that William Golding had been an inspiration at the beginning of her writing career.

Ms Jones added: “The Town Hall was packed to hear the award-winning novelist talk about a childhood in which ‘parents did not know how to be parents’. Her early years were spent in London, at boarding school and in ‘the splendour’ of Linkenholt Manor in Hampshire and her childhood suffering was, she explained, not that of poverty like Frank McCourt in Angela’s Ashes, merely one of emotional neglect.

“She described how her own mother was packed off to board at six by parents who only loved boys but lost both their sons, one at 16 and another in the Second World War; and so the cycle may have continued had Rose not been felt truly loved by a very dear nanny.”

Jan Williamson, chair of Marlborough LitFest, said: “I think all of us involved probably feel a mixture of elation and exhaustion. It’s been the biggest, busiest and, according to lots of people, the best to date. We’ve had more sell-out events and greater variety than ever before.”