SWINDON LITERARY FESTIVAL REVIEW: VETERAN war reporter Kate Adie was back by popular demand at the Swindon Festival of Literature.

The world-renowned journalist had appeared at a packed Arts Centre three years ago but her audience had doubled for her performance at the Wyvern Theatre last night.

With a wicked sense of sarcasm, Adie recounted anecdotes of her adventures as well as giving an analysis of today's news media.

Her autobiography, The Kindness of Strangers, covers a career of reporting on major global events including the massacre at Tiananmen Square and the Gulf Wars.

Recently returned from Basra in Iraq, she told how people living in the most appalling conditions still allow reporters access to their homes.

She said: "People tolerate you during the worst moments of their lives. You turn up as a reporter, a stranger, a parasite and people extend their hospitality and put up with you.

"It is a testament to human nature, it never ceases to amaze me."

Dressed in a short skirt and a purple top, her appearance belied her usual image of a khaki-clad hack reporting from danger zones.

She admitted television journalism had changed dramatically since she started her career in 1968 as a studio technician in local radio.

"Presentation is becoming more important than content," she said. "And the evolution of electronic communication means greater speed."

Festival director Matt Holland said Kate Adie had came high in the top ten list of people that festival goers wanted to see return to the event.

He said: "She was the first person we invited to the festival who had not written a book yet she was one of the best speakers.

"And audience member asked if she would come back once she wrote a book and again her reception has been fantastic."

By Bhavani Vadde