Glittering lineup for Guildford BookfestGuildford launches its annual Book Festival this year with a bellow, for national treasure, actor Brian Blessed makes a return appearance to read excerpts from his memoir full of anecdotes about his career.
The 2015 Festival kicks off from 11 October until the 18th and it hosts some big names, whose books should be worth reading. Actor Roger Moore talks about his colourful life, including his time as HM's longest-serving 007 agent. And real-life spy stories come from journalist Max Hastings who reveals some World War II espionage tales in 'The Secret War - spies, codes and guerrillas, 1939-1945.'
Other guest writers
Writer Deborah Moggach discusses her latest novel, 'Something to Hide', 'a warm, witty and wise novel about the unexpected twists that later life can bring.' I'm with her on that. S J Watson's new psychological thriller, 'Second Life' asks: 'How well do we really know ourselves?'
Other guest authors include Catherine Mayer, who has been writing about the Windsors for three decades and brings us a new book about HRH the Prince of Wales, 'Heart of a King, Charles, Prince of Wales', which promises something new and HRH Princess Michael of Kent, will talk about the third book in her 'Anjou' trilogy. 'The Voyage of the Golden Handshake' is likely to be an eye-opener from former Lebanon hostage, Terry Waite for it's a comedy about life on board a cruise ship. I doubt he would be stuck for research there.
Another funny session comes from award-winning actress Sara Crowe with her debut novel, 'Campari for Breakfast', described as 'a quirky coming-of-age novel'. And 'Gin Glorious Gin: How mother's ruin became the spirit of London' sounds fascinating as author Olivia Williams explores the vibrant cultural history of London.
Readers' Day this year brings Gill Hornby's new work, 'All Together Now', an amusing tale about a singing group in a small town; Lez Fenwick, author of three popular romantic novels set in Cornwall; Guy Saville with the sequel to his action thriller, 'The Afrika Reich'; Saira Shah with her funny and frank novel, 'The Mouseproof Kitchen' which tells how motherhood doesn't always turn out how you might expect and Kate Williams, whose debut novel, 'The Storms of War' tells of the tumultuous lives of the De Witt family during World War I.
And the list goes on - in addition to which Austentatious will make a return to the festival. This is an improvised comedy based on a title from the audience performed in author Jane Austen's incomparable style. This year sees the 200th anniversary of the publication of her novel 'Emma', which ties in nicely.
Children haven't been forgotten, for there's an exciting programme promised for schools. A strong children's section is led by Piers Torday, who will talk about the final instalment in 'The Last Wild Trilogy'.
For would-be writers
Finally, for would-be writers, there's a plotting workshop with romantic comedy novelist Chris Manby and a How To Get Published session led by author and books editor from Woman & Home, Fanny Blake and journalist/writer Lucy Atkins. I'd really like to know that these days!
Advance tickets on sale late July at www.guildfordbookfestival.co.uk or box offices at Guildford's Tourist Information Centre and Electric Theatre. Check out the website for the latest updates and facebook.com/guildfordbookfestival