Preparations are underway for the Isle of Wight's first Literary Festival, which features a host of well-known authors including Gyles Brandreth and Anneka Rice.
All profits from the event, being held at Northwood House between October 12 and 14, will go towards the upkeep of the historic property.
Other names confirmed to attend the event include Louis de Berniéres, Patrick Gale, Toby Young, Brough Scott, Jojo Moyes, Matt Whyman, Raffaella Barker, Philip Norman, Christopher Morgan-Jones, Tom Cain,Jason Goodwin.
Organisers told IW Radio: "With a remarkable literary heritage – Keats, Dickens and Tennyson were all here – and a well-established reputation as a festival venue, the Island is the perfect place to host a literary extravaganza and the weekend will include something for all the family."
Highlights include the Friday when Cowes resident and actor Celia Imrie recalls the highs and lows of her career. Other entertainment on Friday includes a heated debate as Lord Grade chairs a panel discussing whether e-books or p-books are the future. A reading by Richard and Judy favourite Patrick Gale ,and an hour of Renaissance music performed by Louis de Bernieres on a multitude of instruments follows and Rebecca Chance will round off the evening reading the naughty bits from her latest bonk-buster over dinner in Tonino’s Restaurant.
Saturday’s highlights include a creative writing course taught by Raffaella Barker and a new media workshop hosted by Jason Goodwin. A clutch of crime-writers will decide whether anything is too awful to write about and Anneka Rice will mediate as Jojo Moyes and Rebecca Chance discuss whether women want sex or romance in their fiction. Will Ellsworth-Jones will talk about Banksy; Noel Dobbs will talk about Dracula and Ann Thwaite will talk about Tennyson. In the evenings the audience can sit back and laugh at The Female Wits and Gyles Brandreth.
On Sunday visitors can hop on a bus and tour the Island’s literary hotspots with a gang of celebrity guides or take in the history – literary and maritime – of Cowes during a guided walk.
Speaking to Isle of Wight Radio's John Hannam, Celia Imrie said she was looking forward to sharing the Island's literary heritage on the tour. She said: "It really is a magical Island because even though they might have only come for a little break, or they might have lived here for a couple of years. The list, honestly, John is absolutely staggering - everyone you've ever heard of from the literary world."
Mick Jagger’s biographer, Philip Norman, will be spilling secrets, as will Ghost-Writer Mark McCrum. The Fire Poet Philip Wells, will turn your opinion of poets on its head jamming with local musicians and Matt Whyman will make his audience cry with laughter with tales of his impossible pets.
Events aimed at children include cake decorating with Flossie Crum’s creator Helen Nathan, ghostly tales told by Chris Priestley, a Tree Walk guided by the Island Story-Tellers and a chance to meet local hero, Sailor Ted. For the competitive there is a literary crossword and short story competition – the latter to be judged by the modern master of the genre Helen Simpson.
More information can be found at www.isleofwightliteraryfestival.org and you can hear John's interview with Celia Imrie above, and listen to his full interview in John Hannam Meets on Isle of Wight Radio on Sunday 7 October.