CONTINUING to imprint on the UK's festival scene is a four-day literacy celebration featuring an array of high-profile names.
Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival is unusual, but in a good way, according to one of literature's VIPs Hilary Mantel.
Not only is Hilary president of the festival, taking place at various venues across the town from Thursday, September 19, to Sunday, September 22, she is also a Budleigh local.
"It's unusual for a small community to play host to such big names," explained Hilary.
"That we do so is thanks to the ambitions of our founder, Susan Ward, who wanted the best for our audiences." The late Susan founded the festival five years ago.
"We mean to continue her work by inviting writers who are the best in their field and who are making the news," added Hilary.
The festival's aim to create maximum appeal has clearly been achieved by looking at this year's line-up.
Over three days and four nights of an assortment talks and readings by authors, poets, playwrights, historians, broadcasters, nature writers as well as an astronomer, a gardener and an award-winning travel writer are set to interest and inspire.
The impressive programme includes critically-acclaimed author and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, crime writer PD James, award-winning Irish novelist Edna O'Brien, political commentators Ferdinand Mount and Peter Snow, poet, novelist and short story writer Jackie Kay, critically-acclaimed poets Lavinia Greenlaw and Julia Copus, and maritime historian and archaeologist Sam Willis.
If that wasn't enough to entice you to the festive, also taking part in this year's festival is author and editor of The Sunday Times Literary Supplement, Sir Peter Stothard, praised nature and wildlife writer Miriam Darlington, broadcaster and Fitzgerald scholar Sarah Churchwell and Jan Morris, the doyenne of travel writing.
Hilary is featuring in three events throughout the festival including a talk on the much-anticipated third book in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, The Mirror and the Light.
Tickets start from £7.50 and are available from Budleigh Salterton Tourist Information Centre. Call 01395 445275 or visit www.budlitfest.org.uk