List of stars head towards Stratford

JOHN Humphrys, Arthur Smith and Larry Lamb are among the influential faces people across south Warwickshire can meet at this year’s Stratford Literary Festival.

Organisers have now confirmed the line-up of stage, screen and literary stars, which, as well as the long-standing Today Programme presenter Humphrys, comedian Smith and actor Lamb, also includes Inspector Morse creator Colin Dexter, Patricia Routledge - best known for her role as the unbearable Hyacinth Bucket in the locally-filmed comedy Keeping Up Appearances - and stage film and television actress Celia Imrie.

Also speaking will be crime writer Sophie Hannah, Whitbread winner Justin Cartwright, Baroness Shirley Williams, DJ Mark Radcliffe, painter, novelist and journalist Molly Parkin and writers Katie Fforde, Esther Freud and Barbara Trapido.

The eight-day event will include writing workshops, one of which will be lead by the editor of the Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbooks and another by Midlands Poetry Group Nine Arches Poets.

There will also be a family book day hosted at Compton Verney art gallery near Kineton, which will welcome comedy writer Philip Ardagh to the venue and include theatre performances, workshops and entertainers

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Now in its fourth year, the literary celebration is expected to draw more than 5,000 people to the birth town of William Shakespeare.

Festival director Annie Ashworth said: “The festival is getting bigger and bigger every year, and this year’s has the best line-up we’ve ever had.”

Co-director Natasha Roderick-Jones added: “With Stratford’s literary past it’s hardly surprising that the festival has been such a success, and this year’s line-up will again ensure that there’s plenty to entertain everyone during the holiday week.”

Tickets are now available now. Call 01789 207100.