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Thursday is date for literature lovers' diaries as Marlborough LitFest tickets go on sale

Jackie KayJackie KaySome of the biggest names in literature will be descending on Marlborough in September... and we'll find out who when the programme is confirmed and tickets go on general sale this week.

The Marlborough Lit Fest will be opening its box office on Thursday (July 4) to sell tickets for the 22 events that will be held over a three-day period between September 27 and 29.

Some big names have already been confirmed. This year’s Golding Speaker – performing at an event named in honour of local author William Golding – will be acclaimed author and playwright, Fay Weldon, who is known for her trademark joie de vivre style and feminist slant as well as discussing the war between the sexes. 

Awarded a CBE in 2001 for services to literature, she has been writing fiction for 50 years, spanning 34 novels, numerous TV dramas, including the pilot episode of Upstairs Downstairs, several radio plays, five stage plays, five collections of short stories and currently teaches creative writing at the University of Brunel. 

Fay will be discussing her latest novel, Long Live The King – the second in her Love And Inheritance trilogy. Set in 1901 London as the coronation of Edward VII approaches, it continues the lives and loves, morals, manners and misbehaviour of the aristocratic Dilberne family and their servants below stairs.

Fay will be opening the LitFest at 7.30pm on Friday, September 27at the Town Hall.

Headlining Saturday's lineup, Claire Tomalin is one of the UK’s most respected literary biographers and her work includes books on Jane Austen, Samuel Pepys and Thomas Hardy.

Her most recent book, Charles Dickens - A Life, vividly portrays the energy, complexity and contradictions of the 19th century novelist, as well as historical detail of the time he was writing. 

Claire was Literary Editor of The New Statesman and The Sunday Times and is married to novelist and playwright Michael Frayn, who appeared at the LitFest last year. Claire will be appearing at 7.30pm on Saturday 28 September at the Town Hall.

And a big LitFest welcome will be reserved for Carol Ann Duffy, who will be closing the festival on Sunday, September 29. 

The UK’s current poet laureate and the first woman to be awarded the position, her poetry has won many awards, including the Whitbread Prize.

She has written for both children and adults, addressing issues such as oppression, gender and violence in an accessible language which has made her writing popular in schools.

Carol Ann’s poetry is now part of the National Curriculum for both GCSE and A Level English. Carol Ann will be performing from 7.30pm at Marlborough College.

Other festival attractions include The LitFest Café, which will be open all weekend in the Town Hall, providing a welcome refreshment stop for visitors between author talks.

And in The Marlborough Big Town Read – a new initiative for 2013 – organisers are encouraging fiction fans to pick up a copy of Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay. The author will be at the Assembly Rooms from 4pm on Sunday, September 29 to give a talk and answer questions about her work, and White Horse Bookshop is offering the title at a discount. 

Red Dust Road was the selected read for World Book Night earlier this year, and non-regular readers were offered free copies of the book through Wiltshire Libraries. 

Mavis Cheek, founder patron of the festival, said: “The LitFest puts the very best of writing first, we don't invite celebrities, and two of our previous guests are on the Granta list for the 20 top young writers. 

“We are thrilled with this year’s attendees and look forward to another successful year.”

Tickets will be available from the LitFest website at www.marlboroughlitfest.org or directly from the White Horse Bookshop in Marlborough from Thursday.

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