Literary feast at Althorp

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Heavyweight writers of the literary and entertainment worlds are gathering for the tenth Althorp Literary Festival.

It will take place from Thursday June 13 to Saturday June 15 in the grounds of Althorp, between Rugby and Northampton. Monty Python star and travel presenter Michael Palin and former MPs Paddy Ashdown and Ann Widdecombe are among the star names appearing.

Lord Ashdown, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, will be there on the festival’s first day from noon. He will be talking about his career in politics as well as about his new book entitled A Brilliant Little Operation: The Cockleshell Heroes and the Most Courageous Raid of World War 2.

Former minister and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Ann Widdecombe follows Ashdown from 2pm. She has been established as a novelist having written books since 2000 and will talk about her new book called Strictly Ann.

From 3.30pm, the much loved comedian Sandi Toksvig will talk about her career as a presenter and writer and her novel Valentine Grey. The creator of the ITV series Downton Abbey Julian Fellowes will be on the stage from 5pm talking about the creation of the hit drama, currently on its fourth series. The first day will be rounded off with a talk from Ken Dodd about his long career on the stage for an event called An Evening of Conversation, Candour and Comedy, running from 6.30pm.

Music and Monarchy is the name of the talk from historian David Starkey. He will start proceedings off on the second day from noon. For further details about the festival and to book tickets, visit