Pupils at Malmesbury School will rub shoulders with some of country’s leading history writers – including Hilary Mantel and Dan Snow – when a national festival comes back to town.

BBC History Magazine is to stage its second History Weekend festival in Malmesbury from October 16 to 19.

The event is scheduled to feature 35 internationally-known authors and historians.

Malmesbury School teacher Matt Bryant said he was delighted the school has been asked to be involved again.

He said: “Last year, we had a historian come into school to speak to students and do a questions and answer.

“Hopefully, this will happen again as it really inspired students to pursue history post sixth form.”

Pupils will also take part in a competition to design a poster for the festival, introduce speakers on stage and act as guides to and from the venues.

Among the line-up of historians will be former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown, Earl Spencer – brother of Princess Diana and author of books on his own family’s past and on Civil War Cavalier Prince Rupert – as well as Man Booker prize winner Hilary Mantel and television historian Dan Snow.

The high profile event, to be held in Malmesbury Abbey and the town hall, has been welcomed by the town’s civic and business leaders.

Chamber of Commerce chairman Aimee Frankham said: “I am absolutely thrilled this event is returning to the town. It really helps to put Malmesbury on the map.

“I am a bit of a history buff, so, from a personal point of view, it is fantastic.”

Mayor John Gundry said: “It is very good for Malmesbury to have this sort of festival taking place in our town.”

The programme will feature lectures and talks covering topics including the First World War, Britain’s pagan heritage, terror and faith in Elizabethan England and witchcraft and propaganda during the English Civil War.

Dave Musgrove, publisher of BBC History Magazine, said: “I am delighted that Malmesbury will once again play host to the History Weekend and our exceptional line-up of top name historians and authors.

“Following overwhelming public demand for tickets for our inaugural festival, we are expanding the 2014 event with a new venue and talks starting on the Thursday evening.

“We look forward to welcoming our readers and history enthusiasts.”

Tickets for the weekend are at www.historyweekend.com.