ORGANISERS of this year’s Swindon Festival of Literature are hoping for it to be a real page turner, as the first acts are announced.

Now in its 20th year, the festival has become a mainstay of Swindon’s cultural calendar.

Following the success of last year’s event, plans are now well under way for this year’s festival, which will run from Monday, May 6, to Sunday, May 18.

Last year, festival director Matt Holland tried to embrace the discussion of ideas rather than focusing on celebrities, but the first announcements for this year will be recognised by many.

Award-winning broadcaster and writer Clare Balding i sset to appear at alongside founder of ChildLine Esther Rantzen and former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.

Television impressionist and comedian Alistair McGowan and best-selling crime writer P D James have also been booked in, with more yet to be announced.

Matt, who is also the owner of Lower Shaw Farm, said: “Our 20th festival is something to get excited about – and I am.

“It promises to be both fantastic feast and fabulous frolic. We will have adventurous authors, terrific talks, delightful discussion, wonderful workshops, and excellent entertainment.

“The festival will offer experiences that make life memorable, for everyone and we aim for people of all ages and backgrounds to have a very good time.

“They’ll get together, meet authors, join in lively talk, explore new ideas, and even have a laugh. It is all very exciting.

“During its 20 years, the Swindon Festival of Literature has gone from strength.

“Each year it attracts new writers, terrific speakers, and a larger following. At every level, it has become a splendid celebration for Swindon of things well written and things well said.”

The 2013 Swindon Festival of Literature is made possible by funding from Arts Council England South West, and will include a number of regular events.

These include the Dawn Chorus, Swindon Poetry Slam, the schools’ Youth Slam and the fourth Think Slam.

For more information visit and to go on the festival mailing list, call 01793 771080 or email