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Don't miss the big names in the world of adult and children's literature when they come to the tiny village of Chiddingstone....

Book up, Book up! *snigger* Here’s what you’re doing on May Bank Holiday! The brilliant Chiddingstone Literary Festival is back for its third year and positively brimming with talks, workshops and performances for all the family. Among the stars appearing in May will be BBC news presenter Evan Davis, talking about fake news, Rebus author and UK bestselling crime writer Ian Rankin and creator of the Charlie and Lola series, the children’s Laureate, Lauren Child.

I luuuurvee this literary festival which is in its third year and just keeps going from strength to strength. Set in the gorgeous house and grounds of Chiddingstone Castle there’s such an impressive line-up of big name authors coming to this pretty little village. Read on, my friends, read on…

Clockwise from top left: Diana Henry, Ian Rankin, Kate Mosse, Evan Davis, Lauren Child and David Melling

So you’ll probably recognise at least one or two faces from this line up, above and these are just some of the talented authors talking at the festival. I’ve created a little highlights list below.

Adult Day – Sun 6 May

What’s On? Wit and wisdom on topics ranging from Dr Zhivago to the life of a junior doctor, revelations about Royalist women and Detective Inspector Rebus, culinary inspiration, the consequences of crime for police and perpetrator, award-winning poetry, Anglo-American husband hunting and the learning power of persuasive writing. Also on offer is a whole day of life drawing classes.

Highlights? * Diana Henry is the Sunday Telegraph’s food writer and the author of eleven books. She will be making us all salivate as she talks about the inspiring places behind some of her favourite menus. * The No 1 UK bestselling crime writer, Ian Rankin, will discuss 30 years spent living with the irascible and brooding Detective Inspector John Rebus (not literally – Rebus is the most famous character from one of his book series – you must have caught at least one episode on TV). Ian is currently writing a new Rebus adventure, to be published in October, so there may be a few hints dropped…or even an exclusive reading from the work in progress (just saying).

Family Day – Mon 7 May (Bank Holiday Monday)

What’s On? Events for all the family, with discussions on the future of science and Artificial Intelligence, politics, plus a festival exclusive with the launch of Kate Mosse’s new historical trilogy. Lauren Child (if you’re a parent you’ll know who she is) and the one my mudlets would love the most – making your own clay model character with the famous Aardman Animations creators.

Highlights? * Little ones can meet lovable bear Hugless Douglas and learn to draw Douglas step-by-step with his creator David Melling, listen to some storytelling and even get a hug from Douglas himself! Lauren Child, Waterstones’ Children’s Laureate and creator of Charlie and Lola, will be discussing the importance of finding time for creativity in our busy, modern lives – explaining why we should all allow ourselves idle time to dream and experiment. * Don’t miss the musical puppetry performance of a classic fairy-tale taking place in the beautiful Orangery as well as inspiring story writing workshops. * But the best of all must be the fun, hands-on clay modelling workshops where your kids can learn how to make their very own Early Man character run by the creators behind the film Aardman Animations who were also behind Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, and Shaun the Sheep.

Schools Day – Tues 8 May

What’s On? Local pupils will enjoy visits from several award-winning, bestselling children’s authors.

Highlights? Awesome writer Cressida Cowell (How to Train Your Dragon book series), a hilarious two-girl theatre company and an acclaimed comedian who will give away the Seven Secrets of Storytelling.

Basically if you (or your mudlets) are the slightest bit bookish you’d be absolutely bonkers to miss this! Get your tickets here.

Chiddingstone Castle, Hill Hoath Road, Edenbridge TN8 7AD, Tel: 01892 872 746, chiddingstonecastle.org.uk

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