BOOK lovers will be able to listen to big-name authors in small venues at Chipping Norton Literary Festival this week.

The event will take place across 10 venues in the town and feature 50 discussions, workshops and children’s events.

Writers include Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, Girl with a Pearl Earring author Tracy Chevalier and We Need to Talk About Kevin writer Lionel Shriver.

Author and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and the comedians behind BBC Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue will also discuss their latest books.

The festival runs from today until Sunday.

Festival director Clare Mackintosh said: “We have got 50 events, over four days at 10 different venues, so it will take over the whole town.

“People who come to Chipping Norton will get a real festival buzz from the event.

“We have got what perhaps you do not get at other festivals, which is a real sense of proximity to the authors. We bring big names to small venues.

“So, we have JJ Moyes at the back room of the Blue Boar, which has got 50 seats, but she normally speaks to audiences of hundreds.

“People will get a real opportunity to meet their favourite authors up close.

“These are very well known, very commercial authors who write books that a lot of us have scattered around the house. We will bring your bookshelf to life.”

The event will also feature children’s activities, including Oxfordshire Play Bus visiting the town centre on Saturday and Sunday.

Organisers have also put on a real-life Where’s Wally hunt, in which people will search the town for cardboard cutouts of the character.

This year’s festival will have its line-up tweaked, after feedback from last year, so fewer events clash and workshops are longer and more in-depth.

Mrs Mackintosh said: “Chipping Norton is a great place to hold a literary festival.

“We have got an award-winning bookshop and theatre and we have got some fantastic writers who live in and around the area.

“What it does is bring all these things together to make for a fantastic festival.

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