Record numbers of people visited the 12th Althorp Literary Festival, which took place at Althorp House in Northamptonshire recently over four days instead of its usual three.
A stellar line-up of authors including Clare Balding, Darcey Bussell, Sir Tom Stoppard, Charles Spencer, Julian Fellowes, Alan Titchmarsh, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Sophie Dahl, Gyles Brandreth, Alan Johnson (MP), Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, The Rev Richard Coles, Lady Antonia Fraser, Bernard Cornwell and Marian Keyes entertained visitors in a series of engaging interviews, during which they read extracts from their latest works and took part in question and answer sessions from the audience.
Lord Spencer said: “When I started the Althorp Literature Festival 12 years ago, I hoped it would become one of the most enjoyable summer events in Northamptonshire. I also wanted it to be something Althorp would be proud to be associated with. The line-up of speakers this year has, I hope, delivered on both fronts: it’s just an enormous treat to host such a happy occasion.”
Visitors travelled from all corners of the globe to the festival, which was supported by Christie’s.
Kerri Hayman, from Melbourne, Australia, said she’d read about it on the plane coming over to the UK and decided she had to include it in her tour.
“I’d heard how popular it’s become and it’s just so exciting to be hearing from these authors in this incredible setting,” she said. “I think it’s marvellous and Althorp is absolutely spectacular; beautifully designed with no fuss. I can imagine a very wealthy family living in it and I think it makes it more special knowing it hasn’t changed hands in its history.”
Yolanta Valentine of Northamptonshire said this was the first time she’d visited the festival but would be returning in future with her friends from London.
“It’s absolutely wonderful to have such a cultural event taking place here. It is really putting Northamptonshire on the cultural map, which is fantastic.”