ILMINSTER residents have received their first ‘save the date’ along with an all-star line-up for the town’s literary festival.

This is the fifth time the festival has been held in the town, following on from the biggest year so far in 2019.

Returning to the line-up for 2020 is former-MP Alan Johnson, who also featured last year.

Despite being best known as a Labour member of parliament, last year’s talk saw Mr Johnson discuss his first true love - music.

He recently brought that love of music to ITV’s hit TV show, Masked Singer.

Johnson will be joined by Stephen Moss, an author and wildlife historian.

Mr Moss was also the producer of a number of wildlife programmes, with his best known ones featuring Bill Oddie.

Also on the list is Andrew Lownie, who is a British biographer with published works on writer John Buchan, spy Guy Burgess, and soldier Lord Mountbatten.

Another person set to star is Helen Fry.

Helen has written and edited more than 25 books.

Her works cover the social history of the Second World War - british intelligence and the secret war, spies and espionage, and MI9 escape and evasion.

Author Henry Hemming will also be part of the festival.

In 2017 it was announced that his book, M: Maxwell Knight, MI5’s Greatest Spymaster, was set to be adapted for television.

It is based on the life of spymaster Maxwell Night, reputedly a model for the James Bond character M.

Also on the line up at this stage are Barry Venning, Tessa Boase, Henrietta Lovell, Tim Murfin, and Brian Freeland.

More authors and talkers are set to be announced closer to the time.

The Ilminster Literary Festival 2020 is set to run from May 28 to June 4.

Last year’s event featured authors, poets, bloggers and young writers on show.

There were 23 different events across nine days with a number selling out in advance, including MP Alan Johnson and BBC news correspondent Kate Adie.

The 2019 event also featured a children’s poetry competition, which saw competitors from many local schools, and a total of 523 entries overall.