ILMINSTER’S Literary Festival is set to return with a bang as the organisers have spent more money than ever in a bid to bring big names to the town.

The annual event’s programme for 2018 was launched this week and will see star names come to the South Somerset town.

There will also be a wide variety of offerings, including talks, Q&As, poetry and wine tasting, a creative writing workshop for adults, and ghost stories.

Brenda Lake, festival chairman, is excited ahead of this year’s showing.

This will be the third annual Ilminster Literary Festival.

Brenda said: “We are very pleased with what we have got. We have got amazing people this year.

“We have 22 or 23 events going on. We are running from Wednesday, May 30, to Friday, June 8.

“We have spent more money and really gone for quality over quantity across the whole range.”

Author Laurie Graham will be putting on the show Murders Most Horrid, bringing her novel character Miss Dot Allbones to the Warehouse Theatre stage on the opening night.

Chris Mullin, is an author and journalist, and a former MP and minister. He has published three diaries, the novel A Very British Coup which was transformed into a TV series, and his latest work, memoirs entitled Hinterland.

Brenda added: “We have Grahame Lloyd, who has written a book about Garry Sobers’ six sixes.

“We have tried to match things like that with locations, so Grahame Lloyd will be at Ilminster Cricket Club pavilion.

“Another example of that, linking buildings with topics of concern, is Brian Freeland, whose talk View from the Wings will be held at the Warehouse Theatre.

“Robert Parry will be telling ghost stories at the Nyanza Lodge, which, if you have ever been in there, you will know that place has that feeling.”

Martin Bell has been a soldier, a war reporter and an Independent MP. He has published a book, War and the Death of News, and will be discussing the state of journalism, along with the rise of fake news and alternative facts.

Producer Stephen Moss, whose TV credits include Springwatch, and is the president of Somerset Wildlife Trust, will be hosting a talk sponsored by The Shrubbery Hotel on June 6.

“We have slimmed it down to include more quality,” said Brenda.

“We have given ourselves more time to prepare and there are only about three events a day.”

The festival, which is now a registered charity, is run by a group of six trustees and a management operations committee of around six volunteers.

Tickets are available to buy at Airs and Graces in Silver Street, Ilminster, which is open from Tuesday to Saturday.

Alternatively, you can purchase tickets online at