This year will welcome Pointless co-presenter Richard Osman, novelist and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz, Top Gear’s The Stig, South West author Kate Werran, Barnstaple’s Dominic Greensmith from Reef, actor and former MEP and gay rights activist, Michael Cashman. The festival is scheduled from September 18 to 26 at venues around the village and is now in its 15th year, once again with the continued support of its patrons, including Jeremy Vine and Judi Spiers. Organisers intend to go ahead subject to government guidelines and with all social distancing measures in place. The Thursday Murder Club, is Richard Osman’s first novel, reportedly it acquired the biggest debut novel deal of the decade. Written in secrecy over 18 months, the book is set in a fictional ‘luxury retirement village’ off the A21 in Kent and follows four retirees who meet every Thursday to investigate unsolved killings. This eagerly anticipated book has already secured film rights with Steven Spielberg’s production company, Amblin Partners, with Richard as executive producer. Local interest comes in the form of Reef drummer Dominic Greensmith who grew up in Barnstaple from the age of 10-years-old; and journalist and documentary-maker Kate Werran as she launches her first book set in her father’s hometown of Launceston. Kate’s novel, An American Uprising in the Second World War England: Mutiny in the Duchy, based on real events, is set in Launceston, Cornwall in 1943. It follows the story of a Second World War shoot-out between black and white American soldiers in the quiet town of Launceston. Plus there is celebrated mystery and suspense writer Anthony Horowitz, racing and stunt car driver Ben Collins (aka Top Gear’s The Stig) and life peer, actor, author and gay rights campaigner Michael Cashman. Profits from the nine-day festival go to support its Schools’ Literary Outreach Programme which, last year, benefitted more than 6,500 children in North Devon through a range of fun and engaging author events. Festival membership and renewals are available online at www.appledorebookfestival.co.uk or by telephone on 01237 424949 between 11am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday. Priority booking for Friends will go live on August 1, with general tickets sales going live a week later on August 8. If this year’s festival is cancelled then all 2020 Friends membership will carry over to 2021.