Local, national and international authors have been flocking to Appledore this week to talk at the 11th Appledore Book Festival.

Some of the country's leading authors have proudly reaffirmed their North Devon links at the Appledore Book Festival.

The 11th festival kicked off last week with a range of different author talks and workshops.

Crime writer Ian Rankin decided to take part in the Appledore Book Festival after a conversation with his friend, music-writer and author Richard Havers.

He said: "I had heard of the Appledore Book Festival before being invited because a friend of mine Richard Havers who I've known for over a decade, moved down to this particular part of the world.

"He's a journalist and has been a ghost writer in his time and he and his wife, who I know very well, said there's this lovely little festival in Appledore and you should come to it some year.

"My wife and I thought let's make a weekend of it."

Sian Williams at Appledore Book Festival. Pictures: Mick Kavanagh PhotographySian Williams at Appledore Book Festival. Pictures: Mick Kavanagh Photography

Local links

Crime writer Hillary Bonner, who discussed her latest book Deadly Dance at her event, said: "This may sound like a commercial or like I've been programmed but I'm particularly pleased to be here because Bideford is my home town.

"I was brought up in Bideford and went to school at Edge Hill College. My dad was a butcher in the town and he also owned and ran for some time the Clevedon Cafe and my mum was a Braddick.

"I've known about the Appledore Book Festival for quite a long and I'm thrilled they found me and I found it."

Tanya Landman at Appledore Book Festival. Pictures: Mick Kavanagh PhotographyTanya Landman at Appledore Book Festival. Pictures: Mick Kavanagh Photography

Award-winning novelist Ann Cleeves, whose books inspired TV dramas Vera and Shetland, had memories of a different kind.

She said: "I grew up in Barnstaple and I can remember a really wild party in Appledore when I was about 17.

"I don't think my parents ever knew exactly what happened but I do remember having been to Appledore before."

She added with a smile: "It's probably best not to say any more about it.

" I lived in Barnstaple from the age of 11 until I left for college at about 17, 18."

Hilary Bonner at Appledore Book Festival. Pictures: Mick Kavanagh PhotographyHilary Bonner at Appledore Book Festival. Pictures: Mick Kavanagh Photography

Scilly Sergeant

Colin Taylor, whose book The Life of a Scilly Sergeant could become a major TV series, also has strong North Devon links.

He said: "This is my first time in Appledore to my shame being a North Devon boy but I was brought up in Barnstaple and I went to Park School and North Devon College."

The festival indirectly helped Colin to share an unexpected family reunion.

He said: "My mother lives in Barnstaple and my brother, who lives in Sydney, Australia, just happens to be over in this country this weekend and he's at the festival.

Ann Cleaves at Appledore Book Festival. Pictures: Mick Kavanagh PhotographyAnn Cleaves at Appledore Book Festival. Pictures: Mick Kavanagh Photography

"So along with my my wife and children it will be nice to have a family gathering. It works perfectly."

TV journalist

TV journalist and broadcaster Sian Williams talked about her book RISE, an account of her experience of breast cancer.

She said: "I've been doing journalism now for 30 years and it's relentless, obviously exciting; it changes day to day and can be quite difficult and challenging..

Peter Christie at Appledore Book Festival. Pictures: Mick Kavanagh PhotographyPeter Christie at Appledore Book Festival. Pictures: Mick Kavanagh Photography

"Sometimes when you are doing the news you don't think there is not much light and hope and goodness but there is of course.

"It's just the way the news works that it's mainly the bad stuff that's going on around us.

"If you are ensconced in that all day every day to come somewhere where there's just enjoyment of art and literature and peace and the exploration of ideas and values it's mind expanding. "

It was a special time too for Alison Weir, the UK's top-selling female historian who discussed her new biography about Ann Boleyn.

800th festival

She said "This is my first time in Appledore but I do a lot of book festivals and in fact this is my 800th event since 1991."

Alison was pleased to be able to celebrate that milestone in Appledore and added: "I am delighted to be here and delighted to be asked because when I looked it up I saw how prestigious the festival was.

"It's a great festival to do although my publicist said it's a long way to go and it's up to you whether you want to go that far for a single event.

"Normally, we try to do a cluster of events in an area but I looked at it and said I've got to do this one."

There are still tickets available for many of the festival talks and workshops, which runs until Saturday. Visit www.appledorebookfestival.co.uk for more information and to book tickets.