Some of the countrys 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 Ive known for over a decade, moved down to this particular part of the world. Hes a journalist and has been a ghost writer in his time and he and his wife, who I know very well, said theres this lovely little festival in Appledore and you should come to it some year. My wife and I thought lets make a weekend of it. Local linksCrime writer Hillary Bonner, who discussed her latest book Deadly Dance at her event, said: This may sound like a commercial or like Ive been programmed but Im 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. Ive known about the Appledore Book Festival for quite a long and Im thrilled they found me and I found it. 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 dont think my parents ever knew exactly what happened but I do remember having been to Appledore before. She added with a smile: Its 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. Scilly SergeantColin 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 hes at the festival. So along with my my wife and children it will be nice to have a family gathering. It works perfectly.TV journalistTV journalist and broadcaster Sian Williams talked about her book RISE, an account of her experience of breast cancer. She said: Ive been doing journalism now for 30 years and its relentless, obviously exciting; it changes day to day and can be quite difficult and challenging.. Sometimes when you are doing the news you dont think there is not much light and hope and goodness but there is of course. Its just the way the news works that its mainly the bad stuff thats going on around us. If you are ensconced in that all day every day to come somewhere where theres just enjoyment of art and literature and peace and the exploration of ideas and values its mind expanding. It was a special time too for Alison Weir, the UKs top-selling female historian who discussed her new biography about Ann Boleyn. 800th festivalShe 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. Its a great festival to do although my publicist said its a long way to go and its 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 Ive 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.