Appledore Book Festival is around the corner and is celebrating record ticket sales for its line-up.

The popular literary festival returns on September 21-29, with headliners including Michael Palin, Jeremy Vine, Anthony Horrowitz and Harriet Harman.

Festival director Miche Tompkins said the spike in sales was a blessing and a challenge for the book festival team.

She said: “We have moved as many events as we possibly can to bigger venues to ensure as many tickets as possible are available.

“As a result there are still tickets available to see many headline events including Simon Mayo, Kate Williams, Patrick Gale, Kate Mosse, Minette Walters, Helen Rappaport and Lesley Pearse.”

Some of the people and faces from Appledore Book Festival 2013. Picture: Sarah Gallifent.Some of the people and faces from Appledore Book Festival 2013. Picture: Sarah Gallifent.

The unprecedented demand for tickets caused the festival website to overload, telephone lines to jam and huge queues to form at the box office in Appledore.

Miche added: “Michael Palin sold out in under an hour so we made the decision to move the event to Kingsley School and with their support we can now ensure 400 people are able to take part in this event.”

Lesley Pearse, one of the UK’s best-loved storytellers, arrives at the festival only weeks after the launch of her latest book, The House Across the Street.

She has sold more than 10 million copies of her books and will be in conversation with Judi Spiers on Saturday, September 29.

Lesley Pearse. Picture: Charlotte MurphyLesley Pearse. Picture: Charlotte Murphy

Musicians with fascinating pasts often enjoy a visit to the festival and blues, jazz and folk singer Gareth Hedges is no exception.

He has played his six and 12-stringed guitars all over the world and particularly enjoyed touring the United States.

He said: “When I was young I travelled to America and met and learned from several folk and blues icons - Mississippi Fred McDowell, Doc Watson, Pete Seeger, Bill Monroe, Rev Gary Davies to name a few and these people performed at huge concerts and small venues.

“It’s part of the experience and, of course, meeting and talking to people of all walks of life where the common bond is enthusiasm for music is a joy. So Memphis to Appledore, why not?

“I almost always try a new piece as it’s a challenge to myself. Seeing as it’s Appledore, I’ve got to do at least one fishing song.”

There is also live music from talented Devon singer Lara Conley, who is a regular performer in Morocco, and jazz artists Babelfish.

The Festival is also showing several unusual films this year including The Ballad of Shirley Collins.

This fascinating documentary reveals how English folk singer Shirley Collins dramatically lost her voice on stage after her husband left her.

She faded from the folk scene until, at the age of 82, she made a remarkable comeback with her new album, Lodestar - her first in 38 years. It is being shown on Tuesday, September 25, at 8pm.

The festival runs from September 21-29 and remaining tickets can be bought on their website.