Flamstead hosts first book festival

Tony Parsons with book fest organiser Vikki Orvice

Tony Parsons with book fest organiser Vikki Orvice - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of people flocked to Flamstead last weekend for the first-ever book festival in the village.

Books in the Belfry – in the medieval setting of St Leonard’s Church last Saturday – featured best-selling novelist Tony Parsons in conversation about his new venture into crime-writing.

There was also a session on sports writing with former Luton Town striker turned BBC pundit Steve Claridge, ex-Premier League referee Mark Halsey who was born in Welwyn Garden City and St Albans author Ian Ridley.

The line-up included family events and workshops with top children’s authors Jonathan Stroud, Dawn Finch and Pete Johnson along with West End actor Clive Hayward. Matt Biggs, a panellist on the long-running BBC Radio 4 show Gardeners’ Question Time, also hosted a session over tea and scones. Audiences were able to meet the authors and get books signed on the day.

Tony Parsons said: “It was the first Flamstead Book Festival but there was good stuff all day long in a beautiful church.”

Clare Mulley, who gave a talk on her book about Britain’s first female spy in World War Two, commented: “It was a lovely literary festival and in a magnficent building.”

And festival co-organiser Vikki Orvice added: “It was a great day. So many well-known authors and personalities got behind it to make it such a success .”

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The festival will help raise funds needed to restore medieval wall paintings of great historical importance in the church.