The Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival was a resounding success as an outstanding line-up of names from the world of politics, stage and screen descended on the Crown Hotel.
The event, which is now in its sixth year, saw a rise in ticket sales as audiences welcomed the likes of Baroness Joan Bakewell, Martin Sixsmith and Peter Snow.
Zoe Robinson, Raworths Managing Partner, said: “The festival was eye-opening with talks on everything from prison rehabilitation from Jonathan Aitken to touching on Strictly Come Dancing with Ann Widdecombe.
“Raworths are committed to supporting the arts in the local community and this world-class book festival brings great benefits to Harrogate. The event really brings people together, attracting strong local support as well as visitors from further afield.
“The diverse line-up engaged, inspired and entertained, all delivered with the friendliness, professionalism and polish you’d expect from Harrogate International Festivals.”
Author Victoria Hislop attracted huge crowds with a 220-strong audience, and the mountaineer Chris Bonington entertained a full house with the Yorkshire Post literary lunch. Festival staff served over 500 gins in an hour at a gin tasting with gin connoisseur Ian Buxton and Harrogate’s own Slingsby Gin.
There were also moving talks on autism with the editor of Psychologies magazine, Suzy Greavesand loneliness and grief with Cathy Rentzenbrink and Gail Honeyman, author of the hit novel, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.
Sharon Canavar, CEO of Harrogate International Festivals, said: “It was a joy to see so much support for this popular event which brings to our town such high-end authors. This is the first year we moved the event from its traditional July slot to October.
“Having hot-housed the Raworths Literature Festival within our busy summer season it was time for this growing event to move to an independent slot in the autumn season, and the growth in ticket sales shows the move has successfully ensured the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival had its most successful year to date.”