A HOST of famous authors are set to inspire literary lovers at a new Dorset festival starting this week.

Dorset-based crime writer Minette Walters will be among those taking part in the inaugural Purbeck Literary Festival.

Her work has been translated into thirty-two languages and has been adapted for television to critical acclaim. She will be joined by another best-selling author Janet Gleeson discussing their work over afternoon tea in Winfrith Village Hall on Saturday March 1.

The inaugural Purbeck Literary Festival will see daily events running throughout the area this week.

The festival’s official start, at Corfe Castle’s Castle View Visitor Centre, will precede a fortnight of literary events across the district.

On Saturday, writer Nick Churchill will be revealing Dorset’s Beatles connections, which he chronicled in his book, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth, as well as a screening of A Hard Days Night at the Swanage Legion at 7.30pm.

Festival organiser Emma Fernandez said: “I am absolutely delighted to have our launch at Corfe Castle. The village and castle has inspired many writers from Hardy and EM Forster to, of course, Enid Blyton.”

Emma added: “The idea was to give anyone visiting, or local people, a chance to do something different, incorporating all types of venues and key attractions in the area.

“The response has been tremendous. It’s particularly exciting that we’ve drawn some really well-known names, who have a huge following, in only our first year.

“Anyone taking part during the two weeks will have the chance to meet authors, such as Katie Fforde, Minette Walters, and teen screen writer Anthony Burt who has worked on Doctor Who. This will be a terrific experience, which we hope will grow in years to come.”

Holly Lagden, tourism manager for Purbeck District Council said: “This new festival provides a great new reason to take a short break in Swanage and Purbeck.

“The festival offers a host of indoor events and has been designed for all ages, it’s a fantastic addition to our events calendar.”

As well as author visits to schools and libraries, there are poetry nights, Q and As, story-slams, drawing and chats. And for those who fancy a walk, there are trails including Wareham’s Literary Links and a Lawrence of Arabia trail, as well as a display of vintage Enid Blyton books at Blanchard’s bookshop in Swanage.

“Well we could hardly leave Enid Blyton out!” says Emma.

For details of prices and times see purbeckliteraryfestival.info