EXCELLENT speakers, fascinating talks and a warm welcome await Knutsford Literature Festival-goers as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.

The festival runs from October 12 to 16, and biography, history, art and music, politics and espionage feature in this year’s programme, with topics as diverse as 19th century artists and composers, Second World War secret agents, the Bauhaus Movement, medieval crusaders and trail-blazing women MPs.

The Literary Lunch at Mere Golf Resort and Spa on October 16 is fully booked, but a few tickets for other events are still available.

Festival committee member Liz Kempster said: “Besides inviting established writers we have always aimed to showcase new writers on the literary scene and to find topics for our festivalgoers that are that little bit different.

“This year we highlight SOE operative Virginia Hall and the muse Alma Mahler.

Knutsford Guardian:

Cate Haste

“Our audiences will also find our speakers are often also journalists, documentary-makers and TV personalities who bring us first-hand accounts not only of their new books but also their fascinating background research.”

Snap up a ticket to hear from top historian and TV documentary-maker Dan Jones, who will be talking at The Cottons Hotel on Sunday, October 13 about his latest book, The Crusaders, and his researches into the religious conflicts which continue to this day. Tickets are £10, redeemable against the purchase of Dan’s book.

Journalist Sonia Purnell had to go through nine levels of security clearance including the CIA during her research into the hitherto classified top secret story of Hitler’s most wanted secret agent, Virginia Hall.

Sonia will be appearing at The Methodist Church in Princess Street on Tuesday, October 15 at 2.30pm to introduce her new book, A Woman of No Importance. Tickets are £5.

Knutsford Guardian:

Sonia Purnell

Biographer and documentary-maker Cate Haste has researched and re-evaluated the life of another feisty woman, the bewitching and highly controversial muse, Alma Mahler, wife and mistress of some of the world’s greatest composers and artists.

Cate will talk about ‘Passionate Spirit: The Life of Alma Mahler’ at The Methodist Church on Saturday, October 12 at 2.30pm. Tickets are £5.

For further information about all the events see the festival website knutsfordlitfest.org

Tickets can be bought from Waterstones in King Street, Knutsford.