A FOUR-day celebration of books, reading and writing is heading for Chipping Norton.

The Chipping Norton Literary Festival - known affectionately as ChipLitFest - is an extravaganza of author talks, signings, discussions and workshops from Thursday, April 24 to Sunday, April 27.

This year’s speakers include television producer John Lloyd, the man behind Spitting Image, Blackadder and QI, crime writers Nicci French, Tania Carver and Mark Billingham.

There will also be columnists Tim Dowling, Lucy Mangan and India Knight and novelists Kate Mosse, Joanna Trollope, and Rachel Joyce along withJonathan Aitken, Alan Johnson, Kate Adie, and economist Tim Harford.

Now in its third year, Festival Director Clare Mackintosh believes it is going from strength to strength. "There are lots of literary festivals around," she said. "But ChipLitFest offers something very special. We bring big names into intimate, local venues, which means audiences benefit from a fantastic, up-close-and-personal atmosphere.

"We also have a strong focus on the ‘how to’ side of writing, with workshops including writing for radio, becoming a Mills & Boon author, and creating suspense in your novel."

Writers can even pitch in person to literary agent Carole Blake, in a ‘Dragon Den’ style event for aspiring authors.

This year ChipLitFest has partnered with BITE, the food festival that has taken the Cotswolds by storm. On Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27 Chipping Norton's market square will be filled with food stalls and tasty titbits, perfect for refuelling readers and writers.

BITE will also host a conversation with Claudia Roden, who will talk about her life as a food writer and cultural anthropologist.

There will be free lectures on economics, Italian literature and the animal world and a ‘Meerkat Mayhem’ hunt with prizes from Cotswold Wildlife Park.

Highlights for children include Charlie & Lola’s Lauren Child, Winnie-the-Witch’s Korky Paul, and a puppet show featuring Peter Rabbit.

For a full programme, visit chiplitfest.com. Tickets are now on sale now and start from £5. Buy online, call the box office on 01608 642350 or visit The Theatre, Chipping Norton.