Somerset’s county town is to play host to both a special celebration of the written word and to a festival of the visual arts this month.
Taunton Literary Festival will take place over nine days from September 22, and has attracted a wide variety of authors, from Paddy Ashdown to Pam Ayres.
Councillor Mark Edwards, deputy leader of the borough council, said it was all part of a drive to make the town a “destination for great events”.
“The buzz in Taunton on that day in May when the Olympic Torch came to town was amazing,” said Mr Edwards, who was chairman of the committee which organised the event that attracted many thousands to the town. “We cannot host another Torch Relay, but we can do our utmost to make Taunton a destination for great events, large and small.
“The visual arts Quartz Festival at Queen’s College, which runs from September 26 to October 6, is another example of how Taunton can attract the very best. It really will complement the literary festival,” he added.
The Quartz 2012 programme includes performances by opera singer Lesley Garrett, poet John Hegley and cricket commentator Henry Blofeld.
Taunton’s second literary festival is being organised by local bookshop owner Lionel Ward, who said more than 40 authors would be visiting the town to talk about their work.
Among the authors appearing are Alexander Waugh, talking about his father Auberon Waugh, who lived for most of his life just a few miles outside Taunton, writer Gervase Phinn, children’s author Beth Webb, poet Pam Ayres and thriller writer Nicci French. For more information, visit www.tauntonliterary festival.net.