The Flamstead Book Festival “Books in the Belfry” is back this year with a stellar line-up to help raise vital funds for the village church roof and other urgent repairs.

HELEN PANKHURST, the great-granddaughter of suffragette leader Emmeline, headlines the 2018 Festival which will be held from Thursday August 30 to Saturday September 1 at St Leonard’s Church.

Helen will be talking on September 1 about her famous family and new book “Deeds not Words” which is published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the suffragettes’ great victory – the passing of the Representation of the People Act which first gave women the right to vote.

The Festival kicks-off on the evening of August 30 with an appearance from former England, Arsenal and Leicester striker ALAN SMITH. Smith’s autobiography “Heads Up” is out in time for Books in the Belfry,¬†and there will be the chance to quiz him on Arsene Wenger’s successor at Arsenal as well as the inevitable post-mortem on England’s World Cup results this summer.

Best-selling novelist SARAH VAUGHAN promises an entertaining evening on Friday August 31 discussing how she got into writing and the success of her topical thriller “An Anatomy of a Scandal”. If you liked the recently televised “Apple Tree Yard” you will love her gripping page-turner.

Others appearing along with Helen Pankhurst on Saturday September 1¬†include historical biographer CLARE MULLEY, making a welcome return after her popular session at our debut Festival in 2014. She will be talking about her new work “The Women Who Flew For Hitler”.

Tickets will be available from Monday June 11 on the Festival website www.flamsteadbookfestival.com where you will also find details of the programme and authors.

This year’s line-up follows in the footsteps of a long list of top names who have appeared since 2014 including Jane Hawking, Tony Parsons, Sophie Hannah, GBBO winner Edd Kimber, Dermot Turing and comedian Andy Hamilton.

It’s sure to be as popular an event as ever so make sure you book early and follow the Festival on twitter @FlamsteadBkFest or on the Facebook page Flamstead Book Festival.

Proceeds from the Festival have always helped support the Friends of St Leonard’s (FoSL) to raise funds for repair and restoration work on the roof and fabric to safeguard the village church and its unique medieval wall-paintings for future generations.

But as most of you are now aware the church needs hundreds of thousands of pounds spending on work to the roof, with the Flamstead Heritage Project set up to avoid the threat of the 12th century building actually closing; so this year we want to raise as much as possible. After all we need a Belfry to hold the Book Festival in…

Mark, Mary, Vikki.