One of Marlborough LitFest’s most popular events returns for 2021 – the annual Big Town Read, this year the literary thriller, Three Hours, by Rosamund Lupton. Rosamund will be appearing at LitFest on Sunday 3rd October in Marlborough Town Hall in a live audience event that will also be livestreamed.

As part of its aim to bring good writing to the town, every year Marlborough LitFest, along with the support of local libraries, chooses a title which is suggested for local book groups and individuals to read ahead of the author appearing at LitFest. Copies of the book will be available to order from Marlborough Library over the summer.

Three Hours, first published in 2020, is a Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller, the Times Thriller of the Year and a best book of 2020 in the Sunday Times, Times, Guardian, Mail, Express, Mirror, Literary Review, Stylist, Red and Good Housekeeping, as well as being a Times & Sunday Times Thriller of the Month. It tells of a school in rural Somerset under siege from gunmen in the middle of a blizzard, with pupils and teachers barricaded into classrooms. In three intense hours, all must find the courage to stand up to evil and save the people they love. The Sunday Times calls it ‘A brilliant literary thriller…moving, masterly’; The Observer calls it ‘An emotionally devastating and beautifully observed literary thriller’. It has also been a great hit with reading groups – see the author’s website.

Rosamund Lupton has written three other novels. Her debut novel Sister, published in 2010, was a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, has been translated into over thirty languages and has international sales of over 1.5 million copies.

Genevieve Clarke, Chair of Marlborough LitFest, said: “We have high hopes that we’ll have a large audience in the Town Hall ready to talk about Rosamund Lupton’s compelling thriller but we’ll also live stream the event so that people can watch it online. Three Hours has got all the ingredients to provoke a lively debate which is what we want.”

Marlborough LitFest’s annual Big Town Read has proved popular with audiences – particularly local book groups – who enjoy the group discussion feel of the event and the ability to have a Q&A session with the author during the festival. Previous Big Town Read authors have included Laline Paull, Sathnam Sanghera, Jackie Kay, Rachel Joyce and Raynor Winn.

LitFest will comply with current government Covid-19 guidelines during its festival weekend and plans to offer a mix of live and virtual author events at Marlborough Town Hall and venues around Marlborough. Working with video creative agency, StreamWorks, the festival’s aim is to reach as wide an audience as possible so that people can either attend Covid-safe events in person or watch sessions online.

This year’s festival will feature a varied programme of events for all ages including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Already confirmed for the 2021 line-up is award-winning British-Turkish author, Elif Shafak, who will be the festival’s headline 10th Golding Speaker on Friday 1 October. The festival aims to champion new, upcoming writers as well as established names and also encourage a love of reading in children and young people with author talks, competitions and our ongoing community outreach programme. The full programme will be available at the end of August and tickets will go on sale in early September. For more information, visit the festival website.