Chocolat novelist at Marlborough LitFest

BEST-SELLING novelist Joanne Harris, the author of Chocolat, is one of the headline names at this year’s tenth anniversary Marlborough Literature Festival, which runs from 26th to 29th September.

She will be talking about The Strawberry Thief, the fourth in the series that began 20 years ago, introducing a spellbound readership to the seductive charms of Vianne and her magical talents with chocolate. The subsequent novels were The Lollipop Shoes and Peaches for Monsieur le Cure.

In the new novel, Vianne is settled in Lansquenet-sous-Tannes and runs her chocolate shop with her second child Rosette. Even Reynaud, the priest has become a friend. When old Narcisse, the florist, dies, leaving a parcel of land to Rosette and a written confession to Reynaud, the life of the quiet village is once again thrown into confusion. As always, Joanne Harris spins her web (like Vianne) and draws the reader in …

On the same day, the festival’s annual Hiscox Debut Authors event will feature Elizabeth Macneal, whose debut novel The Doll Factory is set in 1850s London, and Stacey Halls and her first novel, The Familiars, which explores the lives and rights of women against the backdrop of witchcraft trials in 17th century Lancashire.