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We are delighted to announce the first five authors in our Litfest 2017 line-up – Alexander McCall Smith, Chris Ewan, Wendy Moore, Melinda Salisbury and Chris Arnot!

This year’s festival – our sixth – runs from Tuesday, September 26 until Sunday, October 1 and the team is as busy as ever behind the scenes, looking to put together a schedule that hopefully has something for everyone.

Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world’s most prolific and best-loved authors, perhaps best known for his No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series, featuring Botswana-based private eye Mma Precious Ramotswe, which has sold more than 20 million books in the English language alone. His other popular series include 44 Scotland Street and the Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries. He has also written numerous novels for children.

Former Island resident Chris Ewan is returning ‘home’ to where it all started. Originally from Taunton, he was living in the Isle of Man when his first novel, The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam, was published. He has written five Good Thief titles, and several standalone crime novels, including Safe House (shortlisted for the prestigious Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year) and Dark Tides, both of which were set here, with the Island also featuring in his latest title, Long Time Lost.

Given his strong connections to the Isle of Man, we are thrilled that Chris has agreed to become our second Manx Litfest Patron, joining fellow crime author Alan Bradley.

Wendy Moore is a non-fiction author and freelance journalist, whose latest book is The Mesmerist, the true story of the mania for mesmerism (hypnotism) that gripped Victorian Britain. Her other books are The Knife Man, a biography of the 18th century surgeon, John Hunter; Wedlock, the story of the turbulent marriage of Mary Eleanor Bowes, Countess of Strathmore; and How to Create the Perfect Wife, the 18th century story of eccentric English gentleman Thomas Day, who took two young girls and educated them in order to choose the best candidate for his wife.

Melinda Salisbury is the author of The Sin Eater’s Daughter, which was the bestselling UK young adult debut novel of 2015 and nominated for multiple national and international awards. The third book in the series, The Scarecrow’s Queen, was published earlier this year with the fourth, The Heart Collector, coming soon.

Chris Arnot has been a national freelance journalist and author for more than 25 years. As well as writing extensively for The Guardian on everything from arts and travel to education and social issues, he has also been a contributor to The Independent, The Observer, The Times and Daily Telegraph. His books include four of the Britain’s Lost series for Aurum. Britain’s Lost Cricket Grounds was described by the Sunday Express as ‘the best sports book of 2011’; Billy Elliot creator Lee Hall called Britain’s Lost Mines ‘an extraordinary gallery of lives and landscapes’; Football and social history were intertwined in Fields of Dreams and The Day We Won the Cup, England then and now; and with Archers scriptwriter Simon Frith, Chris co-wrote The Archers Archives for BBC Books. Chris will be here to talk about his new book, Small Island by Little Train, which sees him tour Britain’s narrow-gauge steam railways.

We’ll have more news soon of who will be joining them in the 2017 line-up…