Packed line-up of writers and illustrators for BirchLit festival

Garry Parsons, Linda Regan and Michael Howard are amongst the line-up

Birchington’s literary festival returns to the village on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June featuring a top line up of guest writers and illustrators designed to appeal to adults and children.

BirchLit, to be held in The Centre, Alpha Road and in marquees on the nearby Dog Acre open space, will welcome a range of speakers including politicians, sport and media personalities – all of whom have literary connections. Children’s authors and illustrators will entertain younger guests throughout the weekend.

Sandra Howard, an iconic fashion model during the 1960s, chats with Barbara Sturgeon about her journey from the swinging sixties to bestselling author. Sandra’s husband Lord Michael Howard, former party leader and Secretary of State, will be talking about his parliamentary career.

Tate Britain curator Carol Jacobi and Turner Contemporary director Clarrie Wallis will be wowing art lovers while local sporting hero Taylor Lawrence charts his meteoric rise to becoming a member of Great Britain’s world championship medal winning bobsleigh team.

Fans of 1980s TV sitcom Hi-de-Hi! will recognise actress turned crime writer Linda Regan from her role as Yellow coat “April”. After 36 years of producing Blue Peter, Alex Leger talks about the thrills and spills of being part of the long running BBC children’s programme. Those with green fingers will have the chance to quiz Philip Oostenbrink, head gardener of Walmer Castle Gardens.

The ever popular illustrator of The Dinosaur That Pooped books, Garry Parsons, will thrill youngsters along with writer and illustrator Ed Boxall, creator of brilliant scientist Granny Green. They will be joined by a host of other children’s authors including Kent based Gianna Pollero, writer of the Monster Donuts series.

Lead organiser Geraldine Watson said: “Following the success of last year’s debut celebration, we have been very fortunate to be able to create a packed programme once more designed to appeal to a broad audience, whether that be helping to highlight a serious issue or enjoy something more light-hearted.”

The festival has drawn on a pool of local talent. Writer-poets Madeline White and Maggie Harris feature in the line up as do popular local historian and classic car author Nick Evans, crime writer Carol Creasey and popular music archivist Peter Checksfield. Best selling author Laura Barnett and Margate based environmental and sustainability campaigner Georgina Wilson-Powell talk about their work and recent books.

Keeping it local, festival organisers have partnered with estate agents Miles & Barr, Monty’s Greengrocers and The Classroom in Westgate as well as Thanet Lions – all giving prizes for short story and poetry competitions. Neurodivergent performers and Signers will feature, including Westgate resident and volunteer hero Wilfred Jenkins, during a number of the sessions to support greater diversity and inclusion.

Tickets to all sessions are free and can be booked via