SUPPORTERS of Dorchester Literary Festival packed the launch of this year’s festival, which opens on Saturday (12) with a special appearance by Alexander McCall Smith.

Other writers appearing later in the week include Prue Leith, Tracy Chevalier, Adam Nicholson, Victoria Hislop, Sir Tim Waterstone, Dom Joly, Tim Pears, Simon Heffer and Raynor Winn.

Paul Atterbury, co-director of the Festival, announced that ticket sales have already surpassed the total amount sold at last year’s festival, saying that it’s clear that Dorchester – and Dorset – has fully embraced the annual literary event.

This year’s chosen charity is People First Dorset; and there will be collection boxes at each event. People First Dorset is charity led and run by people with learning disabilities, with support from staff and volunteers.

Members from the charity put on an excellent performance when they read a joint statement about the work the charity does, which includes providing friendship clubs, a quality checking service for local services, general advice and women’s workshops.

Tickets for the festival are on sale via and the Tourist Information Centre in Dorchester library.