He may be more known for his work in Parliament than as a writer but former Home Secretary Alan Johnson will be special guest at a west Dorset literary festival.

Mr Johnson, who served as a Cabinet minister in Tony Blair and then Gordon Brown's Government, will be speaking at Lyme Crime, Dorset’s new crime and thriller festival, about his first thriller, The Last Train to Gypsy Hill.

The festival, which was launched online in June 2020, returns with a full, three-day festival from June 23 to 25 at the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis.

It aims to celebrate the best crime and thriller fiction and examine the real-world issues that find their way onto the page. In a series of panels and conversations, festival visitors will hear from authors as well as lawyers, judges, police officers and forensic specialists.

Mr Johnson's contemporary thriller has been described as fast paced, elegantly written and warm hearted. The former MP is already an acclaimed writer; his childhood memoir, This Boy, published in 2013, won the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, and the Orwell Prize, Britain's top political writing award. The second and third volumes were also prize winners.

"It’s a huge honour to welcome Alan Johnson to our inaugural festival," said Paddy Magrane, Director of Lyme Crime. "He has an extraordinary hinterland as a senior politician and a deep love of crime fiction. It will be fascinating hearing how he’s brought those two worlds together with his new thriller, which I know is infused with authentic and credible detail about espionage and security."

Alan Johnson will be in conversation with Sunday Times bestselling crime writer, Harriet Tyce, at 6.30pm on Saturday, June 25 at the Marine Theatre.

Also joining the line-up is Angela Gallop CBE, a practising forensic scientist for over 45 years who personally oversaw the cases of Rachel Nickell, Damilola Taylor, Roberto Calvi and Stephen Lawrence.

She will be discussing her latest book, How To Solve A Crime, which reveals the ways in which criminals, however skilled, always leave a trace.

She joins an amazing line-up of crime writers at the festival. Panellists include Nicci French, Erin Kelly, Fiona Cummins, Heidi Perks, Laura Shepherd-Robinson, Harriet Tyce, Antonia Hodgson, Abir Mukherjee and Laurence Anholt.

Charlotte Philby will also be attending to speak about her new novel, Edith and Kim, which looks at the relationship between her double-agent grandfather Kim and Soviet spy, Edith Tudor-Hart.

For details of the programme and to buy tickets, visit www.lymecrime.co.uk