THE Alresford Literary Festival is back for another year and well known authors have been added to the bill.

With an impressive line-up of major figures from theatre, history and literature the one-day event marks the 50th anniversary of Alresford's Historical and Literary Society.

Authors Robert Hardy, John Julius Norwich and Edna O'Brien will all give talks about their work on Saturday, June 4.

Hardy began his career as a classical actor, playing Henry V on stage and in BBC TV's Age of Kings in 1960. This sparked his interest in medieval warfare - he wrote and presented a TV documentary on the Battle of Agincourt, and wrote two important books about the longbow.

However, he will be most known for his role in the blockbuster Harry Potter films where he played Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge.

Norwich was inspired to become a writer by his first visit to Sicily in 1961, and his latest book, Sicily: A Short History from the Ancient Greeks to Cosa Nostra, is the result of a fascination that has lasted over half a century.

In tracing its dark story, he attempts to explain the enigma that lies at the heart of the Mediterranean's largest island. His illustrated talk will follow the pattern of the many such illuminating talks with which he held audiences at the Winchester Festival entranced between 1998 - 2011.

Her new novel, The Little Red Chairs, is Edna O'Brien's first in a decade. It has been acclaimed by the American writer Philip Roth as “her masterpiece”.

Its plot has echoes from real life - a wanted Balkan war criminal turns up in Ireland disguised as a holistic healer, a ruse that has parallels with Radovan Karadzic on the run from Bosnia.

She has been refusing all invitations to discuss it in public, but has made an exception for the Historical and Literary Society's Golden Anniversary Year.

Rounding off the day, the fourth and final session will be jointly presented by Dolores Willis and the festival compère, John Miller. John collaborated with John Gielgud and John Mills on their memoirs and has written biographies of Judi Dench and Peter Ustinov.

A whole-day ticket is priced at £25 and will give admission to all four sessions, with single-session tickets costing £10 each.

Tickets can be purchased by phoning 01962 733380 or by emailing They will be available from the Friday April 1.