VARIETY is certainly the spice of life when it comes to the Taunton Literary Festival.

Audiences are snapping up tickets for all the events even some which organiser Lionel Ward did not think would attract as much interest as they have like Death, Disease and Dissection: Life of a surgeon apothecary 1750-1850 by Suzie Grogan.

The Taunton Literary Festival which opened on November 3, looks even at this early stage, to be one of the best ever.

The festival is now gearing itself for a ‘Super Weekend’ when some big names including Terry Waite, Joann Fletcher and Alan Johnson will be in town.

Organiser, Lionel Ward from Brendon Books said: “The opening events were brilliant.

The Genius of Jane Austen with Paula Byrne and Imogen Smith was great. It opened with a half hour play which contained lots of swooning.

“We learnt it had been written by Jane Austen when she was 14-years-old and was a take off (parody) of what was going on in her society and in literature of the time.

“It was great seeing Paula (the author) and Imogen (the actress) taking about this as you understood it from a different perspective. I learnt so much from it which I did not know.

“What is good is Imogen will be appearing at the radio event on November 22.”

The Shakespeare event on Saturday was a read out loud event of Two Gentlemen of Verona.

This was read out loud by members of the audience who each did a bit before passing it on to the person next to them.

The film on Saturday afternoon One Day in the life of Ivan Denisovich followed by by a discussion of the book and film was well received.

And the final event of the weekend was Being David Archer with Tim Bentinck.

Lionel said: “What was a revelation from his talk was if he does not appear in The Archers on Radio 4, he is not paid.

"He is not on a retainer and if he is not in the drama he has to find other work as an actor.

“What was impressive was how much other work he had done including appearing on The Last Post which was on television on Sunday evening.

“One thing he told us was he is the voice on the Mind the Gap on the tube.

"So when he got off the train he would hear his own voice telling himself to mind the gap when leaving the carriage.”

For a full listings of what is up and coming for the Taunton Literary Festival and to buy tickets go to tauntonliteraryfestival. net or call 01823 337742.