The organisers of a literary festival are celebrating its success after ticket sales almost doubled.

Dorchester Literary Festival returned for its ninth year with the county town playing host to some top writers including Victoria Hislop, Cathy Rentzenbrink and Damien Lewis.

The festival is organised by Janet Gleeson and Paul Atterbury, who are both writers themselves. They started the festival to allow book lovers to hear stimulating talks and discussions by leading authors in a relaxed and beautiful setting. 

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Dorset Echo: Louise Minchin and Julia Bradbury

A spokesperson for the festival said: "It's been such an incredible year. We've never had such positive feedback from the audience and ticket sales almost doubled.

"There was even some audience participation this year; Julia Bradbury had them exercising and Lemn Sissay got them to sing one of his poems. There was a lot of laughter.

"Highlights included Julia Bradbury doing a surprise interview with Louise Minchin, Daniel Finkelstein's Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad was an absolute highlight. It's hard to pick one out.

"What struck me was the air of optimism and empowerment despite the gravitas of what's going on in the world right now.

"There was a call to pay attention: as Robert Peston put it; 'There are immense challenges ahead - and it can be hard to engage with - but we've got to read the news and hold people to account. Apathy arms those in power'."

The festival also welcomed some familiar faces from the small screen. 

Television presenter Julia Bradbury discussed her part self-help and part memoir Walk Yourself Happy, while former BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin, who went from presenting to competing in triathlons, shared tales from her book Fearless - Adventures with Extraordinary Women.

Dorset Echo: Polly Toynbee in conversation with Kate Adie

Additionally, Alan Titchmarsh talked about his new book on Chatsworth House and Gardens, BBC broadcaster James Naughtie discussed his Desert Island Books, Ray Mears was in conversation on his book British Woodland and journalist Robert Peston spoke on his novel The Crash.

This year Dorchester Literary Festival supported charity Weldmar Hospicecare, which provides end-of-life care for adults with a life-limiting illness.