Marlborough LitFest announces Big Town Read

By Barrie Hudson - 25 May 2021

Arts and Culture
  • Author Rosamund Lupton

    Author Rosamund Lupton

One of Marlborough LitFest’s most popular events is returning for 2021.

  • Three Hours tells of a Somerset school under siege

    Three Hours tells of a Somerset school under siege

This year's annual Big Town Read has been announced as literary thriller Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton. 

Rosamund will be appearing at LitFest on Sunday, 3 October in Marlborough Town Hall in a live audience event which will also be live streamed.

As part of its aim to bring good writing, every year Marlborough LitFest, with the support of local libraries, chooses a title which is suggested for local book groups and individuals to read ahead of the author appearing at LitFest. 

Copies of the book will be available to order from Marlborough Library over the summer.

Genevieve Clarke, Chair of Marlborough LitFest, said: “We have high hopes that we’ll have a large audience in the Town Hall ready to talk about Rosamund Lupton’s compelling thriller but we’ll also live stream the event so that people can watch it online. 

"Three Hours has got all the ingredients to provoke a lively debate which is what we want.”

Three Hours, first published in 2020, is a Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller, the Times Thriller of the Year and a best book of 2020 in the Sunday Times, Times, Guardian, Mail, Express, Mirror, Literary Review, Stylist, Red and Good Housekeeping, as well as being a Times & Sunday Times Thriller of the Month. 

It tells of a school in rural Somerset under siege from gunmen in the middle of a blizzard, with pupils and teachers barricaded into classrooms. In three intense hours, all must find the courage to stand up to evil and save the people they love. 

Rosamund Lupton has written three other novels. Her debut, Sister, published in 2010, was a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, has been translated into over 30 languages and has international sales of over 1.5m copies.

Marlborough LitFest’s annual Big Town Read has proved popular with audiences – particularly local book groups – who enjoy the group discussion feel of the event and the ability to have a Q&A session with the author during the festival. 

Previous Big Town Read authors have included Laline Paull, Sathnam Sanghera, Jackie Kay, Rachel Joyce and Raynor Winn.

LitFest will comply with current government covid-19 guidelines during its festival weekend and plans to offer a mix of live and virtual author events at Marlborough Town Hall and venues around the town. 

Working with video creative agency, StreamWorks, the festival’s aim is to reach as wide an audience as possible so that people can either attend covid-safe events in person or watch sessions online.

This year’s festival will feature a varied programme of events for all ages including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Already confirmed for the 2021 line-up is award-winning British-Turkish author, Elif Shafak, who will be appear on Friday, 1 October. 

The festival aims to champion new, upcoming writers as well as established names, and also encourage a love of reading in children and young people with author talks, competitions and an ongoing community outreach programme. 

The full programme will be available at the end of August and tickets will go on sale in early September. More information can be found at

Marlborough LitFest is grateful to event sponsors Hiscox Insurance, William Golding Limited, Marlborough College, St Francis School, and, as well as Hamilton Trust, Katharine House Gallery, The Arts Society Kennet & Swindon, Haine and Smith, The White Horse Bookshop and Wiltshire Life for their continued support to the festival.

Rosamund Lupton's website is

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