GIBRALTAR has been taken over by some of the world’s top writers this weekend for its second international literary festival.

Audiences were forced to brave torrential rain on Friday but there was still a strong turn-out for the lectures – at a range of venues in the town centre.

Radio Gibraltar has been broadcasting live from Main Street throughout the festival, featuring interviews with many of the world-class speakers.

Gibraltar’s own budding authors were given a master class by international best seller Lucy Watkins on Friday night, although she made the lecture with not a second to spare after her flight was redirected to Malaga, taking her journey time to ten hours.

“Don’t let rejections get you down, you just need to keep trying and keep looking for that right agent,” she explained, along with advice on submitting pitches for novels and non-fiction books, and working with agents and editors.

A talk on the history of sherry and a tasting session guided by expert Beltran Domecq was a sell-out success, as was award-winning actress and world authority on Indian food Madhur Jaffrey’s lunch and talk at the Royal Gibraltar Yacht Club.

Friday evening was rounded off with singing sensation Patti Boulaye performing a range of popular tunes and musical hits in the unique surroundings of St Michael’s cave.

A host of other academics and authors have delivered talks throughout the weekend, including bestselling novelist and travel writer Katie Hickman on the year she spent living with a circus troupe in Mexico, as well as Professor Martin Kemp on the role the Straits of Gibraltar played in the thinking of the great renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci.

The festival ends today with talks including travel writer Barnaby Rogerson on Marrakesh, disgraced former British cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken on working with Margaret Thatcher and Christoper Howse, author of The Train in Spain, speaks about his epic 3,000-mile railway journey through Spain.

Total attendances soared from 1,999 in 2013 to 3,569 this year, an increase of 79%.

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