Now in its fifth year, Dorchester Literary Festival continues to go from strength to strength, this year extending its programme past the usual five days.

On October 12, Alexander McCall Smith will be appearing at Dorchester Corn Exchange, and on November 16, former Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy will read from her collection of poems, Sincerity, at the Thomas Hardye School.

"We’ve been wanting Carol and Alexander to speak for several years," explains Janet Gleeson, who co-directs the festival with Paul Atterbury – well known for his work on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.

"This year they both wanted to come, and we felt so honoured – and confident that our audience would appreciate a couple of extra events – that we decided to extend the dates."

When they began the festival both Janet and Paul were established authors, rather than event organisers, which proved a great asset when they were creating the concept.

Choosing the authors is a marathon undertaking. "At the beginning of the year we visit as many big publishers as we can to find out what new books are coming out. Then we compile a shopping list with our specific audiences in mind," explains Janet.

"Paul and I spend hours discussing and choosing the writers, then, once they’ve said yes, it can take weeks of trying to sort out times and dates. The big names are usually the slowest to pin down as they have so many festivals wanting them, and their schedules are complex.

"We have to ensure there are still slots available well into the summer as it’s not unusual to only get a final confirmation then. Which is why our first leaflet is unlikely to have the full programme and it’s a good idea to keep checking on our website or Facebook page to see who’s been added."

Highlights this year include Joa Studholme, Farrow & Ball's colour wizard, and Henrietta Lovell, who has travelled the world searching for tea and will be talking at a cream tea event at Dorchester Town Hall. Paul will be interviewing Simon Heffer on the First World War, Martin Kemp about Leonardo da Vinci and journalist, historian and author Leo McKinstry.

Dorchester Literary Festival runs from October 15 to October 20, with special events on October 12 and November 16.