Harrogate History Festival has announced an epic line-up of authors, inviting audiences to unlock the past, from fact to fiction.

Now in its fourth year, delivered by Harrogate International Festivals, giants of the genre include Antony Beevor, Philippa Gregory, Tracy Chevalier, Joe Abercrombie, Nicholas Crane and Paddy Ashdown.

The Harrogate History Festival cements Harrogate’s profile as a leading destination for book lovers. It takes place 20-23 October at the Old Swan Hotel.

Antony Beevor is a historian who has transformed the genre and inspired a generation. His history of the battle of Stalingrad catapulted him to international fame in 1998. His latest book Ardennes 1944 – Hitler’s Last Gamble went straight to No 1 on the Sunday Times Bestseller list.

Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring was snapped up by Hollywood, starring Colin Firth, catapulting Chevalier into the literary spotlight. Her latest novel, At the Edge of the Orchard, is a dark, evocative and sweeping story of a pioneer family in Ohio, 1838.

Another author who seduced the big screen with The Other Boleyn Girl – which starred Mark Rylance, Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson – is Philippa Gregory. She returns to the Tudors, with her latest novel Three Sisters, Three Queens.

Sticking with the Tudors, Tracy Borman’s The Private Lives of the Tudors, looks at their domestic secrets, including intimate body servants who accompanied the king to the privy.

Special Guest, Paddy Ashdown, is one of the most respected political figures, and a former Royal Marine. The statesman and life peer proves the pen is more powerful than the sword. Game of Spies, tells the story of a lethal spy triangle in Bordeaux between 1942 and 1944.

Co-presenter of BBC’s Coast, Nicholas Crane, uses his on-screen charisma to take us on a journey with his latest book, The Making of the British Landscape – part journey, part history – exploring how geology shapes our cities, industry, climate, economy and lives.

Gemma Rowland, Operations Manager at Harrogate International Festivals, said: “Harrogate is a beautiful location steeped in its own history, so we hope to attract tourists, as well as giving local audiences a fantastic opportunity to be enlightened, entertained and inspired by some of the country’s leading literary minds. As a genre, history is hot, increasingly dominating our bookshelves and screens.”

The Festival also features fantasy writer, Joe Abercrombie, singled out by Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin for his ‘terrific work’. Author and TV presenter Tom Holland discusses his latest book, Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar, a formidable account of Rome’s terrifying first dynasty. The academic, cultural historian and TV presenter, Dr Janina Ramirez, shines a light on the Dark Ages with The Private Lives of the Saints: Power, Passion and Politics in Anglo-Saxon England. Janina has also fronted two rock bands.

Panel events will explore themes including Spies: Beyond Bond, Sex and Violence, and Game of Thrones, with a Writing History creative writing workshop for aspiring authors.

2015’s Harrogate History Festival sold 3,000 tickets, up 41% from the previous year. 2016 is anticipated to sell over 4,000 tickets.

For individual tickets, Day Rovers or Weekend Rovers and accommodation packages, click here or call the Box Office on 01423 562303

Philippa Gregory Nicholas Crane Tracey ChevalierPaddy Ashdown Tracy Borman Janina Ramirez