AUTHOR Gervase Phinn is to host a pre-launch event for a popular literary and walking festival by reading excerpts of his first novel for adults.

The Alt-Berg Richmond Walking and Book Festival, which is now in its 11th year, will run in venues around the town between September 23 and October 2.

Mr Phinn will attend an event on July 9 at the Zetland Centre, in Richmond, to help raise funds for the running of the 2011 festival, which includes 36 guided walks in the dales around Richmond and a number of literary events.

A former Speaker’s Club Speaker of the Year, Mr Phinn will be talking about his new novel , The Little Village School.

Event organizer Anne Wicks said, "Gervase is one not to miss and we are delighted to have secured his attendance at the event. He personifies Yorkshire and is one of the most entertaining speakers you are ever likely to hear."

The festival was first started by Mike Sheehan, the owner of walking bootmakers Alt-Berg, which is based in Richmond, in September 2000.

To celebrate the continued support of the company the festival has now been renamed the Altberg Richmond Walking and Book Festival.

Among the speakers for the event are Peter Robinson, an award winning novelist and creator of the popular DCI Banks series, Baroness Williams of Crosby, a senior member of the Liberal Democrat party, and poet and broadcaster Pam Ayres.

The pre-launch event on July 9 will start at 8pm. Tickets are available from Castle Hill Bookshop for £10 and can also be booked by calling 01748-824243 or online at