Word Fest at Blackpool Winter Gardens: Strictly's Anton Du Beke joins Sir Lenny Henry, War Horse author Sir Michael Morpurgo and Paul O’Grady at literary festival

Blackpool favourite and Strictly Come Dance star Anton Du Beke met fans and signed copies of his new book, The Ballroom Blitz, at this year’s Word Fest.

Anton, who is now a judge on the hit BBC show, gave a sneak preview of the fictional tale of a soldier struggling to come to terms with his experiences during World War Two.

The book goes on sale on Thursday. It tells the story of Raymond de Guise who is on leave from Dunkirk and struggling to find his place in the world.

In Conversation with Anton Du Beke took place on Monday, with all tickets including a signed copy of The Ballroom Blitz and a meet and greet.

The festival is being co-produced by the Winter Gardens Blackpool and local independent bookstore Book Bean & Ice Cream and will see celebrated authors talk about their love of writing, their books, answer questions and sign books for fans.

Other events include Sir Michael Morpurgo OBE presenting War Horse Live in Concert, a very special Seasiders Podcast with special guest, former Blackpool legend Gary Taylor-Fletcher, and Rory Stewart and Alastair Campbell hosting a live version of their podcast The Rest is Politics.

Elaine Silverwood, owner of Book Bean & Ice Cream and co-producer of Word Fest, said: “This is the first ever Word Fest. and ticket sales have got off to a flying start. It is the first new literary festival to be scheduled in the north for many years and we are thrilled at the confirmed line up. We can’t wait to welcome the authors and guests to the Winter Gardens Blackpool for a weekend of words.”