Best-selling author Tony Parsons is to headline the first Flamstead Book Festival on Saturday, June 7.

Books in the Belfry - to help raise much-needed funds to restore medieval wall paintings in St.Leonard's Church - will also feature top children's writers Jonathan Stroud, Dawn Finch and Pete Johnson who are all from St Albans.

The line-up includes a session on sports writing on the eve of the World Cup with former Premier League and Luton Town footballer Steve Claridge and ex-referee Mark Halsey, who hails from Hertfordshire. Chairing that panel will be journalist and former St.Albans City chairman Ian Ridley, whose latest book has been shortlisted for next month's (May) British Sports Book Awards .

Biographer Clare Mulley will talk about her extraordinary story of Britain's first female spy in the Second World War and there will be a Gardeners' Question Time with a twist, writing workshops for children and a session on how to publish your own book.

Parsons, best known for his novel Man and Boy, is moving in a new direction with the publication next month (May) of his first crime thriller The Murder Bag. He will talk about why he created Max Wolfe, a coffee-loving, dog-walking detective. 

There will also be the chance to buy books and get them signed by all the authors on the day.