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The UK book industry has seen all manner of online, lockdown literary festivals during the coronavirus pandemic – now the country is to have what is believed to be the first ever drive-in book festival, one that will also boast the country’s first drive-thru bookstalls.

The Appledore Book Festival in north Devon, which was founded in 2006 and is run from various locations in in the village, has reinvented itself as a drive-in event this year and will take place in September in the grounds of Skern Lodge outdoor centre.

Organisers believe they can accommodate 100 ‘socially distanced’ cars with guests required to stay in their vehicles to watch events which will be broadcast on an eight metre-wide screen, just as if they were at a drive-in movie theatre in the US.  Authors will be interviewed on stage with the interviews also broadcast on the festival’s own local radio station.  Among writers due to attend this year are the novelist Adele Parks and the children’s writer Michael Morpugo.

Signed copies of authors’ books will be available at drive-thru bookstalls taking contactless payment, and food and drink will be available to order in advance and will be served to people in their cars.  One can almost hear the requests now: “Can I get a medium Coke, small fries and a copy of War Horse please.”