This year’s literary line-up brings you a glorious mixture of big names and more than its fair share of surprises.

We have award-winning novelists in the shape of Ali Smith, A.L. Kennedy and Geoff Dyer, alongside exciting debutants like Sam Smit and the genre-defying Max Porter.

Nature writing plays as big a part as ever, with former National Trust chief Fiona Reynolds issuing a call to arms to “fight for beauty” and Charles Foster explaining how he lived as a badger… for six weeks.

We’ll cover big issues – Patrick Kingsley examining the personal tragedies of the refugee crisis, and Lynsey Hanley on the thorny subject of class – but there will be laughs too, with novelist Nina Stibbe, comedian Sara Pascoe musing on the joys of the female body, and ‘The Thick of It’ writers David Quantick and Jesse Armstong discussing that leap from screen to first novel.

Life stories are as strong as ever this year: Juliet Nicolson explains how a house full of daughters can shape a family’s history, while Alexander Masters breathes life into the pages of a stash of discarded diaries.

If it’s an alternative take on history you’re after, Bruce Robinson – writer and director of Withnail and I – will confound everything you thought you ever knew about Jack the Ripper.

And let’s not forget the poetry: Luke Wright joins us fresh from his huge success at Edinburgh last year – and the Clinic Poets will unleash a new festival-friendly set too.

We can’t wait!