FORMER business secretary Vince Cable, award-winning novelist Margaret Drabble, crime novelist Val McDermid, comedian and writer Arthur Smith, Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and former Tory MP turned TV presenter Michael Portillo are all appearing this year.

Festival director Miles Salter said the line-up was one of the best and most diverse in the festival’s history.

“The claim ‘there is something for everybody’ is more true than ever,” he said. “High profile names, a kids’ programme, comedy, writing workshops, poetry, feminism, trains, graphic novels and football – it’s all here.”

The line-up includes:

Friday, March 11, National Railway Museum, 8pm: Michael Portillo talks about his career – and his passion for rail travel.

Saturday, March 12, Bennett’s Café, High Petergate, 10.30am: York Novelists workshop – how to get your novel published.

Saturday, March 12, Grand Opera House, 3pm. Poet Wendy Cope ruminates on love, loss, women bishops and The Archers.

Sunday, March 13, St Peter’s School, 7pm. Val McDermid in conversation.

Tuesday, March 15, St Peter’s School, 7pm. Margaret Drabble in conversation.

Thursday, March 17, St Peter’s School, 7pm. John O’Farrell in ‘There’s only two David Beckhams – A Football Fantasy’.

Friday, March 18, St Peter’s School, 7pm. Vince Cable talks about his new book After The Storm.

Tuesday, March 22 and Wednesday, March 23, National Centre for Early Music, 7.30pm: Two more chances to see the hugely popular Austen’s Women, which was an instant sell-out at the festival in 2014.

To find out more about this year’s festival, or book tickets, visit