OVER the last few weeks, I’ve been working away with the rest of the brilliant team of the Salisbury Literary Festival, finalising the details of the various events in time to fit into our wonderful looking programme. As these brochures roll off the presses at Salisbury Printing and start to find their way around town, our attention has turned to the different ways of getting the message out there.

As the literary festival is a new venture both for Salisbury and for those of us running it, we’ve been trying different methods to get people’s interest. Obviously you can’t go wrong with a mention in the Salisbury Journal, but a lot of our focus has also been online: through Facebook advertising, for example, we have been able to gather a lot of information about who our potential audience is.

One aspect of our marketing that I’m particularly excited about has been our teaming up with an organisation called the Book Fairies. Back in 2001, the idea of BookCrossing was conceived by the American computer programmer Ron Hornbaker. Ron had seen the success of sites such as Phototag.org, where disposable cameras were left lying around for anyone to take photos on, and wondered if the same could be done with books. BookCrossing saw participants releasing books into the wild, leaving novels they had enjoyed for others to read.

This concept was then picked up in the UK, firstly via Books on the Underground, and then with the Book Fairies. With their signature green and white ribbons, the Book Fairies combine the BookCrossing concept with a touch of treasure hunting – rather than publicly releasing the books, they are instead cunningly hidden by one of their army of fairies. Today, there are approximately 5,000 book fairies hiding books in 100 countries around the world: perhaps the most famous being actress Emma Watson, who hid copies of The Handmaid’s Tale around Paris.

We’re delighted that the Salisbury Literary Festival has its very own book fairy. He’s called Dave (a very traditional fairy name, that) and to celebrate the publication of our programme he will be spending this Saturday hiding books written by our various festival authors Philippa Gregory, Joanna Cannon, Sarah Winman, Neil Spring, Barney Norris and Julia Crouch among others.

So if you want to know who is coming to the festival and fancy getting hold of a free novel, keep your eyes peeled this Saturday. And make sure you believe in book fairies.

The full programme of events for the Salisbury Literary Festival is now online at salisburyliteraryfestival.co.uk. To follow the progress of the Salisbury book fairy on September 9, check @salslitfest on Twitter and Instagram for location clues.