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Writers from across the globe will be heading to Shanghai for a celebration of all things literary in March.

The Shanghai International Literary Festival begins on March 5th and excitement is already building among the fiction and poetry lovers who call China's largest city home.

Described as "the coolest literary festival in the world" by 2009 participant Mohammed Hanif, the event began in 2002 as a small celebration of the printed word and is now a busy three-week festival.

Previous attendees include Gore Vidal and Arundhati Roy, while last year's event featured appearances from esteemed British historian Simon Schama and Marina Lewycka, author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian.

This year, the festival is set to welcome authors such as Louis de Bernieres of Captain Corelli's Mandolin fame, children's fiction favourite Morris Gleitzman and Tash Aw, the Malaysian writer who won acclaim for his debut novel The Harmony Silk Factory.

People staying in hotels in Shanghai can expect a varied programme of readings, literary walks and poetry events during the three weeks of the festival.

Literary lunches are priced at 188 yuan renminbi (£17), while general festival events are available for 65 yuan renminbi.

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