FORGET the Celtic Manor - Chepstow Bookshop may be the best place to spot celebrities in Gwent this autumn with another raft of big names set to visit.

Sir Michael Parkinson and Nigella Lawson are billed to perform book-signing duties at the shop this October, following in the footsteps of Sir David Attenborough, TV presenter Jeremy Kyle and comedian Justin Lee Collins bringing crowds to the town.

The store is also holding events at the town’s Drill Hall featuring Iain Banks, wine-expert Oz Clarke, Welsh Hollywood actor Matthew Rhys, the star of hit US series Brothers and Sisters, politician Shirley Williams and best-selling author Ken Follet over the next two months.

The shop is run by couple Matt and Eleanor Taylor who, looking to settle down and start a family, moved to Chepstow and bought the bookstore in 2005.

Mr Taylor, who brought his publishing contacts and experience of running events for Borders bookstore in London, started their programme of big-name authors in the town three years ago.

The move coincided with the Drill Hall becoming available for local events, providing a venue for big names such as Alan Titchmarsh and Andy McNab.

Mr Taylor said record attendances, such as the 800 who came for Sir David Attenborough’s book signing last year, have encouraged publishers to make the town a book-tour fixture.

“We’ve shown to publishers that we can deliver a good audience in Monmouthshire that authors can engage with,” he said.

Mr Taylor linked the success of the store, which won Independent Bookseller of the Year in Wales and the Midlands this year, to the popularity of book-festivals such as Hay-on-Wye where visitors throng to meet writers and personalities.

“Rather than do a festival, we try to do the same thing all year around,” he said.

He said the atmosphere surrounding Sir David’s visit was probably his favourite event experience, closely followed by a talk by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall where local food producers ran at a market at the event.

“It’s a really enjoyable part of the job,” the bookseller added.

PANEL UP-COMING events at the Drill Hall and the bookshop include: * Number One Detective Agency author Alexander McCall Smith, Drill Hall, October 9, 11am
* Thriller writer Ken Follett, Drill Hall, October 12, 7.30pm
* Sir Michael Parkinson, Bookshop, October 13, 4pm
* TV chef Nigella Lawson, Bookshop, October 22, 1pm
* Former chief of general staff General Sir Richard Dannatt, Drill Hall, October 8, 7.30pm
* Mavis Nicholson, Drill Hall, October 14, 7.30pm
* Thriller writer Iain Banks, Drill Hall, October 20, 7.30pm
* Politician Shirley Williams, Drill Hall, October 26, 7.30pm
* Gervase Phinn, Drill Hall, October 27, 7.30pm
* Ex-Labour minister Chris Mullin, Drill Hall, November 2, 7.30pm
* Wine expert Oz Clarke, Drill Hall, November 4, 7.30pm
* TV presenter Dan Cruickshank, Drill Hall, November 10, 7.30pm
* Actor Matthew Rhys, Drill Hall, November 22.