A FAIR of rare and wonderful literature is celebrating its fortieth birthday this year.

York National Book Fair, Britain's largest antiquarian display, gives book lovers the chance to get their hands on anything to do with paper from books and maps, to authentic images.

York Racecourse's Knavesmire suite will open its doors to readers on September 19 for two days, as exhibitors come from Germany, Hong Kong and Canada to sell their collections.

Peter Moore, of the Provincial Booksellers' Fairs Association, said: "Yes, the York Fair in 2014 does indeed celebrate the 40th anniversary of the PBFA.

"And it is appropriate that the celebration should be at York because it was at the York Fair in 1974 that it was understood just what we had started.

"That fair was held in The White Swan and there were 25 exhibitors, just a few of whom are still exhibiting here in 2014.

"The good people of York responded in such numbers at that small fair that the doors had to be closed, so that a new visitor could be allowed in as one came out.

"The York Fair is now rightly 'national' attracting almost ten times as many exhibitors from all over the UK and from further afield."

Visitors to this year's fair will find a signed doodle by The Day of the Jackal author Frederick Forsyth, and Oscar Wilde's first edition of Sphinx.

Forsyth's doodle is just one war-related item for sale in a year when the start of World War One has its 100th anniversary, and items relating to military matters are expected to be popular.

As well as books for sale, paper makers, calligraphers and bookbinders will have exhibition stands at the fair.

Doors open on September 19 from noon to 7pm and from 10am to 5pm the following day.

For more information call (01904) 624414.