Don't panic! Hitchhikers are back

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It is a rare glimpse into the life of a man who has inspired millions of people: Douglas Adams, the creator of the phenomenally successful Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is to be celebrated this weekend – 30 years after it was created and eight years after his death.

Hundreds of fans will gather at London's Southbank Centre for Hitchcon'09 to mark the series of books which have gone on to sell millions of copies worldwide. The event will feature never-before-seen images from the personal archives of Adams who died in 2001, as well as performances featuring actors from the original radio show. The images – two of them published here for the first time – include his numerous jamming sessions with Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour, with whom he became good friends.

Tomorrow will also mark a significant milestone, as the sixth and final book in the series is released 30 years to the day of the first. Irish writer Eoin Colfer took over the mantle and admits to being nervous. "I feel like someone in the first Big Brother show. They came out to this total hysteria; they had no idea. I feel a little bit like that now."