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Ken Follett, Lee Child, Kate Mosse and Jojo Moyes, four heavyweights of British literature, are launching a "Friendship Tour" of Europe to represent the 48 percent who

voted against Brexit.

The tour in November will visit Milan, Madrid, Berlin and Paris. The quartet will meet young novelists and answer questions from fans on Brexit and other topics, they told a press conference in London on Tuesday.

"We're doing this because we're embarrassed and upset by recent political events in our country in the last three years," said Follett, referring to the June 2016 referendum -- when 52 percent voted for Britain to leave the European Union -- and the political turmoil since.

"We feel that this country has given the impression that Brits don't like other Europeans and don't want to be part of Europe, and this embarrasses us," said the 70-year-old novelist, whose bestsellers include "Eye of the Needle" and "The Pillars of the Earth".

"It's not about persuading Britain to stay in the EU; my own feeling is that train has already left the station," said Follett.

"It's about reassuring people in neighbouring countries in Europe that we don't feel this way, we don't want to leave Europe, we don't hate foreigners."

Britain is set to leave the EU on October 31.

Brexit is a "source of immense sadness", said romance novelist Moyes, the author of "Foreign Fruit", "The Last Letter From Your Lover" and "Me Before You".

"One of the things that frightens me is the fracturing both politically and emotionally of what has felt like a huge family," she said.

Follett, 70 -- a long-time supporter of the main opposition Labour Party -- said he had little faith in Prime Minister Theresa May's successor, who will take office on July 24.

Two Conservative heavyweights are in the running: Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his predecessor Boris Johnson, who is the odds-on favourite.

"I don't think either of them can make it right," said Follett.

"I cannot see a route from where we are now to a happy ending."

Lee Child, the pen name of James Grant, the author behind the "Jack Reacher" series of action hero novels, said the prospect of former London mayor Johnson becoming prime minister was "ghastly".

"What you've got there is Boris Trump: another ludicrous, fat liar with ridiculous hair and no grasp of policy," he said. afp