PORTSMOUTH BookFest kicked off with the much-anticipated First Fiction Prize.
Reading groups across the city had spent months devouring five short-listed debut novels for the prize which was announced, following a vote.
The £1,000 prize went to Melissa Harrison for Clay, which traces the lives of people around a London park and the nature in it.
The 38-year-old, from London, said: ‘A new literary prize is something to celebrate at a time when the publishing industry is undergoing seismic change and funding to the arts is being cut.
‘So, when a city stands up and says “we want to support new voices” that is something of which you should be proud.’
Go to portsmouthbookfest.co.uk.