PERFORMERS paraded through the streets to launch an annual literature festival.
Art-lovers in the crowd looked on as Havant Literary Festival kicked off, with the play Gods starting an innovative performance trail in the town.
People were led through Havant with a variety of pieces put on as the seventh annual 10-day event got under way.
Tim Dawes, programme director, said it was inspiring that so many people had come and some from further afield had entered the poetry competition.
He said: ‘It’s very positive. It’s inspiring that so many people are prepared to do that.
‘They can enjoy the festival by participating.
‘They should come to things they may not feel they would normally come along to.
‘We’re pushing the boundaries – they should come with us.’
Top author Will Self and novelist Stella Duffy are among those appearing at the festival.
Hands-on workshops are being run throughout, with the chance to try out writing – along with an opportunity to have a go at ventriloquism.
The winner of the festival’s poetry competition was announced last night at The Spring in East Street, before the trail moved off.
Winner Wendy Klein, who has had two collections published, travelled from Reading to recite her poem, The People of Sahel Remember Rain.
She praised the festival and said the competition was an chance for budding and established artists to get noticed.
‘It’s an opportunity to meet writers you’ve only seen on bookshelves,’ she said.
‘There are a number of small poetry magazines – we’re all competing.’
Singer, writer and comedian Mike Harding was at the launch last night. He was due to perform today between 8pm and 10pm in Bosmere School, South Street.
He said: ‘It’s amazing the number of people that come out of the woodwork that are interested in art.’
The festival runs until October 12. For a full programme of events see havantlitfest.org.uk