Literary festival opens chapter for town

The hustings at Portsmouth College - from left:  David Carpenter (college governor), Gerald Vernon-Jackson (Lib Dems), Ian McCulloch (Green), Steve Fitzgerald (college teacher and chair), Stephen Morgan (Labour), Kevan Chippindall-Higgin (Ukip) and Penny Mordaunt (Cons)   Picture: Heather Eggelton

Parliamentary candidates grilled by students at Portsmouth College debate

The first-ever Havant Literary Festival begins this week - building on the town's historical links with the written word.

Parchment was made in Havant for the best part of 1,000 years, with local tradition saying it was used for Magna Carta and the Treaty of Versailles, and although the trade of parchment-making has died out festival organisers hope the new event will be the start of a new literary tradition.

The four-day festival starts tomorrow (Thursday) with more than 40 events at a dozen different venues in Havant, Leigh Park and Hayling Island.

The packed programme includes theatre, readings and talks with authors, street events, walks, exhibitions, film, cabaret, a book fair, a book quiz and a poet in a shed.

As well as attracting talented authors such as Kate Summerscale, Chris Cleave and Edward Enfield, the festival aims to nurture local writing talent.

Tickets are selling well but there are some left for many of the events. For details go to Tickets are also available from Havant Arts Centre on (023) 9247 2700.

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