Portsmouth BookFest to dish up real treats

WRITERS Claire Tomalin and, inset, Mark Billingham will be among those at Bookfest
WRITERS Claire Tomalin and, inset, Mark Billingham will be among those at Bookfest
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ORGANISERS of the Portsmouth BookFest say excitement is building in the run-up to this year’s celebration of reading.

Three weeks of world-famous authors and unique attractions are lined up for the festival – which is backed by The News and organised by The Hayling Island Bookshop and Portsmouth’s Library Service.

WRITERS Mark Billingham will be among those at Bookfest

WRITERS Mark Billingham will be among those at Bookfest

Among those appearing will be award-winning biographer Claire Tomalin, current top 10 best-selling author Mark Billingham, and acclaimed novelist Lesley Pearse.

Between October 17 and November 13 the authors will promote reading in a range of talks, workshops and activities.

Colin Telford is one of the driving forces behind the city’s second BookFest, and the co-owner of the Hayling Island Bookshop.

He said: ‘I think this year we have some real stand-out events.

‘90 Years of Heroes at the Royal Marines Museum will feature a young man who threw himself on top of a grenade to save his platoon and was awarded the George Cross. For the day we will be dressing up the Mountbatten Room at the museum with poppies, so it should be a colourful and lively event in a very appropriate setting.’

He added that following the success of CSI Portsmouth – where crime writers discuss their trade with real-life crime solvers – at last year’s festival it has been expanded to run for a full day.

‘In the morning there will be forensic experts holding workshops and the afternoon will once again host a panel discussion of scientists, serving police officers and acclaimed crime writers – including the very popular Mark Billingham,’ he said.

‘In fact this year we have had people from the police queuing up to take part. Then there will be an evening with Lesley Pearce who is at the forefront of contemporary women’s literature.

‘And for the youngsters we have also got the brilliant Guy Bass who is becoming something of a Portsmouth institution.’

Other events will feature world-famous biographer Claire Tomalin, discussion of a new work by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and a chance to get stuck into some arts and crafts with Joe Stummer’s daughter, Jazz Domino Holly.

Visit portsmouthbookfest.co.uk or call (023) 9268 8685 for a full run down of venues, times and prices.