Quirky and traditional mix at huge literary festival

SPEECH Author Isabel Ashdown will be giving a talk at the festival. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (131807-2)
SPEECH Author Isabel Ashdown will be giving a talk at the festival. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (131807-2)
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EXPECT the unexpected at this year’s huge Havant Literary Festival.

In recent years the festival has become a smaller affair, but thisyear it is back and bigger than ever with a range of traditional and quirky book-related events.

It is being officially opened on Tuesday by Councillor Paul Buckley, the Mayor of Havant, at Havant Library in the Meridian Centre.

It will also mark the beginning of a 10-day exhibition into the life and works of the Portsmouth-born children’s adventure writer Percy F Westerman at the library.

Tim Dawes, who is organising the festival, said: ‘ It’s back to what it was the first year, 2008. It was pretty small last year but this year we have lots of events.

‘It would be too difficult to say which one I’m most looking forward to because they are all brilliant.

‘We have some very serious writers, such as Isabel Ashdown and Jane Rusbridge.

‘Of course, there are slightly more fun events like a talk on how to survive a zombie attack, and guerilla poets in the town centre.

‘But also, what I’m really looking forward to is taking professional poets into schools.

‘In the past we’ve taken authors and that’s been about selling books.

‘This is about bringing the young people of Havant the experience of real poets, singer-songwriters and players and letting them see what it’s all about.’

Events are happening at venues across the borough, including libraries, theatres, churches pubs, a shopping centre and even a computer games shop.

One of the first is a blue plaque making workshop at Willow Tree Upholstery, in North Street, on Sunday.

There will be tea with popular local crime author Dee Williams in Havant Library on Wednesday.

On Thursday Carol Westron will be giving a master class on writing short stories at the Denvilles Club.

Later that evening a creepy ghost walk begins at the Robin Hood pub, led by Soop theatre company.

Over the weekend there will be a big emphasis on 16th century literature, Dickens and literary breakfasts.

On Saturday, October 5 Dr Rosie Paice, of the University of Portsmouth, will be giving a step by step guide to wooing the object of your deepest desire with sonnets.

There will also be a giant booksale at St Faith’s Church Hall, in West Street.

Tickets are available from the ticket shop in the Meridian Centre on the first floor. For the full line-up go to havantlitfest.org.uk