Celebration of city’s literary heritage at annual festival

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Portsmouth’s strong literary heritage is to be celebrated as the city plays host to the popular Bookfest event next month..

The festival aims to promote both book buying and book borrowing, especially among groups who may not have previously considered participating in such activities.

Bookfest runs from Sunday, February 14 to Saturday March 5 in locations across Portsmouth, many not normally associated with book events such as sports centres, nightclubs and pubs.

‘The festival was founded by my wife,’ said Colin Telford, events manager of the Hayling Island Bookshop.

‘It is a joint venture between us and the Portsmouth City Library Service.’

This year’s offerings features a wide range of different activities, readings and workshops so there should be something for everyone; whether it be The Valentines’ Day Massacre with Portsmouth Writers, Thrills, Spills, Risks and Rewards – the travel writing workshop or the Gruffalo tea party.

Other events include afternoon tea with Portsmouth’s first fiction award-winner Lottie Moggach, Portsmouth in Poetry, self-publishing workshops, and a special opening of the Charles Dickens Museum.

Also happening is the highly-anticipated CSI Portsmouth 2016, where crime fiction meets crime fact.

Colin said: ‘This event is always popular. ‘It allows writers and fans to speak to serving Hampshire Constabulary officers, there are mock-ups of crime scenes, and you can even get your fingerprints taken and made into a keychain.’

Running alongside Bookfest, Portsmouth City Council’s school library service runs a programme of literary events for schools.

This features visits to schools by top children’s authors and the Portsmouth schools literature quiz where children from schools across the city compete alongside guest authors.

Also taking place are the Portsmouth book awards, where reading and debating leads to pupils deciding their favourite books of the year across different categories.