City book festival is a big hit as hundreds take part in events

Pauline Rowson
Pauline Rowson
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ORGANISERS of Portsmouth’s Bookfest say this year’s event was a huge success.

The two-week celebration of reading, which ends tomorrow, is jointly organised by Portsmouth City Library Service and The Hayling Island Bookshop. Hundreds of people from the city and beyond have attended literary events.

It saw authors such as Andy Holgate, Helen Summer, James Herbert, Deborah Moggach, and Andy McNab get involved, taking part in workshops with members of the public to inspire reading.

Learning and engagement manager at Portsmouth City Council David Percival said: ‘It’s been really successful. This was probably one of our biggest.

‘We had a diverse programme. There has been something for all ages and backgrounds and interests.

‘We know there is an interest in reading. More people are reading.

‘We’re into a groove now. This is the third year we’ve done it.

‘Local publishers and authors know about the Bookfest and it’s seen as a key literary event in the country.’

This year’s festival was boosted by £20,000 in funding from the Arts Council England Libraries Development Initiative award.

The money was used to ensure that residents from across the whole city can get involved.

Some of the cash was spent providing transport for people who might not otherwise be able to get there, and providing more events.

Also, Portsmouth library cardholders were able to get discounts on books and some event tickets.

Today was due to see crime fiction meet crime fact at the CSI Portsmouth event at the John Pounds Centre, Queens Street, from 10am.

Bestselling crime authors Stephen Booth, Ann Cleeves, Matt Hilton and Pauline Rowson were taking part, along with police and crime experts.

Organisers are looking for a group of volunteers to help run the programme next year.

Anyone interested can email