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PEOPLE of all ages are getting their heads stuck in a good book as the Portsmouth BookFest returns.

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

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

This includes providing transport for people who might not otherwise be able to get there, and providing more events such as a masterclass with children’s illustrators, and a signed poetry session.

Also, Portsmouth library card holders can get discounts on books and some event tickets.

The BookFest is jointly organised by Portsmouth City Library Service and The Hayling Island Bookshop.

It gives people access to events featuring popular authors.

David Percival, learning and engagement manager at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘What we wanted to do was to create a very inclusive book festival. It’s something that’s different for Portsmouth.

‘We have got a really diverse programme which offers something for all ages.

‘It’s putting local residents in touch with authors.

‘We believe that reading and access to books can transform people’s lives. It’s about promoting Portsmouth as the great literary city.

‘We have got a lot of great literary heritage here with Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle as well. It’s quite exciting for Portsmouth.’

There are a wide range of events for children, young adults, and genre specific fans such as fantasy and history.

On Saturday, there is an event focused around running, in preparation for Sunday’s Great South Run with authors Andy Holgate, Adharanand Finn and Helen Summer, who have all written books based around running.

Other authors getting involved in the festival are James Herbert, Deborah Moggach, and Andy McNab.

Bookfest runs until Sunday, November 4. Visit

The event is looking for a group of volunteers to help run the programme next year.

Anyone interested can email