People must step up to save the Havant Literary Festival

The 2011 launch of the Havant Literary Festival Picture: Sarah Standing
The 2011 launch of the Havant Literary Festival Picture: Sarah Standing
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An urgent call has gone out to safeguard the future of the Havant Literary Festival.

This year’s annual event is under serious threat because the festival’s director is standing down, so a meeting has been called to discuss its future.

Residents are invited to attend the meeting at Nineveh Arts, 11 The Pallant on March 7 at 7pm to air their views.

Tim Dawes co-founded Havant Literary Festival with Lucy Flannery in 2008 and became its director in 2012.

Mr Dawes is now moving on to become the director of the South Downs Poetry Festival, which has its first run out in 

He said: ‘Having co-founded the festival with Lucy Flannery in 2008, I have seen the festival in all its guises.

‘After it stuttered in 2012 I took it over as director and ran the 2013 and 2014 festivals. Last year I was persuaded to continue and ran a small set of events.

‘Now I feel that it’s time to finish my major involvement with the festival.

‘While I know we have touched, inspired and at times delighted many people, getting local interest and support has always been a struggle.

‘Too many people see culture as just another commodity they consume rather than something they themselves must take responsibility for making.’

‘So, whilst HLF still exists as an organisation, and has some funds remaining and nearly 1500 subscribers on the mailing list, there is no sign of a festival happening in 2016 and unless some of you step up and take over the reigns, there won’t be thereafter.

‘If anyone can make a credible case for taking on the festival and in some way continuing what we have started, they will certainly get my support.

‘Otherwise I am proposing that we appoint a small group of trustees to continue to manage the remaining funds and maintain the brand so that it could be revived in the future and that grants be made to appropriate literary projects in Havant while funds remain.

‘Please come to the meeting and let us hear your views.’