Plenty on offer at literary festival

Mel Mitchell
Mel Mitchell
Picture: Portsmouth Police/Twitter

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Book enthusiast Melanie Mitchell aims to get the community reading more. To spur you on, she offers her Book of the Week and Books to Watch choices

Taking place at various venues in and around Cowes between October 14-18, the diversity of its five-day programme really does offer something for everyone.

As well as a celebration of popular fiction authors, such as Michael Morpurgo, SJ Watson, Matt Haig and Sophie Hannah, there will be panels where experienced writers discuss debut fiction, historical fiction, romance and the short story.

There will also be an interactive youth zone for children and young adults with a variety of workshops and activities and some fabulous non-fiction events with Simon Callow, Dan Cruikshank and Peter and Dan Snow, among many others.

One to watch out for includes a talk by cultural commentator Paul Gorman, who will be discussing the work of Portsmouth-born artist Derek Boshier, who has collaboratated with The Clash and David Bowie and became one of the key proponents of British Pop Art.

A new monograph, Derek Boshier: Rethink/Re-entry, will be published in October as the definitive collection of his work. Find out more and book tickets at

n In my Book of the Week, award-winning Canadian author Margaret Atwood releases long-awaited stand-alone novel The Heart Goes Last this week, set in a near future where desperate drifters Charmaine and Stan commit themselves to a suburban paradise where nothing is quite as it seems.

Having agreed to give up their freedom in a prison cell every other month in return for a home of their own and stable jobs, they soon discover there is a price to be paid in the mind as well as in body. Margaret Atwood is at her playful best in this sinister exploration of a controlled society.

n In my Books to Watch, if you were a fan of Jojo Moyes’ hugely successful tearjerker Me Before You, you’ll be desperate to read the sequel After You. Lou Clark made a promise but doesn’t know how to keep it. Darker and more meditative than its predecessor.

Reclusive blogger Jenny Lawson releases her second memoir Furiously Happy scrutinising her own experience with mental illness, but with her inimitable sense of humour you’ll laugh more than cry.

n Mel Mitchell is originally from Portsmouth and now lives in Gosport.

She is Publisher Liaison for newbooks magazine and its related website, based in Stubbington.