Festival with one ye firmly on the macabre will see weird and wonderful events across Portsmouth
A BEST-SELLING SAS veteran-turned-author is one of the star turns at a Halloween-themed arts extravaganza.
Darkfest is a celebration of all things haunted and supernatural, and will span the rest of October and continue through November.
Festivities begin on Thursday with a talk from ex-SAS soldier and author Andy McNab at the University of Portsmouth.
A total of 21 events will be taking place across the city – from spooky art exhibitions, to ghost walks and grotesque cabaret.
Matt Wingett will give a talk on Arthur Conan Doyle, and there is even a play about the rampaging Genghis Khan.
One of the main events is on Halloween at the Square Tower, in Old Portsmouth, where there will be lots of ghostly stories and songs.
It is the fourth year the tower has hosted Day of the Dead in honour of the Dia de los Muertos celebration.
Everyone is invited to dress up and they can grab outfits from the Head Case Curios costume booth.
Author William Sutton, who has organised the evening, said: ‘It just gets better and scarier every year.
‘This year, as well as stories and songs, we’ll have a coffin with a skeleton, candles, shadows – and cups of tea and cake if people want a bit of light refreshment.
‘We have some amazing writing talent in Portsmouth.
‘Authors like Diana Bretherick, a powerful writer of dark crime tales, loves to give the audience a scare, while horror writer V H Leslie really knows the art of the frightening story.’
A new book will also be launched on the night, collating creepy stories from the Portsmouth Writers’ Hub.
Titled Day of the Dead: Stories of Death and Dying to Perturb, Disturb and Delight, the book will also include 28 murderous works from authors such as Matt Wingett, as well as award-winning poet Maggie Sawkins.
There will also be film, live music and cabaret at Darkfest.
For the full line-up and to book tickets go to lifeisamazing.co.uk/darkfest.