Why BookFest is going to ‘celebrate Portsmouth’s creativity’

NOVELISTS, poets and other creative writers from across Portsmouth will be championing one another’s talents in an upcoming three-week festival.

Tuesday, 5th February 2019, 10:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 8:51 pm
Some of the organisers of this year's BookFest. Picture: David George

Portsmouth BookFest will be taking place from February 18 to March 10, with more than 35 events including creative writing critiques, open mic nights and fiction workshops, among others.

The aim of the festival is to showcase and improve the ‘vast’ pool of creative talent in the city, from amateur writers to experienced, published novelists.

Christine Lawrence, 68 from Southwick, is one of those who has helped organise this year’s events.

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She said: ‘An event like this is really good for all of us creatives in the city, because you get to meet like-minded people who are talented in different ways.

‘There is a massive movement in Portsmouth and so BookFest will be a great opportunity for everyone.’

Some of the events will also look towards Portsmouth’s rich literary history – including the work of famous writers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Laura Weston, Portsmouth City Counci’s Arthur Conan Doyle learning and education officer, is hosting an event looking at the Sherlock Holmes’ writer’s youngest daughter, Billie.

She said: ‘I really like the hidden stories in literature, because there are more stories for people who might not know more than the basic details of these authors.

‘To me, BookFest is all about getting these stories out in the community – there is so much planned and I think it will be a real success.’

Matt Wingett, 50 from Portsmouth, says that BookFest is a huge opportunity for writers – especially the younger people trying to get their big break.

He said: ‘When I was growing up there wasn’t a creative writing scene like there is now – to see it up to life like it has now is just wonderful.

‘For me, BookFest is a celebration of the creative scene and invitation for future writers to get involved.

‘There is a great literary heritage and I’m proud to see Portsmouth make the most of it.’

Amanda Garrie from T’Articulation – a spoken word group in the city – has helped to set up a number of the events.

She said: ‘I moved to Portsmouth specifically to be part of the creative scene here; there were a few good events I helped out with last year but this year will be bigger and better than ever.’

For more information about the BookFest events taking place, go to portsmouthbookfest.co.uk.