Crime, intrigue and lots of fun as popular book festival returns to city

AUTHOR Darren Shan will appear at festival
AUTHOR Darren Shan will appear at festival
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PORTSMOUTH’S BookFest is set to leave reading fans spellbound when it brings a diverse mix of top writers to the city.

Three weeks of world-famous authors and unique events are lined up for the festival – which is backed by The News and organised by The Hayling Island Bookshop and Portsmouth’s Library Service.

Among those appearing will be internationally-renowned horror writer Darren Shan, current top 10 best-selling author Mark Billingham, and acclaimed novelist Lesley Pearse.

Between October 17 and November 13, authors will promote reading in a range of fascinating talks, workshops and activities.

Irish author Darren Shan certainly knows the benefits reading can bring.

He has carved out a successful career writing horror and fantasy novels and last year three of his books became the hit film, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant.

‘Reading is the most important thing you learn to do at school, because it trains your brain,’ said the author.

‘Rather than when you watch television and just let it wash over you, reading is an interactive process.

‘You need to bring the story to life in your imagination.

‘I can’t wait to come to Portsmouth because giving talks is my favourite part of what I do. It’s amazing to see people who are that excited by what you’ve written.’

Fans can see Darren talk about his work in an early BookFest event on October 2 at Portsmouth’s Highlight club.

Organiser of the BookFest Colin Telford said: ‘We are delighted with the range of writers we have coming to Portsmouth this year.

‘Hopefully the events will really capture our audiences’ imaginations.’

Tickets for all the main BookFest events go on sale today and can be can be booked by calling (023) 9268 8685 or at any Portsmouth City Library or The Hayling Island Bookshop.


BACK at BookFest by popular demand will be CSI Portsmouth.

The unique forum will see crime writer Mark Billingham joined by fellow authors John Harvey, Michael Ridpath and Pauline Rowson to discuss writing with crime scene professionals from the University of Portsmouth and Hampshire Constabulary. Also appearing will be acclaimed biographer and Whitbread Book Of The Year winner Clare Tomalin, whose talk and latest book are both about Portsmouth’s own Charles Dickens.

Best-selling author Lesley Pearse will give a talk about her life, writing and new novel Belle.

Joining the line-up will also be hit children’s author Guy Bass, and Royal Marine Matt Croucher who will launch a new book about the Royal British Legion at the Royal Marines Museum.