There’s a wide range of events taking place during the 2020 Festival, from Harry Potter parties and picture book events for children to Professor Jim Al-Khalili, MysteryFest and Adele Parks for adults. There’s also a fantastic variety of writing workshops on offer.

Monday 17th February

7.00 -9.30pm

The Art Coffee House, 1-13 Lord Montgomery Way, PO1 2AH

£3 (no concessions) – tickets available in advance from Eventbrite or at the door on the night.

An Evening of Poetry – brought to you by T’Articulation.

A convivial soiree with local poets reading their work and discussing their techniques. There will be opportunities for the audience to share their own work. Food and drink available from the cafe.

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Wednesday 19th February

6.30pm

Portsmouth Central Library

£4 

Launch Night

Join us for the official Launch Night of the 2020 Festival. Members of the New Theatre Royal Players and The Company of Elders from Groundlings will present  “At Last – The 1999 Show!” based on reports about the turn of the MiIlennium they uncovered from the archive of the Portsmouth News. The 30-minute performance is not only entertaining but this look back at the City of 20 years ago reveals some stories are uncannily topical today!!

Your ticket includes a soft drink and light snacks.

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Wednesday 19th February

12noon-2pm

Alderman Lacey Library

Harry Potter Party

£3 per child

Come along to the Harry Potter Party which will include activities and a Harry Potter story time. Fancy dress is optional!

Only children require tickets. Ticket includes squash and a cupcake! Suitable for ages 5 and over.

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Thursday 20th February

2pm-4pm

Carnegie Library

Harry Potter Party

£3 per child

Come along to the Harry Potter Party which will include activities and a Harry Potter story time. Fancy dress is optional!

Only children require tickets. Ticket includes squash and a cupcake! Suitable for ages 5 and over.

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Thursday 20th February

12noon-1.30pm

North End Library

Children’s writing workshop with Miriam Halahmy: Safe refuge

Suitable for children aged 11-15

What would you do for a stranger? 

This writing workshop will challenge your beliefs, ask some tough questions and give you different ways into writing to get those creative juices going. Miriam Halahmy has worked with asylum seekers and refugees for many years. Her novel HIDDEN is about two teenagers who pull an asylum seeker out of the sea off quiet little Hayling Island and hide him to save him from being deported. Faced with such a dilemma, what would you do?  How can writing help us to explore our own feelings and beliefs about one of the most challenging issues of our times? We will explore how writing can make a difference and provide a route map forward. 

Come along into the Writing Room and join us.

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20th -23rd February

Time: 10-4

Studio 6, Hotwalls, Broad Street, Portsmouth, PO1 2FS

Free Drop in (no booking necessary)

The stitched world of Jane Austen

Step into the regency world with textile artist Kim Edith.

As part of a year-long project exploring the world of Jane Austen, Kim Edith invites you to an in-studio exhibition of her work.

From the red coats of the militia to the elegance of a grand house, the recurring themes and imagery of the books have been explored in detailed embroidery.  This series of fabric illustrations use modern colours, materials and patterns to bring to life the objects, people and situations that would have been familiar to contemporary readers.

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Thursday 20th February

7pm

Third Floor Portsmouth Central Library

£3

Refugees and safe refuge In Novels with Miriam Halahmy and Jo Cotterill

The real world can be a confusing place for young people and more than ever, our children are aware of global issues such as immigration and climate change. Books can provide a window to experiences outside a child’s own life, widening their knowledge of the world and developing their empathy towards people in terrifying situations, such as those fleeing from war. Jo and Miriam will discuss themes of seeking asylum, safe refuge, relying on the kindness of strangers, difficulty journeys and difficult life stories. Both writers have been inspired by their experiences to write about asylum seekers and refugees in novels for young people.

Looking at the Stars, by Jo Cotterill, focuses on Amina and her family, torn apart by a harsh regime and an invading army. Forced to walk to a refugee camp with her sister, not knowing if she’ll ever see the rest of her family again, Amina realises that her inquisitive mind and tendency to make up stories are now her most valuable gifts, as she brings hope and peace to people around her.  

Hidden by Miriam Halahmy is about two teens who pull an asylum seeker out of the sea near the Lifeboat Station on Hayling Island and hide him to save him from being deported. One of the teens, Samir, came to England as a child asylum seeker and knows the dangers facing their man. The main character, Alix, is a fourteen year old girl who has never given a thought to refugees before. Faced with the most difficult decision of her life, Alix is forced to ask herself, what would she do for a stranger?

Jo Cotterill is a multi-award-winning writer of over 40 books for children and young adults. Published since 2004, her books cover issues such as bullying, refugees, body image, disability, child neglect and superheroes!

Miriam Halahmy publishes books for children and teens. Hidden was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and adapted for the stage, touring September 2018 and opening the Journeys Festival at the Guildhall Portsmouth. Miriam writes contemporary and historical novels on strong issues including refugees, drugs and teen homelessness. She worked with asylum seekers for many years, helping them to write their stories down.

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Friday 21st February

Beddow Library 10.30am and Paulsgrove Library 2.30pm

FREE – Please book a place in advance

Tracey Corderoy picture book storytime – Suitable for ages 2-6

Bestselling children’s author and illustrator Tracey Corderoy will host these special story times. Tracey will read from her Archie Rhino books: ‘No!’ ‘Why?’ ‘More’ and ‘Now!’ and will also read from ‘Just right for two’. After the stories children will make the bouncy spiders featured in the book ‘Why?’ www.traceycorderoy.com

Tracey was born and grew up in industrial South Wales. She is a trained teacher and a mum of two daughters and now lives in a hidden valley in Gloucestershire with her husband and family, where she writes in a little cottage on a hill.

A multi award-winning writer, Tracey has now published 70 books from picture books, to young and older fiction. She has always had a passion for wonderful literature and began writing for children in 2006. Her books include Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam, Hubble Bubble Granny Trouble, The Little White Owl, and the Baddies, Beasties and a Sprinkling of Crumbs! series for older readers.The first book in her new pony series (for ages 8+) called Seaview Stables published in August 2018, entitled The Pony with no Name,and the second in March 2019: The Mystery at Stormy Point.

Tracey’s head is happily crammed with countless story ideas and she’s loving the adventures that her characters insist they share!

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Friday 21st February

2-4pm

The D-Day Story, Portsmouth

Free with a valid ticket for The D-Day Story but please book in advance as places are limited – call 023 9283 4744.

Book launch: Gustav the brave – the D-Day messenger

NOTE FOR DESIGNER: Please include HLF logo

During the Second World War specially trained homing pigeons braved bullets and enemy birds of prey to deliver life-saving messages for Britain and her allies.  Gustav was one of them.  The D-Day Story museum invited writer Steve Tasane to work with a group of young writers – The Pigeon Squad – and artist Bob Moulder to bring Gustav’s D-Day tale to life in a rhyming picture book.  Join us for the first public reading of the story by the authors, follow our pigeon trail around the museum, see the Dickin Medal awarded to Gustav for bringing back the first news of the Allied landings in Normandy on D-Day, make a pigeon puppet and discover more about the incredible achievements of pigeons in war.  Steve and Bob will be happy to sign books bought in the museum shop.

Recommended for families with children aged 7+.

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Friday 21st February

2pm to 3.30pm

Southsea Library

FREE – please book a place in advance

Save the planet writing workshop for children with Lynne Stretch

For children 8 to 12 years  

Calling YOU….young writers! In this workshop you will have the opportunity to write creatively about subjects that matter to you! Whether it is a poem on “Pollution” or a short story with a “Recycling” theme, you will be able to share your writing to inspire others to “save our planet.” 

Lynne is a retired teacher and author, who organises creative writing workshops for adults and children at Southsea Library. Lynne has recently run a series of well attended workshops for the Environment Centre, in her home town of Swansea.

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Friday 21st February

7pm

University of Portsmouth Park Building, Room 2.23, King Henry I Street, Portsmouth PO1 2BZ

Parking: please use public car parks

£5

Professor Jim Al-Khalili

BookFest is delighted to present for his first appearance at the festival Professor Jim-Al-Khalili. Jim will be in conversation with the University of Portsmouth’s Dr Adrian Hull talking about his exciting debut novel Sun Fall and his career:

Twenty-five years in the future, and our planet is facing a natural Armageddon that threatens all life on Earth – Professor Jim Al-Khalili combines rip-roaring storytelling and mind-expanding science in his debut thriller. Explosive and edge-of-your-seat: Sunfall is a classic

Crichton-esque ‘what if’ thriller with a chilling USP – an event that could really happen.

Jim is a British scientist, author and broadcaster. He is a professor of Physics at the University of Surrey where he also holds a chair in the Public Engagement in Science. He is a fellow of the Royal Society and the current President of the British Science Association.

Jim will be interviewed by Dr Adrian Hull, Head of the School of Creative Technologies, University of Portsmouth.

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Saturday 22nd February, 29th February, 7th March, 14th March

10.30am-12.15pm

University of Portsmouth Eldon Building (First Floor), Winston Churchill Avenue, PO1 2DJ

£30 for the 4 sessions (Concessions £10) – Maximum 25 places available so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Write Your Novel Creative writing workshops with William Sutton: From idea to publication: poisoned pens, razor-sharp descriptions.

Workshop series to develop your novel.

Sign up for these brilliant sessions run in a friendly, informal atmosphere by an internationally published author. Set realistic aims, explode myths – and write.

Will I have to read aloud?

No. You can discuss ideas, problems, even sentences, but you don’t have to.

Will I have to write?

Yes, you’ll be given prompts to get you going, but the pace and direction of the work is yours.

Gain a clearer idea of how to write your book, whether fiction, autobiography, or non-fiction. How will you tell your story? We’ll discuss planning, writer’s block, procrastination, and publishing options.

Four sessions, covering:

  • Beginnings, Ideas;
  • Plot;
  • Characters, Settings;
  • Edits, Selling.

Committed writers, all ages.

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Saturday 22nd February

11am: North End Library

3pm: Southsea Library

£2 per child

Neal Layton: Children’s Illustrator – A planet full of plastic

Join Neal for an interactive reading of his brilliant picture book A planet full of plastic. Suitable for ages 5-8.

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Saturday 22nd February

1pm-3pm

Third Floor Portsmouth Central Library

£5

Leslie Cavendish: The cutting edge: Hairdresser to The Beatles

Leslie Cavendish was born in East London and grew up in Burnt Oak, North London. He was apprenticed to Vidal Sassoon in 1962, becoming a stylist in his own right three years later. He became Paul McCartney’s private hair­dresser in 1966, and soon began to work on the image of all four Beatles, at the Apple offices and in their recording studios, and was even invited along as a friend and participant on the Magical Mystery Tour. In 1967, he opened his own salon, backed by Apple and the Beatles, at 161 King’s Road, Chelsea.

After the official breakup of the Beatles, Leslie closed his salon and ran a clothing boutique in South London, while remaining a freelance hairdresser. In 1978, he entered the family footwear business and remained there until 1998 before moving to Spain. He now works for a major charity but also conducts occasional “VIP Beatles Tours” of London, lectures on the Beatles and Sixties culture, and consults with the Beatles Fan Club.

Hear all about Leslie’s fascinating life and about his first book.

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Saturday 22nd February

3-5pm

Third Floor, Portsmouth Central Library

£3

Inside Sherlock’s Mind

Learn how to think like Sherlock Holmes and see live demonstrations of his famous techniques of deduction, memory and psychology. See how to make your own memory palaces and how to use them, and many other methods of Sherlock, in life both in and out of crime-solving!

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Saturday 22nd February

7-9pm

Third Floor, Portsmouth Central Library

£3

Mystery & Mysticism

An Evening of Mystery and Mysticism Sherlock Holmes is the ultimate rationalist but his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle was an advocate of spiritualism and magic, find out more about the clash between these two worlds in a live demonstration of Victorian spiritualism in this show that mixes magic and science.

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Saturday 22nd February

6pm-8pm

Southsea Library café

£5

Around the world in 10 books with Scott Pack and Judith Robinson

Due to the popularity of last year’s BookFest event Scott and Judith return with their guide to world literature. Together they will take you on a journey in search of great books from around the globe.

Looking for something new to read? Then this is the perfect event for you. Scott and Judith are warm and engaging speakers who are great at inspiring people to try something new! Your ticket will include tea/coffee and cake.

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Monday 24th February

7.00 – 9.30pm

Hunter Gatherer Coffee, Albert Road, Southsea

FREE – book via Eventbrite or on the door on the night

T’Articulation’s Open Mic Night: Tales of Woe and Wonder

Come along and enjoy the friendly vibe that is T’Articulation. We’re happy for you to just listen to our offerings, of newly written poetry and prose, or to join in. Entry is free, whether you’re performing or just being part of the audience – so come along, get stuck in, and bring your friends. All we ask is that you buy something from the cafe bar – as they generously allow us to use the space for free.

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Tuesday 25th February

2pm-3.30pm

Third Floor Portsmouth Central Library

FREE – please reserve a place in advance

The Swing Riots: A History Talk and Poetry Reading with Georgia Hilton

Join poet and fiction writer Georgia Hilton for an exploration of this dramatic chapter in Hampshire history. In 1830, villages across Hampshire and the south of England experienced a widespread uprising against poor pay and the automation of agricultural labour. Several rioters were executed and many hundreds were transported from Portsmouth to penal colonies in Australia. Georgia Hilton will talk about the events and the aftermath of this rebellion, and will also read from Swing, her new poetry collection inspired by the riots.

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Tuesday 25th February

3-6pm

Third Floor Portsmouth Central Library

£7 Tickets available from 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/trees-their-awes-and-fascinations-poetry-workshop-with-stephen-boyce-tickets-74458406097

 https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/tongues-amp-grooves-18157115293

Trees – their ‘awes and fascinations’

Poetry Workshop and Reading with Stephen Boyce

This workshop will explore our deep-rooted relationship with trees, woods and forests. Why do trees have such a strong hold on our imagination and psyche? From climbing trees as children to walking in forests and parks, planting trees, hugging them, harvesting their fruit and products, or simply enjoying them in the landscape, trees occupy a significant place in our lives. They enable us to breathe and yet they are everywhere under threat.

In this workshop we’ll read a variety of poems about trees, experiment with memory and experience, use close observation, think about narrative, and apply imagination to creating inspired first drafts.

The workshop will be followed by a reading from ‘The Blue Tree’.

Stephen Boyce’s latest collection is The Blue Tree (Indigo Dreams 2019). He is a prize-winning and widely published poet and co-founder of Winchester Poetry Festival. 

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Tuesday 25th February

7-9pm

Third Floor Portsmouth Central Library

£4 full price/£2 under 18s and concessions- tickets for this event are available at

Eco tales from a positive Portsmouth

Create your own stories celebrating local eco projects. During this workshop ‘Pens of the Earth’ tutors experienced in environmentalism and creative writing will sow seeds, helping you to grow them into stories. They are offering the opportunity to have this work published on their website (pensoftheearth.co.uk).

Tutors: Amanda Garrie and Helen Salsbury.

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Tuesday 25th February

7-9pm

Third Floor, Portsmouth Central Library

£4

Fantasy/Animation Presents: Podcast Interview with Graham Humphreys

Graham Humphreys is best known for designing the iconic film posters for The Evil Dead (1981) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). His work is therefore familiar to horror fans around the world. In his new book Hung, Drawn and Executed (2019), Graham reflects on over forty years of experience working as an artist and illustrator, including examples of previously unseen work from his vast collection of paintings, drawings and colour studies.

Graham will be interviewed by Dr. Alexander Sergeant, Lecturer in Film & Media Studies at the University of Portsmouth and founder of Fantasy-Animation.org – a podcast and blog dedicated to the discussion of the relationship between fantasy storytelling and the medium of animation. The live podcast recording will discuss Graham’s career as one of the UK’s foremost horror artists, and will provide an opportunity for fans and artists to learn from Graham’s innovative approach to his subject matter as part of a Q&A.

“Graham immediately understood the essence of our film and painted an image that ripped up the traditions and threw the movie right in your face. I loved this poster!” –Sam Raimi, director, producer, screenwriter, actor

“Graham Humphreys’ art is at once beautiful and transformative.” –Clive Barker, screenwriter and novelist

“I’ve long been an admirer of Graham’s wonderful artwork. For me, there’s nothing that quite says HORROR like the queasy, lurid phantasms he conjures up with such wit, skill and imagination. I think I found The Evil Dead poster scarier than the film!” –Mark Gatiss, actor, screenwriter and novelist

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Wednesday 26th February

2pm

Third Floor Portsmouth Central Library

£3

Mysteries of Portsmouth, by Matt Wingett

Sea Monsters, Ghosts, UFOs, King Arthur and even the Holy Grail have appeared in myths, legends and journalism in connection with Portsmouth over the years. Join local author Matt Wingett as he takes you through obscure newspaper reports and little-known historical and not-quite-historical sources to discover:

- what prompted the MoD to create the Flying Saucer Working Party after a sighting a UFO over Portsmouth

- the story of sibling rivalry that led to the original name for the first castle at Portchester 

- reports of the giant white rabbit of Portsea

- the macabre beheading of Countess Margaret Pole of Warblington

- ghost sightings throughout the city

This talk is an eccentric tour of some of the lesser known, mystical and mysterious stories and folk tales that surround the city of Portsmouth. Prepare to be amused and surprised in equal measure!

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Wednesday 26th February

6pm-7pm

University of Portsmouth Richmond Building, PO1 3DE

Free- Please book your ticket at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/inaugural-lecture-by-professor-deborah-shaw-tickets-78338008091

Inaugural Lecture by Professor Deborah Shaw: From Latin American Cinema to Transnational Screens: A journey through key films and television series

This talk will centre on landmark films and television texts that have resulted in shifts in representations and theoretical insights. Professor Shaw will trace her own intellectual journey through a selection of important Latin American and transnational cultural film and television texts.

Deborah Shaw is Professor of Film and Screen Studies at the University of Portsmouth. Her research interests include transnational film theory, Latin American cinema, Latin American women filmmakers, film and migration, and she has published widely in these areas.

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Wednesday 26th February

7pm-8.30pm

Second Floor, Portsmouth Central Library

£3

Aspects of Hampshire Queer history; uncovering a hidden LGBT+ past with Clifford Williams

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Wednesday 26th February

7pm-8pm

Southsea Library

£3

From nurse to novelist: Christine Lawrence

Christine Lawrence talks about how she left a successful career as a psychiatric nurse and re-invented herself has an author.  She tells us of her experiences working in mental hospitals from the 1970s/1980s and Care in the Community in Mental Health, then working in drug and alcohol teams in Portsmouth and Southampton. After “retiring” in 2005, she completed a BA in English Lit and Creative Arts, followed by an MA in Creative Writing.  She has published two novels: Caught in the Web and Payback and a book of short stories: Moments of Darkness. Books will be on sale at the event.

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Thursday 27th February

2-4pm

Third Floor Portsmouth Central Library

£3

Creating characters in fiction with Roberta Grieve

Roberta will focus at this workshop on creating characters in fiction. Roberta will start with a short talk followed by writing exercises and feedback.

“I have been writing for most of my life but early retirement offered me the chance to develop my love of writing into a new career. I started with short stories and magazine articles and progressed to full length novels. My first published novel, ‘Abigail’s Secret’ has recently been re-issued as a paperback and ebook along with several others of my backlist. My latest book ‘Daisy’s War’ is my twelfth full length novel and I am now working on a sequel. I have also written several shorter novellas published as large print romances. I am secretary of Chichester Writers’ Circle, a group which aims to help and encourage fellow writers. I am also a member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists and I am on the committee of the Chichester Literary Society. 

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Thursday 27th February

7pm

Third Floor Portsmouth Central Library

£5

David Hepworth: Music journalist

David Hepworth has been writing, broadcasting and speaking about music and media since the seventies. He was involved in the launch and editing of magazines such as Smash Hits, Q, Mojo and The Word, among many others.

He was one of the presenters of the BBC rock music programme The Old Grey Whistle Test and one of the anchors of the corporation’s coverage of Live Aid in 1985. He has won the Editor of the Year and Writer of the Year awards from the Professional Publishers Association and the Mark Boxer award from the British Society of Magazine Editors.

He lives in London, dividing his time between writing for a variety of newspaper and magazines, speaking at events, broadcasting work, podcasting at www.wordpodcast.co.uk and blogging at www.whatsheonaboutnow.blogspot.co.uk.

More recently, David has been writing critically acclaimed books about music and his latest book is called A fabulous creation: How the LP saved our lives.
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Friday 28th February

2pm-4pm

Third Floor Portsmouth Central Library

£5

Writing your first novel: with Wendy Metcalfe

Writing your first novel can be a daunting prospect.  Novelist Wendy Metcalfe will show you how to plan your story, and reveal the things you need to think about before you start writing.

The workshop will include practical exercises, and participants should bring a notebook and pen.

Wendy Metcalfe is a science fiction writer. Her stories explore feminism, sentient artificial intelligences, and environmental issues. She taught creative writing for over a decade, and is Chairwoman of Havant and District Writers’ Circle. She is a member of Portsmouth Writers’ Hub, and regularly performs with spoken word group T’Articulation.

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Friday 28th February

7pm

Third Floor Portsmouth Central Library

£5

Pre-Raphaelite women: with Kirsty Stonell Walker

Hear about the remarkable women who contributed to the Pre-Raphaelite movement in this talk with biographer, historian and author of Pre-Raphaelite Girl Gang (2018), Kirsty Stonell Walker. Spanning artists, sculptors, inventors, models, wives, sisters and muses, this talk will uncover the stories behind some of the familiar and less familiar women who influenced the movement, including Ellen Terry and Lily Langtry.

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Saturday 29th February

11am-3pm

Portsmouth History Centre, Second Floor, Portsmouth Central Library

Portsmouth Archives Open Day

Come and see some of the treasures from the archive, local history and naval history collections throughout the day.

Struggling with family history research? Book a one to one session for support with online resources.

Need help with reading the handwriting in old documents? Book a place at a workshop at 10:30am or 1.30pm

Stories and activities for children and families too.

Telephone 023 9268 8046 to book a FREE place at the one to one sessions and/or the workshop.

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Saturday 29th February

1pm-4.30pm

Southsea Library

Southsea Library Writers’ Day

Tickets should be booked in advance for the workshops, which have a limited capacity. The poetry surgery is drop in.

12 noon-1.30pm How to Publish Your Own Book – an introduction £5

These days it’s not necessary to have a publisher to get your book printed. If you’re proficient on a laptop and can get on the internet, you can get your book sorted in a matter of days.

Matt Wingett shows you how it’s done in a one and a half hour talk, taking you through the pitfalls and dispelling the myths about how to do it.

He will also make sure you know why you’re doing it, and take you through different approaches to marketing, selling and publicity.

Matt is a local publisher and author, whose books have sold in the thousands, and he is always an entertaining speaker who will show you the way to publish easily and quickly. 

1-3pm: Poetry surgery with Denise Bennett A one to one consultation with published poet and tutor Denise. Bennett. Each session will last about 15 minutes. Please bring 2 printed copies of one of your own poems for discussion and workshop. These should be poems in progress, not polished pieces. Denise Bennet has an MA in creating writing and taught this subject at Portsmouth College for 28 years. She is a published poet with three collections: Planting the Snow Queen and Parachute Silk by Oversteps Books and Water Chits by Indigo Dreams. She runs writing/poetry workshops and is currently working on her forth collection.

2pm-4pm: Poems on pollution: workshop for adults with Lynne Stretch £3-

A creative writing workshop with a difference! We will read and discuss a number of short poems written on pollution/environmental issues. We will use these poems to inspire us to write creatively about saving our environment for future generations. 

3.30pm-5pm: Turning your life into poetry with Denise Bennett £3

Please bring a notebook and pen plus a family photograph and an object which is important to you.  We will do writing exercises using material from your own life to stimulate your creativity and read poems by established poets as a source of inspiration.

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Saturday 29th February

6.30pm

Southsea Library café

£4 – includes a soft drink and light snacks

The Portsmouth Short Story Competition Awards and launch of Portsmouth: City of Stories book

Each year the Library and Archive Service run a Short Story Competition, inviting local writers, or writers who can demonstrate a close personal connection to the city, to enter a story on a designated theme. This year’s theme was to take one of the three photographs from the Portsmouth Archive Collection shown here and write a story about it.

At this event shortlisted entrants will read an extract from their story before the winner of the £500 prize in announced.

The event will also see the book launch of the long awaited collection of shortlisted stories from the 2015-2018 competitions called Portsmouth: City of Stories.

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Sunday 1st March

6-8pm

Groundlings Theatre, 42 Kent Street PO1 3BS

FREE but please book a place in advance  

From the heart poetry recital

Portsmouth poets, musicians and residents have collaborated to each learn a poem by heart. Join us for this celebratory recital of poetry through the ages from Shakespeare, Carol Ann Duffy and John Cooper Clarke. All welcome!

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Tuesday 3rd March

2pm

Portsmouth City Museum

FREE

Creative writing using art with Eileen Phyall

At this workshop Eileen will help you look at how Art can inspire creative writing, both poems and short stories. Modern and Classical art examples will be used for prompts.

Stories and writing from the workshop will then be performed by the participants at a special event at Teatray Café, Osborne Road on Tuesday 10th March 6pm. Listeners welcome. Entry is free but attendees are asked to support the café by purchasing a drink or cake.

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Tuesday 3rd March

7pm

Third Floor Portsmouth Central Library

£5

Seven Years A Bookdealer

When in 2001 Matt Wingett came back to England from teaching English in Egypt, he found himself without work and not knowing what to do. With no expertise but an obsession for books, he set himself up as a rare bookdealer, in the early days of ebay, Within a few years he was dealing in ancient books and became a specialist in bibles, despite being an atheist. Join him as he tells you about the characters he met along the way and the strange lives they led, as well as some of the books ancient and modern he encountered along the way. 

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Wednesday 4th March

3pm-5:15pm

Southsea Coffee, 63 Osborne Rd, PO5 3LS

FREE – no ticket required

Mad Hatter’s Typewriter Party

Come to Typewriter Tales #6 to discover dormice typing in your teapots and March hares hatching plot twists.

Do I need to know anything?

No. Just write your own revolution at this drop-in workshop, brought to you by T’Articulation and William Sutton

Do I need to be an experienced writer?

No, no! We’ll help, with prompts or suggestions, or by just giving you a bit of space.

Create a postcard sized story, poem or drawing.


Wednesday 4th March

7pm

Third Floor Portsmouth Central Library

£5

Portsmouth Event: (Re)discovering lost voices of the past

Portsmouth Event: (Re)discovering lost voices of the past

How does creating lost voices challenge and expand our understanding of historical events?

In A Small Dark Quiet, Miranda Gold takes us into the world of post-war London and a family overshadowed by personal and epic trauma. In Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile, Alice Jolly transports us to the life of a mill worker in the 1830s and explores both the personal and political turmoil in this period of seismic change.  

In this event on Unheard Voices, Miranda and Alice will discuss how illuminating lost corners of history and allowing the unseen – those on the periphery of our history to speak encourages us to question the mainstream historical narrative. Who bears witness to these life-changing moments for those voices so often unheard, if not the reader themselves?   

Miranda Gold is a writer. Hailed as a ‘Great Jewish Book’ by Jewish Book Week, A Small Dark Quiet is a story of loss, migration and the search for belonging. Her second novel, the TLS called it “a bold attempt to portray the greyness of growing up without roots or identity”. Miranda is a creative writing tutor at Skylight, Crisis. She is currently collaborating with New River Press on an anthology of work by poets who have experienced homelessness.  

Alice Jolly is a novelist and playwright.  She has won the Pen Ackerley Prize for memoir and also the V.S.Pritchett Prize awarded by the Royal Society of Literature.  She teaches creative writing on the Masters Degree at Oxford University.  Her fourth novel Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile was a Walter Scott Prize recommended novel for 2109, was on the longlist for the Ondaatje Prize 2019 and was runner up for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2019.  

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Thursday 5th March

2pm-4pm

Third Floor Portsmouth Central Library

FREE

Writing the Past: A Poetry Workshop with Georgia Hilton

Do you have a passion for local history that you would like to put into words? Georgia Hilton is a Hampshire-based poet and fiction writer who will take you on a creative journey inspired by the past! Georgia has written a collection of poems based on the events of the nineteenth century Swing Riots and in this interactive workshop she will help you to create your own local history poems. A supportive and inclusive event, this workshop is suitable for writers of all ages and abilities, from beginners to more experienced poets.

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Thursday 5th March

7pm

Third Floor Portsmouth Central Library

£4

The Romance genre; is it all fluff and kittens? Panel with Charlie Cochrane, Sue Fortin, Janet Hancock Louisa Heaton Poppy Alexander and Carol Thomas.

Join a panel of romance novelists who will be looking at whether romance is regarded as the poor relation – the Cinderella genre – exploring hidden gems on the romance shelves and giving aspiring novelists their best writing tips.

Charlie writes both romance and mysteries, often combining the two: you can find her at http://www.charliecochrane.co.uk

Sue Fortin, USA Today and UK Kindle #1 bestselling author of romance, mystery and suspense. www.suefortin.com

Dorset author Janet Hancock’s novel Beyond the Samovar is an engaging tale of escape, love and loss in little-known parts of Russia, and England, 1919-20.

Louisa Heaton writes romances for Harlequin Mills and Boon. www.louisaheatonauthor.com

Poppy Alexander writes as Rosie Howard & Sarah Waights. Her latest Poppy Alexander novel, “25 Days in December”, has been optioned for TV and published in several countries including the US and Germany. 

Published by Ruby Fiction, Carol Thomas writes heartwarming romantic comedy, set in and around the Littlehampton area: www.carol-thomas.co.uk 

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Thursday 5th March

University of Portsmouth Eldon Building, Winston Churchill Avenue, PO1 2DJ

FREE: Come to any part, or all. Please book in advance, via Eventbrite.
Traipsing with Travel Writers – creating a unique view on the world.

[A three part experience in collaboration with Star & Crescent, T’Articulation and the University of Portsmouth.]

An eclectic backpack of well-travelled writers will discuss the different forms of writing they produce from those adventures – and how you can use your own experiences to create original pieces of work.

5.00 – 5.45pm: An interview with two of our celebrated travel writers.

6pm – 7.15pm: Themed readings from the collected writers and discussions about the various techniques used.

7.30pm – 9.00pm: Hands on workshop.
Ben Aitken is the author of A Chip Shop in Poznan: My Unlikely Year in Poland, which recounts a year spent in Poland working, travelling and integrating. Paul Ross called it ‘the funniest book of the year.’ Ben also wrote Dear Bill Bryson: Footnotes from a Small Island, which was featured in The Guardian, The Times and on BBC Radio.

Rubia Dar is an award-winning freelance producer/director, specialising in documentaries, factual programmes, current affairs and news. She has worked for all the main UK TV channels, Al Jazeera English, as well as American Networks including National Geographic and Discovery Channel.

Amanda Garrie is in the final stages of a PhD in creative writing, where she is writing a novel, at The University of Portsmouth. She was Portsmouth City Library and Archives Service Poet in Residence for 2019 and is a founder member of T’Articulation spoken word troupe. Much of her poetry and prose-fiction reflects the cultural curiosities discovered on her travels in Spain, Eastern Europe and India.

Mike Manson’s new novel, Down in Demerara, concerns an Englishman who is plucked from his humdrum job and dispatched to the forbidden rainforest of Guyana on a mysterious assignment. Fay Weldon calls the book ‘a fast-moving and wonderfully funny (I laughed aloud a lot) vigorous and intelligent tale of an innocent abroad.’

Richard Peirce, a co-founder of T’Articulation, is well-known on the local spoken-word circuit. His poetry, often connecting emotionally with the people, landscapes and situations, of his travels in the Philippines, Russia and Africa, has been published in a number of anthologies.

Tom Sykes is the author of The Realm of the Punisher: Travels in Duterte’s Philippines which garnered positive reviews in the Times Literary Supplement and the London Magazine. Tom is also the author of Ivory Coast: The Bradt Guide and his travel journalism has appeared in The Telegraph, Private Eye, New Statesman, New African, The Scotsman and many other titles.

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Friday 6th March

7pm

Third Floor Portsmouth Central Library

£3

An Idaho Cowgirl in Austenland: Donna Fletcher Crow talks about becoming an Anglophile through literature

Almost all of Donna Fletcher Crow’s 50-some novels are set in England or have English ties in the background—even her Idaho pioneer family saga. When Glastonbury, her Arthurian epic covering 1500 years of English history, was published she was asked repeatedly, “Why England?” There are many strands to the answer, but Jane Austen is a major component.

Crow has written two literary suspense novels focusing on locations in Austen’s life and last year researched for her third—Jane Austen at the Seashore, which included “Portsmouth: Reliving Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.”

Donna Fletcher Crow will be speaking about the Portsmouth sites that figured in Austen’s life and in her last completed novel. Crow will then go on to recount other adventures that have led to her being known as “Novelist of British History.”

Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, was born, raised, and still lives in the Boise Valley in Idaho, in the northwest corner of the States. She is a former English teacher and a lifelong Anglophile. She has authored some 50 books, primarily novels, dealing with various aspects of British history, especially Christian history. She and her husband of 56 years have 4 children and 15 grandchildren (including 6 who are English). She enjoys frequent research trips to the UK and tries never to write about a place she hasn’t visited.

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Saturday 7th March

10am-4.45pm

Third Floor Portsmouth Central Library

£15 includes a light lunch of sandwiches and soft drinks

Mystery Fest

MysteryFest with Charlie Cochrane, Jeff Dowson, Mia Emilie, Donna Fletcher Crow, Dot Marshall Gent, Christine Hammacott, Becky Milne, Barbara Nadel, Jennifer Palmer, Linda Regan, Sally Spedding, Linda Stratmann, Peter Tickler, Len Tyler, Carol Westron and Debbie Young.

The Third Annual Mystery Fest Day Conference has sixteen speakers, including our Guest of Honour, award winning author L.C. Tyler in conversation with successful actress and author Linda Regan; Professor Becky Milne talking about Police Interviewing – the Reality; two exciting author panels discussing Belief and Superstition in Crime Fiction and how authors choose ‘The Right Place to Kill’, plus three short talks on crime fiction topics. Hayling Island Books will be on hand to sell books by all the authors present. With a light lunch included, at £15 this day is incredible value in every way.

Charlie Cochrane’s mystery series include the Edwardian era Cambridge Fellows and the contemporary Lindenshaw Mysteries. Multi-published, she has titles with Carina, Riptide, Endeavour, and Bold Strokes, among others.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People and International Thriller Writers Inc, Charlie appears with The Deadly Dames. www.charliecochrane.co.uk

Jeff Dowson is a screenwriter turned crime novelist. Credits include arts documentaries, drama series and TV films. His Bristol set crime thrillers feature private eye Jack Shepherd.  The 5th book in the series, titled Leading the Blind, will be published Spring 2020. Jeff is a member of BAFTA and the CWA. www.jeffdowson.co.uk

Mia Emilie is an independent crime fiction author and lecturer. She was recently awarded her doctorate focussing on detective fiction, from University of Exeter. She is working on co-organising the sixth International Agatha Christie Conference to be held in 2020. Her historical crime novel, A Hidden Life, was published under her pen name Mia Emilie, in September 2019. A Hidden Life is the first in a trilogy and Mia is currently working on the second instalment, Unhistoric Acts, to be published in Summer 2020. www.miaemilie.com

Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, was born, raised, and still lives in the Boise Valley in Idaho, in the northwest corner of the States. She is a former English teacher and a lifelong Anglophile. She has authored some 50 books, primarily novels, dealing with various aspects of British history, especially Christian history. She and her husband of 56 years have 4 children and 15 grandchildren (including 6 who are English). She enjoys frequent research trips to the UK and tries never to write about a place she hasn’t visited. www.donnafletchercrow.com

Christine Hammacott writes psychological suspense. Any one of us can become the unwitting victim of a crime but how we cope with it is what is explored in Christine’s work, where characters are forced to confront situations they have no idea how to deal with. Her first novel The Taste of Ash is set in Portsmouth and she is currently working on a second set in the New Forest, which she frequently uses as an excuse to slink off for ‘writing’ weekends away from the family. www.christinehammacott.com

Dot Marshall-Gent worked in the emergency services for twenty years before teaching secondary English in London and Kent.  She is a singer-songwriter, writes poetry and non-fiction, and enjoys reviewing books for Mystery People.

Becky Milne is a Professor of Forensic Psychology at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Portsmouth. The main focus of her work over the past twenty years concerns the examination of police interviewing and investigation. Jointly with practitioners, she has helped to develop procedures that improve the quality of interviews of witnesses, victims, intelligence sources, and suspects of crime across many countries. She is also the Director of the Centre of Forensic Interviewing. She was given the Tom Williamson award for her outstanding achievements in the field of investigative interviewing by NPCC in April 2009. http://www2.port.ac.uk/institute-of-criminal-justice-studies/staff/professor-becky-milne.html

Barbara Nadel writes two crime fiction series – the Ikmen novels set in Istanbul and the Hakim and Arnold books set in East London. Both are contemporary. In 2005 Barbara won the CWA Silver Dagger for her Ikmen book ‘Deadly Web’. She lives in Essex with her husband and is entirely owned by cats. @BarbaraNadel

Dr. Jennifer S. Palmer has enjoyed crime fiction since discovering Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven in her childhood!   As a retired historian she lectures on historical controversies, real crimes and crime fiction topics particularly Golden Age. She also reviews crime fiction for the Mystery People and Shots websites.

Linda is a successful actress. She also hosts TV shows, and has been writing since she was a child. Fifteen years ago she decided to take an MA in creative writing. She chose Portsmouth as her husband grew up there and they both love the city. Since gaining her MA she has had eight police procedural crime novels published, all to high acclaim. Her latest is The Terror Within.  www.lindareganonline.co.uk

Sally Spedding: ‘Wringland’ (2001) set in the haunted fens, is the first of Sally’s fifteen crime thrillers. In a seven-book deal with Sharpe Books, ‘The Nighthawk is out now. Also, ‘Bloodlines, ‘Death Knell and ‘Downfall.’  A CWA, Mystery People and Crime Cymru member, she spends part of each year in the inspiring Eastern Pyrenees. www.sallyspedding.com

Linda Stratmann writes two Victorian crime fiction series with female sleuths, Frances Doughty who solves murders in Bayswater, and diminutive Mina Scarletti in Brighton who exposes fraudulent spirit mediums who extort money from the vulnerable bereaved. Linda also writes non-fiction and is currently Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association. http://lindastratmann.com/

Peter Tickler has six published crime novels under his belt, all set in and around the city of Oxford. He has been praised both for the authenticity of the Oxford location (‘a wonderful gift of creating geographically factual settings for his fictional characters’ – Oxford Times) as well as the pace of his stories (‘deliciously thrilling and wildly unpredictable’ – Oxford Today). He has seen two of his scripts made into short films and most recently created and staged an extremely popular Murder Mystery Event. www.petertickler.co.uk Twitter: @ptickler

L C Tyler writes two crime series: the Herring Mysteries and a historical series featuring seventeenth century lawyer and spy, John Grey. He is a former chair of the Crime Writers Association and has won the Goldsboro Last Laugh Award (twice) and the CWA Short Story Dagger. www.lctyler.com

Carol Westron writes two contemporary detective series and Victorian murder mysteries, all situated in the south of England. Her recent stand-alone novel is called This Game of Ghosts. She writes articles on The Golden Age and is a member of Mystery People, ALLi, SWWJ and the Deadly Dames. www.carolwestron.com

Debbie Young writes warm, witty cosy mystery novels set in the Cotswolds where she has lived for nearly 30 years. Her Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries series begins with Best Murder in Show, and her new Staffroom at St Bride’s series with Secrets at St Bride’s – A School Story for Grown-Ups. www.authordebbieyoung.com

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Saturday 7th March

7pm

Portsmouth Guildhall Studio Space

£5

Adele Parks

Adele Parks is one of the most-loved and biggest-selling women’s fiction writers in the UK. Three and a half million copies of her UK editions have been sold and her work is translated into 26 different languages. She’s published nineteen novels in nineteen years, and all have hit the bestseller lists. Her latest domestic thriller, Lies Lies Lies, is a number 1 bestseller. All of Adele’s novels examine issues that are important to us all. Adele likes to scrutinize concepts of family, theories on love, parenting and fidelity with honesty and humour. She is known for examining the thorny issues of the lives people lead with her trademark, up-front, tell-it-as-it-is style.

Join us at what promises to be fascinating talk about the writing process and being a best-selling novelist.

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