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Delights for writers at Bookfest

Novelist William Sutton previews Bookfest’s writing events. 

For full listings see

W riting is a solitary pastime: if you write, you’ll know how much we need encouragement. Portsmouth Bookfest 2022 21 February-13 March is packed with events for writers (and readers).

The range of events is amazing. Artist Kim Edith leads a Zine Making Workshop: create narratives with words and pictures in ‘Storytelling through Portsmouth Museums collection’. Ever wanted to write a film? Book in advance for ‘Wave Makers’ at your local library. “No experience required,” says screenwriter Matt Wingett, “just an aspiration to be creative with words.”

In ‘Transmedia storytelling’ workshop, writers with too much imagination learn interdisciplinary collaborative skills. ‘Off the Shelf Poetry Masterclass’ invites you to submit work to award-winning poets Denise Bennett and Maggie Sawkins. Discuss your poems at ‘Poetry Corner’ with Tina MacNaughton.

Children create characters with author Shelagh Moore in ‘Storytime’ (ages 5–7) and ‘Writing Workshop’ (9–11). Becci Louise invites 10–14-year-old environmentalists to create ‘Octopus Medicine’ poems and art.

There’s a bonanza of advice for fiction writers, whether beginning your novel or selling it. Wendy Metcalfe advises on ‘Writing a sparkling first page’. Everyone needs to learn ‘How to Edit Your Writing’: in this constructive online group, two authors post excerpts to be pruned into shape.

‘Speak Up’ encourages writers to read confidently. These friendly workshops help you to engage audiences. Exploring our city’s different histories, ‘Diverse voices’ is a free workshop/performance.

To get you started, five novelists offer ‘Tips for aspiring authors – from the horses’ mouths’. Don’t postpone signing up for ‘Writing for Procrastinators’; two of last year’s attendees already have books out. Congratulations!

Once your novel’s polished, ‘Pitch and Punt’ it with award-winning writer Lucy Flannery. Publicist Esther Harris and scout Naomi Tongue reveal ‘What do Literary Scouts do?’  The effervescent Scott Pack shares insider knowledge: Tips from a Publisher explores writers’ mistakes in submitting.

For readers, David Lammy MP’s Tribes explores our compulsion to belong. “He interrogates polarisation, tribalism and identity politics… blending memoir with shrewd analysis.” (Independent)

Mohsin Zaidi’s award-winning memoir A Dutiful Boy explores diversity and inclusion, mental health and justice.

‘Around the world in 10 books’ is always enlightening. ‘View from the Hill’ illuminates folklore, flora and fauna. Local crime writer and raconteur Pete Adams proposes ‘A funny way of being serious’. Full-day Mystery Fest hosts bestsellers Leigh Russell, Linda Regan and Jeff Dowson alongside local stars Christine Lawrence, Chris Blackwater and Carol Westron. And lots more besides: Google ‘Portsmouth Bookfest’. For more details check the website.

    @PompeyBookFest      PortsmouthLibraries 


Edit Your Writing & Writing for Procrastinators:  

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