Preview: Bookfest 2022

It’s no secret that when it comes to writers Portsmouth is a melting pot of literacy talent. From the historic musings of Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle, both of which lived in the area; to the more modern writers such as sci-fi author Neil Gaiman and popular thrillers by Graham Hurley the local area has inspired, entertained and provided a unique backdrop for many stories.

However, there also exists a thriving community of local writers that regularly submit short stories, poetry, launches books, attends spoken events, and meets regularly to support each other. Portsmouth BOOKFEST organised by Portsmouth City Council running from 21 February – 13 March 22 showcases the best of this talent, which is open to all, whether you are an aspiring or established author, fellow creative or just an avid reader looking for your next favourite novel. There is something for everyone, many events are free but still require booking, tickets are on sale in any of the city’s libraries or at https://librariesandarchives.portsmouth.gov.uk/public-library-service/whats-on/events/portsmouth-bookfest-2022/ where you can download the full programme of events. Here are some of the highlights.

From Inspiration to Publication                                                       
Monday 7th March 1900 Portsmouth Central Library
Admission £4

With Gabrielle Kimm and Loree Westron

American short story writer and novelist Loree Westron and internationally published historical novelist Gabrielle Kimm trace the development of their novels, from the initial ideas that sparked their imaginations, through the process of research and invention, and finally to the submission of their manuscripts for publication. The discussion will include insight into their creative processes, how they overcame some of the challenges they faced, and the route to publication, followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Loree Westron’s debut novel Missing Words is set in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight during the turbulent summer of 1984, and was published last year by Fairlight Books. She previously taught Creative Writing at Portsmouth and Chichester Universities, and currently leads the Portsmouth Writer’s Workshop.

Gabrielle Kimm is the author of three historical novels, all published by Little, Brown. Formerly a secondary school English teacher, she has two grown-up daughters and lives on the south coast with her dog.

Literary Fiction – ‘An Intensity of Language’
Sunday 13th March 1400 Portsmouth Central Library
Admission £4

A panel discussion with Gabrielle Kimm, Helen Salsbury and Loree Westron, with Alison Habens moderating.

What is ‘literary fiction’? Is it merely a catch-all description for the sort of intellectual, difficult books which win the big prizes, or is there something more mysterious about it, something exciting, and harder to define about the term?

American short story writer and novelist, Loree Westron, internationally published historical novelist Gabrielle Kimm and debut novelist Helen Salsbury will explore the notion of ‘literary fiction’ by means of a discussion, readings from their books, and a Q&A with the audience.

Helen Salsbury is a published short story writer, spoken word performer and community journalist, who has been longlisted for the Mslexia novel competition and shortlisted for the Impress Prize for New Writers. She’s the founder of environmental writing project www.pensoftheearth.co.uk and a director of the Portsmouth Writers Hub

A Funny Thing Happened While Researching my Novel
Wednesday 23rd February 1900 Portsmouth Central Library
Admission Free

A panel discussion with novelists and short story writers Christine Lawrence, Helen Salsbury and Loree Westron.

Drop in for a chat with local authors, Christine, Helen and Loree as they discuss how research shapes and flavours their writing. Through anecdotes and illustrations from their recent novels, they will explore the challenge of writing about ‘near history’ – a time vivid in memory but perceived through a contemporary lens. Aimed at readers and writers alike, the session promises to entertain, inform and intrigue those interested in the lengths writers go to create a sense of authenticity.

Christine Lawrence is known locally for writing and performing at spoken word events, for facilitating writing workshops, and for founding the spoken word group T’Articulation. Her third novel, Don’t Step on the Cracks, is a self-published psychological thriller set in Fareham’s homeless community, drawing upon real-life experiences.

Writing for Procrastinators Workshops                                         
Various Dates, Eldon Building or Zoom
Admission £50 (Whole Course) £20 (Concessions).

With William Sutton

Turn your creative weaknesses into strengths. Always wanted to write? Unsure how? Is your dream project permanently on hold? Try these friendly, informal workshops with novelist William Sutton. Come and be coaxed into getting started with your project. Discover fresh approaches to crash through those blocks. Develop characters, settings, plots, endings. Get words on the page.

William Sutton is a writer, musician, playwright, raconteur, bon-vivant and most importantly author of the Campbell Lawless series of Victorian mystery novels. He has also delivered numerous writing workshops including Writing for Procrastinators, Take Your Novel Further, and taught Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth.

Website and tickets: librariesandarchives.portsmouth.gov.uk/events/portsmouth-bookfest-2022
Twitter: twitter.com/PompeyBookFest


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