Portsmouth BookFest is in full swing. If you haven’t yet made it to one of the events on offer, take a look at the BookFest website to see what literary treats are still in store.
Ahead of this evening’s ‘Day of the Dead’, I caught up with William Sutton, one of the authors taking part in this year’s festivities. Writing for Strong Island, I asked him about tonight’s event, an evening of spooky tales organised by Portsmouth Writer’s Hub, what literary festivals like BookFest do for writers and the local community, and how it feels to be taking part this year as a published author.
Below is a taster of my chat with Will – for the full interview and others related to art, literature and culture generally in Portsmouth, check out the Strong Island website.
Why did the organisers choose to do a ‘Day of the Dead’? It sounds a bit grim!
Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is a huge festival especially in Mexico which is a counterpart of Hallowe’en, and it’s anything but grim, celebrated with feasting, skeleton models, amazing food. We’ve adopted the title to bridge all aspects of death, from spooky to gory to elegiac.
What can those attending the event expect from the evening?
Expect the gut-wrenching, the terrifying, the mind-blowing, the fantastic.
Last year’s BookFest featured a brilliant evening in the atmospheric Square Tower about Dickens and Conan Doyle, with a ghostly flavour. We wanted to unleash the imaginations of our own brilliant writers. Among our writers are Diana Bretherick (appearing on ITV3’s Crime Thriller Book Club and nominated for Specsavers Crime Awards); award-winning short story writers, Lynne Blackwood, Jack Hughes and James Bicheno; and Matt Wingett, whose work with The Three Belles scored a sell-out hit at the New Theatre Royal.
What are the benefits of an event like this to the local writers taking part?
It’s fun. Writing is a lonely game. Writing and performing for a specific event is a welcome challenge. This is a way for wonderful authors, including published novelists and award-winning short story writers, to entertain local readers, to connect with each other and to push our writing skills in new directions.
Read more at Strong Island…