Professor Jim Al-Khalili and Lemn Sissay help celebrate ten years of Portsmouth BookFest!

Tickets are now on sale for the tenth annual Portsmouth BookFest, which runs online from 15 February to 7 March and includes a talk by Professor Jim Al-Khalili about his new book, ‘The World According to Physics’. The festival is aimed at anyone interested in reading or writing books and covers a wide range of subjects from crime to art and the local music scene in the 1970s to 1990s.

Cllr Pitt, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development & Deputy Leader at Portsmouth City Council said: “We are thrilled to celebrate the BookFest’s tenth anniversary this year. It has been a very popular event for many years and although a little different, this year’s exciting programme of online events promises to be the best one yet. With a broad range of talks, interviews and activities covering all sorts of themes, there’s something in the programme for everyone.”

Bestselling crime author Leigh Russell will take part in the all-day MysteryFest event on Saturday 6th March which will also feature an expert talk on wildlife crime delivered by Dr Nick Pamment.

Poet Lemn Sissay, MBE, whose critically acclaimed, moving memoir ‘My Name Is Why’ was published in 2019 and was featured on the BBC’s ‘Imagine’ series, will be appearing at BookFest for the first time.

Local music historians Dave Allen and Mick Cooper will give a lively talk on the next instalment of Pompey Pop Pix – the illustrated history covers the music scene in Portsmouth from the 1970s to the 1990s.

There will be talks on the history of Number 10 Downing Street by Jack Brown, on Ireland by Ivan Gibbons and on Harrier 809 with military historian, Rowland White.

In addition, there will be a range of online writing classes, on topics such as poetry for wellbeing, writing crime fiction and how to get started with writing, delivered by local authors and writers.

The festival is run in partnership with independent booksellers The Hayling Island Bookshop who are delighted to take orders over the telephone and deliver to local addresses.

Advance booking is highly recommended as links to the Zoom events will be emailed to ticket holders two days before the events.

The full programme and information about how to book tickets is at

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