WINCHESTER Writers' Weekend is being held virtually once again after a successful inaugural event in 2020.

Originally planned to be held in the city in-person, director Sara Gangai decided it was safer to hold it online until Covid eases.

The event provides opportunities for writers to hone their craft, rub elbows with published authors and other writers, and meet one-to-one with literary agents for feedback.

Ms Gangai said: “Last year we had around 250 people take part in the event but this year bookings are already exceeding expectations as we have two amazing keynote speakers, including Diana Gabaldon, author of the hugely popular Outlander series, and Chris Riddell, best-selling children’s author/illustrator."

Other acclaimed authors taking part include Kate Mosse, Helen Fields, Lissa Evans, Robert Fabbri, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, MG Leonard, Tracey Corderoy, and Reshma Ruia.

Top literary agents from all over the UK will be giving one-to-one appointments, including those from Bell Lomax, Watson Little, Zeno, Little Tiger, C&W, Blake Friedmann, AM Heath, Curtis Brown, Darley Anderson and many more.

Ms Gangai is the previous director of the Winchester Writers’ Festival, which was run by the University of Winchester.

When the university changed direction and folded the festival in 2019, she received an outpouring of support to continue the event. She developed a new programme and the inaugural Writers’ Weekend was launched in 2020.

The programme is full of talks on the craft of writing, each followed by time for Q and A.

This year there will be an opportunity to become part of a Writers’ Circle, with up to six people meeting once a week online to share and give feedback on each other’s work.

Attendees can also read at an open mic, attend a panel on developing women’s creativity with Kate Mosse or visit exhibitors in the virtual Expo.

The Writers’ Weekend also runs six writing competitions that are open to anyone, including a free competition for young writers aged 4 – 16.

Scholarships and bursaries are available for struggling writers, but deadlines are approaching.

For all details on the event and competitions, visit the website: Booking closes on June 20.