WINCHESTER'S second books festival held its official launch at the university's West Downs Centre recently. 

The event, on Thursday, March 7, was attended by authors, event sponsors and more. 

The books festival, held from April 19-21, will have more events than last year and a children's books festival. 

One of the event's sponsors is Bombay Sapphire with a special cocktail, The Page Turner, enjoyed by attendees.

Professor Sarah Greer, vice-chancellor of the University of Winchester, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be the main sponsor of the festival. There can't be a better kind of festival for a university to sponsor than a festival that really celebrates books and the written word. In our view, this festival speaks to some of our deepest values. We have a fundamental belief that learning should be lifelong and that it should be accessible for everybody. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Winchester Books Festival launch

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“The books festival is a fantastic contribution to the cultural life of the city. It showcases the city as a wonderful place to live and work. It also brings a benefit to our students. Last year students from a whole variety of courses music, film production, music and sound production and event management really helped with the festival. It gives them that opportunity for real world work experience.”

Festival co-founder Sophie Liardet said: “Creating the Winchester Books Festival in four months last year was a white-knuckle ride for Sian and I. We were really not sure if we would do it again. However, the amazing feedback we've had from the people who attended meant we decided to do it again this year. 

“Creating this year's festival has been easier as we learned lessons from last year and we've had the luxury of starting earlier, but it continues to be a rollercoaster ride with plenty of thrills, but that is the nature of book event organising. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Winchester Books Festival launch

“We want the books festival to offer something for everyone, so this year we have expanded, not by days but by content. We are launching a children's books festival to run alongside the main festival. This is in addition to our core festival events, an eclectic range of wonderful authors and their books and a day dedicated to crime writing.”

Co-founder Sian Searles said: “We are ambitious in our author offering, in creating something special for Winchester and we are ambitious about connecting people through books. We want to make sure everybody knows about this festival. We absolutely love working with young people and using their creative talents to help deliver our vision.”

For the full list of events and more information, visit