A WINCHESTER author has published a new book based on a city centre community cafe.

Alice Peterson's latest novel, The Saturday Place, was launched at an event organised by the Winchester Books Festival.

The book is based on First Bite, which operated in the city centre until 2021. 

Ms Peterson's book was written after she visited the cafe and interviewed volunteers and people who used it.

The launch event was held at Milner Hall, in St Peter Street, on Thursday, April 18. This was the second launch event organised by the Winchester Books Festival after local author Claire Fuller released The Memory of Animals last year. 

Hampshire Chronicle: The Saturday Place launch

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Ms Peterson said: “So, how did this book come to be? I was sitting at home, eating some cereal and watching the news and I saw a clip of the Goring Hotel in London opening its doors to people, some disadvantaged people, some homeless, giving them cooking classes. This really sparked something in me and I mentioned it to a local friend who sent me to Debbie Lockett's cafe in Winchester. It's called First Bite. So I went along and I just remember a sea of people all eating at tables, talking and laughing. I really enjoyed the atmosphere. 

Hampshire Chronicle: The Saturday Place cake

“I managed to pin down Debbie for a cup of coffee and she told me about why she started First Bite and what it meant to her and spoke very movingly about her volunteers. It just felt like a base for second chances for so many. I asked if I could come along and speak to people at the cafe and she said yes. 

“I remember walking home and feeling so excited about this wonderful idea. Everyone was so kind, they were very welcoming to me. I met some wonderful people with incredible stories. That was how the idea came about and I crafted the story around it.”

The Saturday Place is available at P&G Wells, in College Street, and online.