The Winchester Books Festival, which took place from April 19 to 21, was a tremendous success this year, with 21 different events taking place between the three days. 

From criminology to architecture, the festival covered a greater than ever range of different topics in the numerous talks, and was delighted to receive commended authors such as Lauren Child, Frank Gardner, Liz Earle, and more.

And this year, the participation levels were impressively high - with crowds of people flocking to come listen to what the authors had to say about their books. 

The Winchester Books Festival was founded by Sophie Liardet, Sian Searles and Louisa Symington, who wanted to share their passion for reading with the rest of Winchester.

Given the rich history of the city when it comes to literature, with famous names such as Jane Austen and John Keats staying in Winchester for parts of their lives, the three friends felt it was important to rehabilitate the love for reading that is so deeply entwined with the city.

With the help of some incredible sponsors such as the University of Winchester, P&G Wells, the parish of St Peters and the Winchester Martyrs and more, the festival was able to supply a terrific representation of how passionate Winchester really is about reading. 

One excellent example of the success was MBE Liz Earle’s talk on her new book, “A Better Second half”, which is being released this week.

The talk took place in the Theatre Royal, and was an immense success, with the theatre almost completely filled to capacity.

Both Liz Earle and Rebecca Fletcher, the experienced freelance writer and resident host who interviewed her, were able to maintain a convivial yet witty and sharp ambiance, keeping every member of the audience on their toes throughout the talk.

The talk smoothly switched between different topics that Liz Earle goes over in her new book, such as food, biohacking and mental health.

Rebecca Fletcher, who also interviewed other notable figures in the Winchester books festival such as Frank Gardner, was pleased with the festival's result.

“It went really, really well,” she said, “There were a nice mix of books this year.” 

The Winchester Book Festival was an incredible opportunity to get involved in the community and expand the love of reading across the city. What’s not to expect from a city with literature running in its veins? 

  • This article was written by Saba Ghandi, from Peter Symonds College, as part of Newsquest's Young Reporter scheme.