Award-winning children’s author Kieran Larwood will be reading from his work at the first Freshwater Book Fair

The rich literary tradition of the West Wight’s largest village is to be celebrated in a new event taking place on the first full weekend in September.

Freshwater Parish Council, which has taken over the freehold of the village’s library from the Isle of Wight Council, is hosting a book fair which will include live readings, a book sale, a publishing workshop for both established and aspiring authors and a themed film night.

Since Robert Hooke published ‘Micrographia’ in 1665, authors connected with Freshwater have included Alfred Tennyson, Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, William Allingham, George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf and Lynne Truss. The West Wight is home to many authors and aspiring writers today, who frequently cite the area as an inspiration for their work, or simply as a great place to live and write.

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On the evening of Friday 6th September, the Friends of Freshwater Library will be showing the film ‘The Bookshop’, starring Emily Mortimer and Bill Nighy. The library doors in School Green Road will open at 19:00 for the film starting at 19:30. Tickets will be £3 on the door, or available 2 weeks in advance from the website.

The book fair will see the launch of a new ‘Write Club’ for authors at Freshwater Library, with an inaugural workshop from 10:00 to 12 noon on Saturday 7th September. Entitled “How to get published”, this workshop is aimed at both new authors, and those experienced writers and publishers looking for better ways to produce and sell their books. The workshop is free of charge for participants, but places are limited to twelve and must be booked in advance by phoning library supervisor Anna Britton on 01983 752 377.

A book sale will open at the Freshwater Memorial Hall in Avenue Road at 12 noon for sellers and 13:00 for buyers, ending at 17:30. All sellers are welcome, from professional dealers, to local publishers and charities, to book lovers and parents in need of a de-clutter. The cost to sellers is £5 per table, with advance booking recommended via independent bookseller Gail Middleton on 07973212723. Folding tables will be provided if required.

There will also be author readings at The Freshwater Coffee House in School Green Road on the 7th September. From 14:00, award-winning children’s author Kieran Larwood will read for children eight years old and up, while author and illustrator Jules Marriner will read from her books for children aged 3 to 8 years.

In the evening, from 19:00, author and screenwriter Felicity Fair Thompson and guests will present their work for adult readers. Authors, both published and unpublished, who wish to read at the evening event should contact Stefan Powell on 01983 754 095 to reserve a place. Baristas will be on hand to serve speciality coffee, tea and light refreshments.

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Parish Councillor Daniel James comments:

“If the first Freshwater Book Fair proves popular with local residents, Island authors and the book trade, it could become an annual event. Our aim is to provide a low-cost, accessible event that promotes both local writers and our amazing public library, offering something for people of all ages.”

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