A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.”
Reading a book is akin to taking a dive into another person’s mind; it elevates our senses, refines our sensibilities and makes us more than we were before.
The Havant Literary Review is a celebration of everything that is wonderful about British literature, from the stone-cold classics that have defined movements, to the breaking talents that are re-shaping how the British language is being moulded today. Whilst the Havant Literary Festival, which is the namesake for this website, is unfortunately no longer running, this blog attempts to continue the spirit of that prestigious event through presenting reassessments of classic texts, interviews with writers and essays on the literary ideas that have shaped the written word over the centuries.
Check back regularly to keep up to date on the changes to this site, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with your own comments, essays and reviews.
Take your city break holiday to the next level by booking into a literary festival whilst you’re away.
There’s nothing quite like a literary festival to enliven the senses and widen your cultural horizons. Combining this experience with a city break can be a fantastic way of getting to know a different side to a place that you’re visiting, whilst also giving you the opportunity of meeting people from the local area who share the same interest as you. If you’re considering booking a trip to stay in a UK city this year, then why not take a look at our top picks of city-based literary festivals.
Edinburgh International Book Festival
Known the world over for its legendary Fringe Festival, it can be notoriously difficult to secure a room during this period of time, making the International Book Festival a great fall back option for those looking to explore this historic city and also get a dose of high culture. The festival takes place over the duration of three weeks and is considered to be one of the largest festivals of its kind in the world. Expect readings, signings and workshops for attendees of all ages, the full programme will be confirmed in June.
Bath Festival of Children’s Literature
Another historic town that deserves a visit is Bath, with its iconic ‘Bath stone’ buildings contributing to a classy ambience that is perfect for a weekend’s stay. The annual Festival of Children’s Literature is also the largest of it’s kind in the world and often hosts some of the best known children authors in the land. Young book lovers will be more than pleased the vast array of events that are tailored especially for them and feature classic characters, as well as the hottest new YA books.
Warwick Words History Festival
This historically rich city is the perfect place for a Historical Literary festival and is often attended by some of the most prominent writers in the field. Warwick is a quiet university city that makes for a romantic getaway for history lovers and Anglophiles alike, and during the festival it’s a hot spot for big names in history and historical fiction. Previous speakers include Alison Ward, Andy Kershaw and Tracey Thorn.
Liverpool Literary Festival
Run by the University of Liverpool, the Liverpool Literary Festival is only in its fourth year, but has still managed to attract some impressive names to previous incarnations including Tony Robinson, Val McDermid and Shami Chakrabarti. Liverpool is a wonderful city well worth a visit to any one who has not yet had the pleasure, offering equal parts raucous entertainment and historical diversions, including the striking St. George’s Hall, Walker Art Gallery and historic Royal Albert Docks.
Would rather stay in the countryside for your Literary Festival? We don’t blame you – check out our top picks for rural book festivals here.
One thing that nearly all bibliophiles have in common is an issue of space and organisation.
Although modern readers might keep all their favourite titles on digital record (organising them is a task for another article!), millions of readers around the world are still steadfastly dedicated to paper copies, and who can blame them! There’s nothing more satisfying to an avid reader than getting all their books in order, but a habit of picking up new books (and not letting go of old volumes) can lead to hoarding levels of untidiness.
If you feel like you’ve reached a point where you can no longer deal with the amount of books filling your home, then maybe the time has come to either get some professional help or roll up your sleeves and get down some organising!
Hire A Professional Organiser
Should you be blessed with the financial capability, whilst also being short on time, then you could consider hiring a professional organiser from You Need A Vicky to come to your home and help you make sense of your collection. Decluttering a home of hundreds (or even thousands) of books can take some time, so you should be clear on the hourly rate that your helper will charge. If possible, ask for quote beforehand, so that you know roughly how much you might have to pay once the work has been completed.
Do It Yourself
If like most people, you simply don’t have the cash for getting a professional organiser in, then you’ll need to gee yourself up and get to it yourself. Clear a weekend or two, so that you have plenty of free time and read our tips to put yourself in the best position.
The first thing you’ll want to do is take stock of your entire collection and figure out what books you want to keep on your shelves, and which you might feel are better to get rid of. You should know instinctively which books ‘spark joy’, as Marie Kondo would put it and which volumes are ready to find a new home.
Find A Home For Unwanted Volumes
Once you’ve sorted the wheat from the chaff you can kick off the process proper by sending off any unwanted books to new homes, whether that’s as library donations, gifts, eBay auctions or wholesalers. Getting a chunk of your collection organised in this way is a great motivator and should push you to properly organise the books that you’re planning on keeping.
Organise In Your Own Way
Now that you’ve got yourself in a good position to start organising you’ll want to consider how you want to sort your books. Organising a collection should involve the implementation of some kind of system so that you’ll be able to find each book in your collection with ease, rather than spending hours trawling through your bookcases.
Libraries have been using this simple, effective system for centuries as an intuitive way of keeping books in order and making them universally accessible for any English-language speaker. Use the ‘Sort’ functionality on a spreadsheet software to quickly alphabetise your collection with the least fuss.
In Order Of Acquisition
This is a much more personal way of organising a book collection and will require some real mental gymnastics, especially if you’re dealing with a large collection of books. Again, a spreadsheet may come in useful here as it will allow you to quickly visualise your entire collection and assign them each a timestamp according to when you acquired them. Sort by Descending (or Ascending) to finish the job.
By Date Of Publication
This is a fun way of organising your collection which is best suited to those with eclectic collections that span decades, or even centuries. A quick fix of finding the date of publication for each volume, without going through the hassle of opening each one, is to simply enter each item into Wikipedia, which should contain the relevant information required.
If you properly prepare, organising your book collection can be a rewarding, satisfying experience that will leave you with a feeling of greater control over your belongings. Best of luck!
Whilst it could be argued that the most prized literary works in the English language originate from our sceptred isle (as a certain English wordsmith once put it), modern history has given rise to some truly significant writers from the land of the brave and free.
Although the origins of the novel can certainly be traced back to English writers such as Daniel Defoe and John Bunyan, it wasn’t long until American writers such as Thomas Attwood Digges and William Hill Brown followed suit with celebrated works of their own. These early American works were quickly surpassed in popularity by the writing of Susanna Rowson and Harriet Beecher Stowe. These writers led the way for modern writers from all social classes and backgrounds to engage with the written word, paving the way for eminent writers such as Edgar Allen Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, amongst others, to carve out an American style which is continued and celebrated today in a huge variety of literary festivals in the States.
Fall for the Book
Based in George Mason University, Virginia, Fall for the Book is a completely independent non-profit book festival that serves as the flagship event for the year, held in October each year. Readers are connected with hundreds of authors each year, with the Fall for the Book acting as the focal point for the year’s festivities. Authors at this year’s event include book club picks David Grann, Rainbow Rowell and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Kansas Book Festival
Taking place this year in (you guessed it!) Kansas, this book festival is solely focused on providing fans of fiction the opportunity to learn more about their favourite books and authors. It’s origins begin with First Lady Mary Brownback back in 2011, the first event of which hosted 900 attendees and 30 authors, including David Eisenhower, Chester Nez, Alexandra Robbins and Frank White. Since its inception, the Festival has made thousands of dollars of grants available to schools in the State, spreading the written word more with every passing year.
Savannah Book Festival
Now in its 12th year, the Savannah Book Festival is peculiar in that it is completely free to all attendees, meaning that people from all walks of life and experience the curated series of solo author presentations, readings and workshops. From its humble beginnings at the Trinity United Methodist Church in 2008, the Festival has grown to become one of the major literary events in Georgia with over 40 authors (local, regional and national) appearing at over seven venues around downtown Savannah.
Boston Book Festival
If you’ve not had the opportunity to visit Boston yet, then their annual Book Festival might be just the thing to get you there. In addition to a full roster of year-round events, the flagship event is one of the largest of its kinds in the states and offers readers the opportunity to meet some of the biggest literary names in the country. This year’s event sees Erin Entrada Kelly, Elizabeth Strout, Samantha Power and Reginald Dwayne Betts, amongst others, take to the stage to present their works, discuss their influences and share their experiences.
Would you rather visit a literary festival in the UK? Check out our top picks for Literary Festivals in the Countryside and in the City!