Alan Johnson: In My Life

Alan Johnson is one of the most  popular politicians of recent times and now a best-selling author, his memoirs selling over half a million copies.

Inspired by his latest book, In My Life, in this highly entertaining show Alan tells his personal story with the help of some of the music that has soundtracked his life, from growing up as an orphan in a West London slum in the 50s to becoming a postman before rising through the Labour Party ranks to hold several cabinet posts, including Home Secretary.

Alan’s new book In My Life and all his previous books will be on sale at the venue and you can meet him to have them signed and dedicated.

Portsmouth BookFest

Thursday 7th March 7pm-9pm Eldon Building, University of Portsmouth

Click To book then select Tickets and scroll down to Alan Johnson on March 7th or you can buy tickets at any Portsmouth City Library

Southampton Nuffield City Theatre 

Friday 15th March 7.30pm

Click To Book at the Nuffield City Southampton or call the BOX OFFICE on 023 8067 1771

Tracy Borman: The King’s Witch at The Spring Havant

 Fri 1 Feb at 7:30pm

This event was rescheduled from last October.  Book online at or call the Box Office on 02392 472700

Tracy Borman is an author and historian, most widely known for writing Elizabeth’s Women, a unique biography exploring the life of Elizabeth I. She has appeared on television and radio numerous times, has written for BBC History and is currently joint Chief Curator for Historic Royal Palaces.

Tracy’s debut novel The King’s Witch is the inspiration for her talk at The Spring. Tracy will take us into the turbulent world of the early Stuart court, where King James I waged a war on witches and Catholics alike. It was not long before a dark campaign to destroy both King and Parliament gathered pace, culminating in the Gunpowder Plot.

The heroine of the novel is Frances Gorges, daughter of one of Elizabeth 1′s favourite ladies-in-waiting. Interweaving fact and fiction, Tracy will tell Frances’ story, and in so doing will bring one of the most dramatic events in British history vividly to life.

We will have copies of her new novel and her highly respected biographies on sale at the event, including her latest Henry VIII and the men who made him : The secret history behind the Tudor throne. 

We will have copies of her new novel and her highly respected biographies on sale at the event, including her latest Henry VIII and the men who made him : The secret history behind the Tudor throne. 

Portsmouth MysteryFest- Saturday June 2nd – Central Library Portsmouth


Great Value – Whole Day Event 10.15 to 17.00. Up to 14 speakers. £15 all day ticket, includes a cream tea lunch.

Come along to a fun and informative day exploring crime fiction and fact with crime fiction authors, academics, and experts from the University of Portsmouth.

Your ticket includes:

1. Contemporary crime fiction panel with authors Judith Cranswick, Jeff Dowson, Christine Hammacott, Leigh Russell, Peter Tickler and Carol Westron

2. A talk on forensics by Paul Smith and Colin White (University of Portsmouth)

3. Four shorter talks:

  • Agatha Christie- Stranger than death – Gaynor Baker (University of Bath Spa)
  • Not much like the Gentle Touch! – Dot Marshall-Gent
  • Murder and moving car parks in Oxford – Peter Tickler
  • Writing a bestselling series – Leigh Russell

4. Mystery History Panel – The past is a foreign country with authors Barbara Nadel, Leigh Russell, William Shaw, Nicola Slade, Linda Stratmann and Carol Westron.

A Fun Crime Fiction Quiz with bestselling books for prizes. There will also be the chance to buy books and have them signed by the authors.

Tickets from any Portsmouth City Library or by calling The Hayling Island Bookshop on 02392 466 620

Cressida Cowell Launch Tour – Portsmouth Event

One of the most eagerly awaited children’s book of 2017, THE WIZARDS OF ONCE publishes in September, launching a brand new series by Cressida Cowell, author-illustrator of the 8-million-copy-selling How to Train Your Dragon series, which has inspired a generation of readers as well as a DreamWorks’ movie and TV franchise of the same name.

The Hayling Island Bookshop in conjunction with Portsmouth Grammar School are delighted to announce that they will run one of Cressida’ Launch Tour Events. The evening event will take place at the David Russell Theatre, Portsmouth Grammar School, High Street, Old Portsmouth on September 26th starting at 5pm. The new book is suitable for children aged 8-12.

Each £12.99 ticket entitles the attendee to one copy of the new book and hear Cressida talk about her new series. Cressida will hold a book signing after her Talk. Ticket holders will also receive a poster. A selection of Cressida’s other books will be available to purchase, with cash, at the event venue which will also be signed by her if time permits.

Book tickets by calling The Hayling Island Bookshop on 02392 466620, children must be accompanied by an adult at this event. There is no charge for the accompanying adult.


An Evening With – Isabel Ashdown

Local author, Isabel Ashdown, has four books to her name with another due out this spring. Her first novel Glasshopper (Observer Best Debuts of 2009, Evening Standard Best Books of the Year) was published in 2009. An extract from the novel won the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition and was described by judges Fay Weldon, Michael Ridpath and Sir John Mortimer as ‘magnificent’. Her second novel Hurry Up And Wait was published to critical acclaim in 2011 and was listed as one of Amazon Kindle’s Customer Favourites in 2011. Her third book, Summer of ’76 followed in 2013 and she will be talking about her most recent novel Flight which came out in May 2015.

Isabel will be supporting St Wilfrid’s DREAMBUILDING project with an evening of readings and ‘book chat’ from 7.30pm

At St John’s Church, Southbourne PO10 8LB

Tickets are just £5 each.

The Hayling Island Bookshop will be selling copies of Isabel’s books at the venue which can be signed by the author and they will also donate 15% of the profits to St Wilfrid’s

To book, please contact Event Organiser, Alison Tuck, on:

Multi-award-winning, international bestselling writer and artist Lauren Child will visit two schools in Portsmouth on Tuesday 15th November. She will visit Solent Infant School and Copnor Primary School to talk to Reception, Year 1 and 2 pupils in an event which has been organised by The Hayling Island Bookshop in partnership with Portsmouth School Library Service.

Her Charlie And Lola books are known and loved the world over and Lauren has also written the Clarice Bean series of picture books and novels and a new series for ages 6 to 12 featuring secret agent Ruby Redfort. Lauren is visiting Portsmouth to talk about her latest Charlie And Lola book One Thing, a picture book which introduces counting and numbers to younger readers.  After her talk Lauren will meet the children and sign and dedicate books.

Although you won’t be able to meet Lauren personally unless you are at the above schools, you can call the Hayling Island Bookshop and pre book copies of the new Charlie And Lola book One Thing or books in the Ruby Redfort series, which the Bookshop will arrange to have signed and dedicated by Lauren while she is with them in Portsmouth. Customers will be able to collect their signed books from the Bookshop. Call the Bookshop on 02392 466620 to pre book your copy and tell them how you would like Lauren to dedicate your copy.

Marie Telford, Owner of The Hayling Island Bookshop says “We have been trying to entice Lauren to visit the city for some time now and we are excited and delighted that she has a new Charlie And Lola book out and that she will be coming to tell us all about it!”

Portsmouth Festivities presents………BBC’s JIM AL-KHALILI

Michael Faraday and the Birth of the Electric Machines

Jim Al-Khalili has presented The Life Scientific on Radio 4 since 2011. Physicist, author, and broadcaster, he will give an electrifying talk on Michael Faraday’s 1832 paper on electromagnetic induction and its almost immediate effect in transforming our world. The talk will describe the key experiments Faraday carried out at the Royal Institution in London, and how he discovered that an electric current could be induced to flow through a conductor that experiences a changing magnetic field. His ideas would directly lead to the development of the electric dynamo and electric motor, two technological advances that are the very foundations of the modern world.

You can buy copies of his books after the Talk and meet Jim to have them signed. Books will include is latest Life on the Edge : The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology

Wednesday 22nd June 7.30 David Russell Theatre Portsmouth Grammar School

Click on the Portsmouth Festivities link on this web page to be taken to their website. Book tickets for all Festivities events there.


Cressida Cowell

We are delighted to be hosting Cressida Cowell who will visit two schools in Portsmouth on Friday May 20th to speak to over 800 pupils about her book How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury, the last instalment of her multimillion selling How to Train Your Dragon series. Cressida will visit Solent Junior and Court Lane Junior schools in events arranged by us with Portsmouth School Library Service.

Although you won’t be able to meet Cressida personally unless you are at the above schools, Hayling Island Bookshop Customers can call us and pre book copies of the last book How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury, which we will arrange to have signed and dedicated by Cressida while she is with us in Portsmouth. Customers will be able to collect their signed books from the Bookshop. While stocks last, they will be supplied with an special A3 poster and How To Train Your Dragon badge.

Call us on 02392 466620 to pre book your copy and tell us what dedication you would like from Cressida.

Meet Romantic Novelist Erica James

Bestselling author Erica James is speaking at Hayling Library on Wednesday 27th April at 7pm. She will be talking about her 20 year writing career, including her new book Song of the Skylark. Her books include  GARDENS OF DELIGHT, which won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, and her recent Sunday Times top ten bestsellers, SUMMER AT THE LAKE and THE DANDELION YEARS, She grew up on Hayling Island and now divides her time between Suffolk and Lake Como in Italy, where she strikes up conversation with unsuspecting Italians.

Books will be on sale after her talk for signing by Erica. Ticket holders will receive a discount off books bought on the night.

Tickets are available from the library, through the booking line on 023 9246 1534 or visit to guarantee a place.

Tickets for BookFest 2016 are on sale on line or via the Box Office on 02392 688 037.

There are a wide range of events including the first Black British short story anthology Closure , Neil Allen and former Pompey goalkeeper Alan Knight in Played Up Pompey, Eleanor Stewart follows up her popular first novel Kicking The Habit with her sequel New Habits, multi million best seller Adele Parks joins us again, there is afternoon tea with Lotte Moggach and there ever popular CSI Portsmouth returns with crime writers and Hampshire Police specialists discussing the facts and fiction of crime. The full programme is on the website and tickets on line can be booked at