Winchester Out Loud

To celebrate the National Year of Reading, Winchester City Council’s Cultural Services Division has co-ordinated an exciting collection of literary treats for all ages; encouraging everyone to experience the written word in innovative ways.  Through an inspiring series of events, Winchester Out Loud will take literature beyond the confines of print; showcasing it through art, toasting it with wine, and even skating to it!

The National Year of Reading dedicates each month of 2008 to a particular aspect of reading. October’s focus is 'reading out loud', hence the title of this Winchester festival. The celebration shines a spotlight on writing and language through story telling, author talks and the local launch of a high-profile, nationally released book.

Links with Halloween have not been overlooked either, as the event launches on 31 October. Children will have the chance to devise their own beastly poetry at a Grimm and Grotty workshop, linked to the Discovery Centre’s exhibition of David Hockney’s illustrative interpretations of the Grimms’ well-known fairy tales.

Meanwhile, Fright Night offers adults a spine-tingling evening of supernatural anticipation: firstly by taking a spooky guided tour around Winchester’s darkest ghostly streets then heading on to the Theatre Royal Winchester to hear the very first reading of a brand new ghost story for the city.

If that all sounds too much, then why not drop in to the Discovery Centre on 3 November to find out why everyone is getting positively 'squippy' about the English Project’s first book, Kitchen Table Lingo. Alternatively, try a rather unusual wine-tasting at the Slug and Lettuce on 6 November, when wines from around the world are being offered alongside readings from the same countries.

Winchester Out Loud’s highlight will be the Wessex Children’s Book Festival that runs from 24 to 30 November and gives children and parents the rare opportunity to meet their favourite authors.  The line-up includes Charlie Higson, Titania Woods and Malorie Blackman, who will be signing their books at Winchester Guildhall on 29 and 30 November.

Winchester City Council's Portfolio Holder for Heritage, Culture and Sport, Cllr Patricia Stallard, said:

"As we approach winter, it seems the perfect time to settle down with a book for a good read.  But Winchester Out Loud reminds us that reading is a source of inspiration, providing opportunities for some wonderful social occasions and some quite unexpected physical activities.  We have been delighted by the way that our partners have seized the 'out loud' concept to liven up the often drab month of November for the benefit of local people."

Accessing the details of these and all the other events that make up Winchester Out Loud, couldn’t be easier – simply go to the dedicated website at More information on the National Year of Reading is available at