THE Island’s first dedicated LGBTQ Literary Festival takes place from Friday to Sunday.

The festival, at Bar 74 in Union Street, Ryde, is a free event that focuses on books and authors with an LGBTQ connection.

Donations to the Island’s Age UK LGBTQ hate crimes and domestic violence project are welcome.

The event follows a successful first year for the LGBTQ Book Group which meets at Bar 74. There will be the opportunity to find out more about Out On An Island, a National Lottery Heritage funded project run by Caroline Diamond and Franko Figueiredo and supported by StoneCrabs Arts and Theatre Charity.

Books with LGBTQ authors or characters and copies of Diva magazine will be available for a donation.

The weekend's activities start at 6pm on Friday with Donna Jones and Joan Ellis — collectively known at Them 2 — supplying anecdotes aimed at stirring the full spectrum of emotions in their audience.

The following day will see educator and parent, Caspa Thomas, running a meet-up for LGBTQ parents and those thinking of starting a family.

Caspa said: ‘‘This is an opportunity to meet other LGBTQ mums and dads and to browse through some of the latest books on diversity and inclusion.

"My generation was told that LGBTQ families were ‘pretend families’ — thankfully much of society is more enlightened now.

"Families come in all shapes and sizes and every family deserves recognition and respect. If yours is a rainbow family we’d love to meet you.’’

The rest of the weekend schedule will include a variety of speakers, such as Anna Murray of Age UK, author and musician Alison Child, and writers Elaine Chambers and David Young.

In addition, there will be an American supper style lunch from 12.30pm on Sunday, with visitors encouraged to bring food to share.

For more information, contact