OXFORD’s dreaming spires are famous for inspiring generations of writers and the city is a Mecca for lovers of the written word.

But while followers of the more mainstream forms of writing gathered for the Oxford Literary Festival, it was also the time for alternative writers to shine.

Not the Oxford Literary Festival was held for the third time this year, featuring a range of writers, poets and publishers. It finished with an all-night session at the Albion Beatnik Bookstore, Walton Street, last night.

In the run-up to the event, writers from all over the world were invited to contribute poems, which were then posted up around Oxford in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Organiser and writer Dan Holloway said: “It has been extraordinary, we were spilling out onto the street which was great.

“We don’t want to become too established because that defeats the point, but it seems it will certainly keep going and keep growing.”

Writers came from Brighton, Southampton, Manchester, Bristol and London to share their work with some of the alternative literary scene’s brightest local talents.

The emphasis was on types of writing which don’t normally hit the bestseller racks – performance poetry and short fiction, a novel performed in full in words and music, and talks on the emerging world of self-publishing.

Established author Orna Ross, a successful mainstream writer, chose the festival to launch her new endeavour, the Alliance for Independent Authors.

And other insights into alternative publishing came from Philistine Press, which publishes works of contemporary poetry and prose for free, bestselling children’s and young adult author Dennis Hamley, who now self-publishes his work digitally and is part of the Authors Electric group, and Michele and Andy Brenton from independent publisher Endaxi.

Kirsty Clark’s new book Going Back was also launched at the event, from digital publishers Night Publishing.

Other performers included Not the Booker Prize winner Michael Stewart, flash fiction writer Tania Hershman and Davy Mac, award-winning poet and author of The Homeless Oratorio.

Mr Holloway said: “We do get people who are in Oxford for the literary festival who then come to us.

“It’s nice because it’s a completely different event – it’s not a competition. It’s really fun.”

The festival also celebrated music and film, with all events taking place in the tiny Albion Beatnik Bookstore – capacity around 60.