Durham Book Festival 2014: A preview

This year’s festival will run 6–20 October

With the opening of the Durham Book Festival today, here at the literature section we decided to take a look at the line up for the next few weeks. The programme boasts over 70 writers, with a variety of big names, up-and-coming writers and poets, and some of our very own Durham lecturers! To quote the organisers themselves, ‘from politics to poetry, and fiction to feminism, there’s something for everyone at this year’s festival.’

The festival kicks off today with Daljit Nagra discussing his retelling of the Ramayana, at Durham Johnston Comprehensive School. This is the start of a series of events at the school – encouraging a younger audience to get involved – which also features Carnegie Medal-winning author Meg Rosoff introducing her new novel Picture Me Gone.

The weekend of the 11th and 12th of October is jam-packed with big names, with the likes of Carolyn Jess-Cooke, Debbie Taylor, and journalist and presenter Kirsty Wark, who will be discussing her debut novel The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle. This weekend also features Durham University’s own Lauren Owen, who will be appearing alongside Dan Vyleta, at an event hosted by the new Head of English, Professor Simon James. Linda France will be returning to the festival to showcase her work; the botanicals project was a commission from the 2012 Durham Book Festival. The weekend also features Suzannah Dunn, Natalie Haynes, and Linda Grant amongst others.

Whilst many of the events take the form of lectures and talks, in venues such as Durham Town Hall, and Palace Green Library, some take a slightly different format. Poet Tony Williams will discuss the influence which walking has had on poets across the ages, whilst walking around Durham itself. A family orientated event, The Wind in the Willows at Brook House Farm, encourages children to dress up, and attend to hear readings from the book. Similarly, fans of The Railway Children have the chance to see the locomotive from the 1970 film of E. Nesbit’s book, as well as to hear readings.

Poetry will also play a large part in this year’s festival, which features both up-and-coming poets, and more established names. This year’s Festival Laureate, Paul Farley, is a multi-award-winning poet, author and broadcaster, and a professor of poetry at Lancaster University. His role is to write a new poem especially for the festival, which will be read for the first time. The Faber New Poets event showcases talents of the next generation of poets, including Rachael Allen, Will Burns, Zaffar Kunial and Declan Ryan. Another event to watch out for is Kate Tempest, who will be performing her brand new collection, ‘Hold Your Own’. According to the DBF website, as a vastly popular and accomplished performance poet, Kate commands a huge and dedicated following on the performance and rap circuit. The festival will be closed in international style, with performances from Serbian poet Ivana Milankov, and Cuban poet Víctor Rodríguez Núñez.

There truly are events for all ages, and we would recommend attending anything you can. The Bubble has interviewed several of the poets and writers, and will be covering various events across the festival – so check back here to find out more. We are primarily covering literature events, but there are a whole host of historical and political events on offer as well. If you are interested in booking tickets for any of the events, or in finding out any more information, the website is: http://durhambookfestival.com. Further, if you or someone you know might be interested in writing for us, please contact literature@thebubble.org.uk for more information! We would love to hear from you.

A word to the wise: try and book ahead. Even with approximately 70 events scheduled for this year’s festival, tickets to popular events will sell out fast – and some already have!

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