The Book Festival Flavour

Whether reading or writing, now is the time to open a book…

Winter is drawing on and the city of Durham is settling in with blankets and hot chocolate in anticipation of much loved winter highlights such as Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas. However we’re not quite there yet, and some students and other Durhamites may be wondering what else there is coming up on the city calendar to soften the October chill. What people may not have realised is that one of the most exciting and prominent events of the Literature scene this year is happening right here in Durham, just a few short days from now!

Durham Book Festival justly advertises itself as “the North East’s biggest annual celebration of books” and this year will be taking place between the 13th and the 30th October. The 2012 programme features big names such as Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, with the World Premiere of her reinterpretation of the classic fairytale Rapunzel headlining the festival. On 19th October Duffy will read from her poetry collections with musical accompaniment, in celebration of the premiere, which is a must for any poetry enthusiast!

Other highlights include best-selling authors of the Crime genre such as Ian Rankin and PD James, who will be making an appearance on Tuesday 23rd October, and a look at some fantastic new historical fiction by highly acclaimed authors Pat Barker and Kate Mosse. The festival this year presents something for every reader with literature from a variety of genres, including popular children’s fiction such as Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon. If Cowell is a popular author with you or your family The Bubble even has a press ticket for this event available for one writer to write a 500 word preview or review of her event on Saturday 27th October. Press tickets are also available for an event on the 26th October featuring Lorna Goodison, and the launch of the new biannual poetry magazine Butcher’s Dog, the first edition of which was commissioned by Durham Book Festival itself. If you or someone you know might be interested in writing any of these pieces for us then please contact for more information – we’d love to hear from you!

In addition to the exciting opportunities Durham Book Festival presents to see and hear some well-known faces and household names talk about their works, it also offers a chance to get inside several of the most interesting venues that this diverse and historical city has to offer. Those attending events featuring Marian Partington or the poetry of Roger McGough can sit back and enjoy the experience surrounded by the architectural wonder of Durham’s spectacular Norman Cathedral. Highly acclaimed Chinese author Chun Sue will be talking about her experiences and works among the fine collections of Durham University’s Oriental Museum; some of the finest to be found in Britain. Furthermore, many of the Festival events take place in Durham Town Hall, which is a Grade II listed venue situated in the heart of Durham. Some such are those events featuring author Gillian Slovo and Festival Laureate Lorna Goodison. Budding new writers can even book a three day Arvon creative writing course taking place in Durham Castle, running from the 16th to the 18th November.

Some of you may have read The Bubble’s recent review of ‘Pig Iron’, a novel written by local author Benjamin Myers, and will be glad to hear that Durham Book Festival is also proud to showcase some local talent. An event on Friday 26th October in Durham Town Hall featuring local poets Pippa Little, John Clegg and Gareth Reeves is entitled and dedicated to ‘Northern Poetry’. This event is complemented by another event that same day, entitled ‘Are you local?’ which features authors Emily Cockayne, Peter Mortimer and Michael Smith discussing the theme of localism, its meaning and its consequences.

If you might be interested in attending any of the events mentioned, or any others on the 2012 programme which can be found online at, then look out for The Bubble’s upcoming previews of many of the events featured. But take care – tickets for popular events will sell out fast!

Upcoming events to watch out for:

October 13th, 1pm at Barnard Castle – Life in the Victorian Capital: Judith Flanders

October 13th, 3pm at Barnard Castle – Afternoon Tea with Persephone Books

October 19th, 1pm at Radisson Blu – Dangerous Dining with Val McDermid

October 19th, 6.30pm at The Gala Theatre – Carol Ann Duffy: An Evening with the Poet Laureate

October 20th, 12.30pm at Aykley Heads – Writing in War and Peace: The Diaries of Nella Last

October 20th, 6pm at the Gala Theatre – Anne Stevenson at 80

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