Sarah Waters, David Olusoga, Sarah Perry, Kate Mosse, Pat Barker, Carol Ann Duffy and Alan Johnson on the bill for the October event
The programme has been announced for the Durham Book Festival 2018, the North East’s largest literary event, which runs 5-14 October. The event is commissioned by Durham County Council and produced by New Writing North, with funding from Durham University and Arts Council England.
The festival features an array of talks, readings and performances, including an evening with Sarah Waters. Her Booker-shortlisted novel The Little Stranger is the Festival Big Read for 2018, with the festival distributing 3,000 free copies of the book to schools, libraries, prisons, businesses, and university staff and students across County Durham.
The announcement of the £5,000 Gordon Burn Prize, hosted by Mark Lawson, takes place on 11 October in Durham Town Hall, with this year’s shortlist featuring books by Nicola Barker, Jesse Ball, Guy Gunaratne, Olivia Laing, Deborah Levy and Michelle McNamara.
Booker Prize-winner and Durham resident Pat Barker features in this year’s fiction line-up, introducing her new novel The Silence of the Girls.
Politics and social issues remain a theme of the event. Highlights this year include the return of Chris Mullin as he examines the mishaps and blunders that have shaped the UK’s political landscape; broadcaster Cathy Newman talks about her new book on the unconventional women who have fought to change women’s place in society; and New Statesman editor Jason Cowley in conversation with Sky News political correspondent Lewis Goodall, on the forces driving the current age of unrest and upheaval.
Alan Johnson will be discussing the music that made him in In My Life: A Music Memoir, whilst Damian Le Bas appears at the festival to talk about his BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, The Stopping Places, his account of what it means to be a Gypsy in Britain today.
In poetry, Festival Laureate Jacob Polley introducing his new performance project, Lamanby, based on his TS Eliot prize-winning collection, Jackself. Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy will read from her new collection, Sincerity, and former Festival Laureate Andrew McMillan returns to produce a new podcast, Rich Seams, celebrating the best of new and emerging poetry in the North of England, and to read from his new collection, Playtime.
Claire Malcolm, chief executive of New Writing North, said: "We are really excited to announce another packed programme for Durham Book Festival, which really does have something for every reader. As a huge Sarah Waters fan, I’m especially looking forward to welcoming Sarah to Durham for this year’s Big Read. This year we’re also launching our Little Read, through which we are giving away free copies of the gorgeous picture book Izzy Gizmo to every primary school in County Durham, as well as through family activities at community centres, culminating in a special event at Gala Theatre. We hope lots of children take part in the Little Read in their schools and homes and discover the joy of spending time with a good book.”
Pictured: Srah Waters cr Charlie Hopkinson