Durham Book Festival

Durham University

Durham Book Festival promotional poster

We are once again looking forward to partnering the annual Durham Book Festival, set to take place from 13 – 16 October.

This year’s Festival includes bestselling writers, such as Alexander McCall Smith, and home-grown talent such as Fiona Hill, as well as leading thinkers discussing their work, alongside new films and commissions and Workshops to enjoy.

The Festival will take place at venues in the city centre including Gala Theatre and Clayport Library, with several events also being live-streamed. There will also be the announcement of the winner of this year’s prestigious Gordon Burn Prize.

Festival Laureate

Our long-term commitment to Durham Book Festival continues with our sponsorship of this year’s Festival Laureate, the award-winning poet and writer Hannah Lowe. Hannah’s latest collection ”The Kids”, inspired by her career as a teacher, won the Costa Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2021.

As part of her role as Festival Laureate, Hannah will read from her work, as well as presenting a newly commissioned poem at the festival. She will also take part in a special event for Durham University students.

Welcoming back Jeremy Vine

We are looking forward to welcoming back Durham Alumnus Jeremy Vine, who will talk about his love for the poet W.H. Auden and the County Durham landscapes that inspired him. Associate Professor, Dr Abbie Garrington will be chairing the event and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen O’Brien will be introducing Jeremy’s event, ‘How Durham made me fall in love with Auden’, taking place at the Gala Theatre on Saturday 15 October.

The New Great Britons, Durham Book Festival Commission

Twenty years after the BBC launched a campaign to find Great Britons, Durham Book Festival has commissioned us to research who might be the ‘New Great Britons’. Dr Natalie Mears (History) explores. Writers and academics will champion some northern, working-class figures whose stories rarely make it into the traditional register of ‘greatness’ and features videos from Prof Edith Hall (Classics and Ancient History), Prof Julie-Marie Strange (History), Dr Coreen McGuire (History) and Dr Sol Gamsu (Sociology).

Novelist, Dr Naomi Booth (English) and New Writing North and Durham University Translator in Residence, Ruth Clarke (Modern Languages And Cultures) will chair New Fiction and Translation Slam respectively.

The Mystery of the Vanishing Mayor

The book chosen for this year’s Big Read is The Mystery of the Vanishing Mayor, a brand new short story written specially for the Durham Book Festival by LJ Ross. Copies of the book will be distributed across County Durham and will be available to University students and staff.

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