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The national treasure that is Durham Book Festival is set to make its vibrant annual return from Saturday 5th-Sunday 13th October. Established proudly as one of the country’s oldest literary festivals, every year Durham Book Festival sparks a colourful conversation on literature with its inspiring, informative and engaging programme.

This year’s programme is a real page-turner, as highly anticipated contemporary fiction, experimental poetry, stellar romance novels, intricate thrillers and pressing and often-political non-fiction is topped with an abundance of international authors.

Some of the best international influence comes from Dutch author Herman Koch, renowned German writer Dagmar Leupold, and Bart van Es, credited for Costa Book of the Year The Cut-Out Girl (both Sunday 13th, Town Hall). Closer to home, big hitters like Kirsty Wark (Gala), Carrie Gracie (Town Hall) and Jeremy Vine (Cathedral, all Friday 12th) and Alexander McCall Smith (Wednesday 9th, Gala) return with their highly anticipated new releases. Colm Tóibín, author of the esteemed Brooklyn will be an undoubted highlight on Saturday 13th (Gala); and David Nicholls, author of cult favourite One Day and Starter For Ten, unveils his new work, Sweet Sorrow (Tuesday 8th, Gala).

Durham Book Festival sparks a colourful conversation on literature with its inspiring, informative and engaging programme

If that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, an abundance of titles from fictional royalty fill the programme, including a new collection by Louis de Bernieres (Saturday 12th, Gala) who also pops up at Old Cinema Launderette for a special musical performance on Thursday 10th. Louise Doughty launches another complex thriller (Saturday 5th, Palace Green); Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime talks about his book, The Porpoise (Wednesday 9th, Gala) and Joanne Harris unveils The Strawberry Thief (Sunday 13th, Town Hall).

On a poetic and theatrical angle, the Common People collection of poems, essays and memoirs explores the depth and texture of working-class life with Kit de Waal among others (Sunday 6th, Redhills); local poets Phoebe Power and Katrina Porteous unveil the results of a writing residency exploring the Durham coastline (Saturday 12th, St Chad’s College Chapel); Jake Jarratt’s acclaimed exploration of masculinity, Blokes, Fellas, Geezers, comes to the Gala (Saturday 5th); and Gateshead writer Sarah Watson’s play, Zones, seeks to understand homelessness, trauma and addiction (Gala, Sunday 6th).

Alongside the more traditional literary proceedings, an investigative and eclectic programme of music-inspired events are also of note. City Theatre greets the live premiere of the bold and enchanting Mad Martins, The Story of the Martin Brothers (Saturday 5th); while Durham Miners Hall hosts musician, author and political activist Dave Randall as he explores the revolution of contemporary culture – poetic and political – delving into the relationship between music and social change (Sunday 6th). Music inspired by Durham’s own Benjamin Myers and his novel The Gallows Pole is performed by The Shining Levels at Old Cinema Launderette (Friday 11th); Claypath Deli welcomes DJ, author and music promoter Garth Cartwright as he shares his thoughts on the rise and fall of the UK’s record trade (Saturday 12th); while on Sunday 13th, City Theatre hosts professor of American literature Will Kaufman who airs his recent live documentary about Woodie Guthrie, exploring Trump’s America and Guthrie’s anguish with racism.

This is just the tip of the literary iceberg, check the DBF website for more.

Durham Book Festival takes place at various venues from Saturday 5th-Sunday 13th October

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