NEWS: Hexham Book Festival | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Wilko Johnson by David Burke

Calling all bookworms and literary fiends! The annual Hexham Book Festival returns from Friday 22nd April until Wednesday 4th May with a serious celebration of literature. Running at venues across the Northumberland town, you can expect an array of unique and exciting events to attend, including author’s talks, writing workshops and film screenings. In addition, this year the festival has teamed up with Arts and Heritage to present new project, The Mansio, which is a specially designed travelling space where commissioned pieces of work by contemporary poets and authors will be staged as the venue tours various locations along Hadrian’s Wall, from April to September. Keep your eyes peeled!

The highlights are many and varied, and include comedian and writer Susan Calman, who delves into the conflict of working in comedy whilst suffering from depression, in her unique wry style (Queen’s Hall, Saturday 30th April). BBC Radio 4 broadcaster Reverend Richard Coles will present his autobiography telling of his unusual journey to the pulpit via sex, drugs and rock and roll, including an inauspicious start as one half of pop duo The Communards (Queen’s Hall, Tuesday 26th April). Ab Fab fans will enjoy Helen Lederer’s Losing It, in which she ask if women of a certain age can really have it all (Queen’s Hall, Saturday 23rd April); while fashionista and Queen of Shops Mary Portas recalls her past growing up as a teenager in the 1970’s, followed by an exclusive screening of Coco Before Chanel (Forum Cinema, Wednesday 4th May). Poetry gets a look-in too, with local talent Katrina Porteous reflecting on Border ballads and Northumbrian storytelling (Queen’s Hall, Wednesday 27th April); while contemporary pop-poet Hollie McNish offers free-style wordplay and verbal fireworks at Queen’s Hall on Saturday 30th April.

Throughout the festival there’s the chance to hear from a whole bunch of inspiring novelists, including Joanne Harris (Hexham Abbey, Tuesday 3rd May), Louis de Bernieres, Andrew Hurley, and Max Porter (all Queen’s Hall, Saturday 23rd April), Marina Lewycka (Queen’s Hall, Sunday 24th April).

In addition to the wealth of wonders on offer during the festival proper, a special one-off event on Wednesday 25th May at Queen’s Hall will see Blockheads singer, music legend and Game Of Thrones actor Wilko Johnson talk of his eventful life in music.

Hexham Book Festival takes place across various venues from Friday 22nd April until Wednesday 4th May.

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