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

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Image: Mark Watson by Patrick Balls

While the future of camping festivals hangs in the balance, Hexham is flying the flag with one of the very first in-person festivals taking place this year, following the cancellation of their 2020 event, but you won’t find any raucous music or moshing here…

From Friday 2nd–Sunday 11th July, the Hexham Abbey grounds and new, temporary spaces in Sele Park will be home to authors and audiences (albeit with restricted numbers) from across the literary sphere, along with a host of activities for families and children.

Of particular note amongst a line-up brimming with talent is Guardian restaurant critic Grace Dent who shares tales of her childhood dinner table in Carlisle, chronicling her life, loves and losses though food in a sold-out show, following the success of her recently published memoir, Hungry. Later in the evening, much loved poet Hollie McNish will take to the Spiegeltent to dig deeper into the human condition and all its complexities with wit, honesty, and emotion (Sunday 4th).

Other highlights include Lib Dem Councillor for Tower Hamlets, Rubina Khan, challenging misconceptions and outdated views about British Muslim women, inspired in part by an interaction in which a male mayoral candidate asked what colour her hair was under her veil (Saturday 3rd). Also exploring privilege, values and the complexity of British society is Hashi Mohamed, who examines his findings on social mobility in People like Us (Sunday 4th).

Comedy fans will be pleased to see Mark Watson closing the festival on Sunday 11th, although folks familiar only with his stand-up, might be in for a surprise. Here he celebrates his sixth novel, Contacts, a funny but moving tale of loneliness, desperation, and the importance of communication.

Other big names include Tez Ilyas, Dan Jackson, Jonathan Dimbleby, Paul Mason, Sir Oliver Letwin, Mike Berners-Lee, Jung Chang, Lisa Jewell, Loyd Grossman and Kevin Maxwell. Accompanied for the first time by a full children’s programme, the festival is a proper family favourite, so nab tickets while you still can.

Hexham Book Festival takes place from Friday 2nd-Sunday 11th July

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