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

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This year’s Hexham Book Festival, running from Monday 20th April until Monday 4th May, is chock-a-block with anniversaries. Not only is it 10 years since the Festival began as a modest one-day affair, it’s also 800 years since the signing of Magna Carta – very probably the nation’s most influential book. BBC history boffin David Starkey’s discussion on it is one of many highlights to the programme.

Also familiar from our tellyboxes, Andrew Graham-Dixon (presenter of the BBC’s Culture Show) and Springwatch presenter Martin Hughes-Games, will be presenting talks about revolutionary Italian artists and revolting animals, respectively. Broadcaster Andy Kershaw, an expert in world music, will be whittling down 10 of the very best musical moments from his long radio career – expect candid stories aplenty.

There’ll also be loads of writers who we only know the old-fashioned way – through their written word. Cue talks with poet Simon Armitage, leading cartoonist and political satirist Martin Rowson and Virginia Ironside, agony-aunt for The Independent and author of the fictitious rebellious granny, Marie Sharp novels. Aspiring journos and non-fiction writers will also have plenty to write home about: Sarah Helem will be lifting the lid on Ravensbruck, a little-known children-only concentration camp during WWII, and Mona Siqqiduki will discuss what it is to be a western Muslim woman in an age of religious polarisation.

As ever, there will be special events featuring debut authors who have recently hit the big time; this year six first-timers will be holding workshops and sharing their journeys from earliest writing attempt through to publication – a must for any budding wordsmith in the region.

Over the years, Hexham Book Festival has become a landmark in the region’s calendar – audiences have grown year-on-year, with over 6,000 people having attended last year’s events alone. The writers we’ve mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg, so check out the Festival’s website for individual times and further event details. Here’s to another decade of book-based brilliance!

Hexham Book Festival takes place in various venues across Hexham from Monday 20th April until Monday 4th May.

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