Six Of The Best: Lucy Twigg and Megan Adams | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Turn Up for the Books is a Durham Book Festival project which enables 18-25-year-olds in County Durham to learn more about careers in arts and literature. Two of this year’s young programmers – Lucy Twigg and Megan Adams – have done a special pick of their most anticipated events, not to be missed by festival-goers in October…

1. Read Them Your Frights – FRIDAY 13 OCTOBER 8.15-9.45PM
This spooky edition of the monthly New Writing North event promises a night for writers of any level to listen to others and share their own work, open mic style. The night is hosted by Adam Sharp who will be reading from his new book The Wheel is Spinning but the Hamster is Dead and will feature three local readers. To cap it off, there will be a writing competition to come up with the best curse to get in the Halloween spirit. Events like these are wonderful to get inspired, connect with other writers and find support for your own new writing. 

2. Furies: Stories of the Wicked, Wild and Untamed – SATURDAY 14 OCTOBER 1:30-2:30PM.
Another highly anticipated event is the 50th anniversary of the revolutionary feminist publisher, Virago. Founded in 1973 by Dame Carmen Callil, Virago was inspired by and bolstered by the Women’s Liberation Movement to bring female writers to a wider audience and amplify their voices in a field that sought to silence them. Writers Kirsty Logan and Eleanor Crewes are invited to discuss this collection of feminist short stories. Their contributions are a part of fifteen other award-winning authors who have created original short stories that reclaim derogatory language that has been used against women for centuries. This collection includes everything from witty, satirical takes on the harmful language used against women, to heartbreaking tales and rousing accounts of those who have stood against this denigration. This event was programmed by us – the Turn Up for the Books team!

3. Durham University Festival Laureate: Zaffar Kunial – FRIDAY 13 OCTOBER 5:30-6:15PM.
Joining the festival’s impressive host of laureates, which in the past has included names such as Simon Armitage, Hannah Lowe and Fiona Benson, is award-winning poet Zaffar Kunial. To celebrate his most recent poetry collection, England’s Green, Zaffar will be reading from his past work as well as a newly commissioned piece inspired by the historic city of Durham, the home of the book festival. With Kunial’s poignant writing and creative take on his cultural heritage as an Anglo-Asian writer, this event should interest poetry lovers, as well as those interested in the history of county Durham. 

4. Femina, Cuthbert and the Female Saints with Janina Ramirez – SATURDAY 14 OCTOBER 5-6PM.
Oxford lecturer, BBC broadcaster, and Sunday Times bestselling author Janina Ramirez is invited to discuss her new book, Femina. Ramirez reveals the groundbreaking history of the medieval women who have been written out of history. Femina offers a fresh perspective that restores these women to their rightful position in the history of Durham, as well as exploring why their legacy was buried for so long. As a celebration for her book Femina and Myers’ Cuddy, Janina Ramirez will be exploring Durham’s religious past and giving a talk on the female saints who were St Cuthbert’s contemporaries. This is a great event for history buffs looking to broaden their knowledge on the hidden culture of Durham city, and as someone studying history and feminism in the North-East, I’m excited to hear from this fascinating discussion!

5. Jeanette Winterson: Night Side of the River – SATURDAY 14 OCTOBER 7-8PM.
International bestseller and literary icon, Jeanette Winterson, will introduce her new book. Night Side Of The River is an exciting collection of ghost stories based on the author’s experiences. Her ghost stories blend the occult with AI, gender fluidity and science for a collection that is truly for our modern times. This event is not only perfect for readers of occult stories and those who are getting ready for Halloween, but for anyone feeling haunted by memories and loss. This can be expected to be a deeply personal and intriguing read. Author of the critically acclaimed novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and bestselling memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? I’m expecting to be slightly awestruck by this inspiring author. 

6. Poetry Book Society Showcase: Mary Jean Chan, Kit Fan and Jen Campbell – SUNDAY 15 OCTOBER 3:30PM
Three exceptional poets – selected and introduced by the Poetry Book Society – will be reading their work. This is always a lovely event to attend – you can settle in, relax, and listen to some brilliant new poems being read by the writers who penned them. A must for poetry fans, or a great way to discover something new. 

And one extra mention… Finally, we would like to highlight a new project, directed by this year’s Turn Up for the Books team. This year, on top of our Furies event, we designed the Durham Book Festival Book Swap held on Saturday 14 October, 10am-5pm at Clayport Library. This is an excellent opportunity to refresh your bookshelf and donate a preloved book, rather than letting it gather dust. Our team of young people have put a lot of thought into this event and we’re so excited to be a part of it. We highly encourage anyone to bring a book along with them to share at the festival this year. This promises to be a perfect way to celebrate Durham’s reading community by letting someone else give new life to old books.

Organized by New Writing North, and supported by County Durham Community Foundation, Turn Up for the Books gives young people interested in creative careers the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the festival. Find out more about the scheme here.

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