WORDS WEEKEND REVIEW: David Olusoga & Dan Jackson @ Sage Gateshead (07.12.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: David Olusoga

The Saturday installment of Words Weekend opened with aplomb as author Dan Jackson sat down with historian David Olusoga to talk about his acclaimed book, The Northumbrians. What unfolded was a fascinating reminder of what makes us, us.

Jackson’s enthusiasm for the region shines through his storytelling. It was as much a pleasure to hear about his nerdy collection of military cap badges as it was to learn about the heroic miners who dug beneath the North Sea. Olusoga was the perfect host. His voice as soothing and rich as cough syrup contrasting beautifully against Jackson’s dulcet Geordie tones. His questions, the right mix of probing and prescience, gave Jackson the space and time to unfurl his history in all its details. 

And what a history. From Bede to Gertrude Bell, the North East has a rich story, shaped by scholarly brilliance, seven centuries of border conflict and industrial ingenuity. These achievements, Jackson argues, and the hardships through which they have been won, have encouraged us to “huddle close to one another” and create a solidarity that defines Northumbria.

Both Jackson and Olusoga are filled with warmth for the North, full of fond recollections and knowing in-jokes, but neither are blind to its faults either. This balance ensured their discussion never descended into misty-eyed sentimentality or caricature, making the stories they told all the more precious.  


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