Sunderland DJ Lauren Laverne among writers brought to book at Durham festival

Lauren Laverne, who will feature in this year's Durham Book Festival programme.
Lauren Laverne, who will feature in this year's Durham Book Festival programme.
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Sunderland broadcaster Lauren Laverne is among those booked up to appear at a celebration of literature which will mark the miners’ strike to the inside story on Wearside Jack.

This October’s Durham Book Festival programme has been revealed, championing a host of North-East talents as well as some of the country’s top writers.

Mary Portas, star of Mary Queen of Shops and other television shows which have looked at how businesses are run, who will discuss her book Shop Girl at Durham Book Festival.

Mary Portas, star of Mary Queen of Shops and other television shows which have looked at how businesses are run, who will discuss her book Shop Girl at Durham Book Festival.

Radio 6 DJ and journalist Lauren, reflecting on a visit to the Yves Saint Laurent Style show at the Bowes Museum, will head up a discussion on women’s relationship with fashion with editor Laura Craik.

Mark Blacklock will lead a talk on his book I’m Jack, based on the case of John Humble, who was living on Sunderland’s Ford Estate when he was arrested for a hoax he made while detectives hunted the Yorkshire Ripper, while the Honorary Recorder of Durham, Christopher Prince, will lead an inside look at its crown court.

Durham University’s former chancellor Bill Bryson will return to take a headline event on his book The Road to Little Dribbling, a follow up to Notes from a Small Island.

Photographer Keith Pattison, who captured scenes from the picket lines of miners’ strikes including those at Easington Colliery, will team up with author Richard Benson for a special commission which will help tell the story of what happened to those involved in the dispute in the 30 years since the industrial action.

We are delighted to announce this year’s Durham Book Festival programme, which may just be our strongest yet.

Claire Malcolm, New Writing North’s chief executive

Sunderland singer songwriter Martin Lonstaff, who performs as The Lake Poets, will run a workshop for 12 to 19-year-olds who want to try their own hand at putting down their own tracks as part of a summer school preceding the festival later this month and continuing with Saturday classes in September.

The festival will be launched today on Palace Green, where a life-size polar bear will entertain families, while book festival organisers distribute free copies of Northern Lights by award-winning author and festival visitor Philip Pullman as part of the Durham Big Read.

The programme itself, which will run from Tuesday, October 6, to Saturday, October 17, will be held across a host of venues including the Gala Theatre, Durham Town Hall, Palace Green Library and community centres across the county.

It will begin with a schools festival at Durham Johnston School, featuring books including Man on the Moon by Sunderland fan Simon Bartram, with his space tale turned into a new play for youngsters as part of the programme.

Bill Bryson, who will speak about his new book at Durham Book Festival.

Bill Bryson, who will speak about his new book at Durham Book Festival.

Claire Malcolm is chief executive of New Writing North, which has produced the programme for Durham County Council with support from the university and Arts Council England.

She said: “We are delighted to announce this year’s Durham Book Festival programme, which may just be our strongest yet.
From prominent writers and thinkers, to exciting new artists, we think there is a great balance of inspiring and entertaining events to suit all ages.
“There are many writers that I am personally excited about seeing in Durham, and I’m sure that our audiences will be too. It’s a quite a relief that we no longer have to keep the programme under wraps.”

n The full programme and booking opens at 10am today at www.durhambookfestival.com

Andy Miller, who will help people ditch their bad reading habits.

Andy Miller, who will help people ditch their bad reading habits.

Author Philip Pullman, who will talk about his writing career, with his work a majotr feature of the Durham Big Read celebration.

Author Philip Pullman, who will talk about his writing career, with his work a majotr feature of the Durham Big Read celebration.

Chris Mullin at a previous Durham Book Festival.

Chris Mullin at a previous Durham Book Festival.

Mark Blacklock, who has written I'm Jack based on the story of Sunderland's John Humble.

Mark Blacklock, who has written I'm Jack based on the story of Sunderland's John Humble.

Caroline Criado-Perez, who will discuss her work Do It Like A Woman as part of Durham Book Festival.

Caroline Criado-Perez, who will discuss her work Do It Like A Woman as part of Durham Book Festival.

Simon Bartram.

Simon Bartram.