Sunderland literature festival reveals diverse line-up

Bryan and Mary Talbot, who will take part in Sunderland Literature Festival.
Bryan and Mary Talbot, who will take part in Sunderland Literature Festival.
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Book the dates in your diary – Sunderland Literature Festival is making its return.

The celebration of words will be brought to life through material from the British Film Institute, with Wearside-raised former BBC foreign correspondent Kate Adie to share her reflections of growing up in the city as the feature makes its premier.

The screening will champion the finished piece, which has seen the North East Film Archive work alongside the library service to offer a glimpse of life in the city during the last 100 years.

A preview is already available via YouTube and shows a glimpse of Sunderland’s icons, from the Empire and old scenes of the Wearmouth Bridge to the launch of Nissan, bottles of Double Maxim beer rolling off the production line and that glorious FA Cup win.

The event, at Sunderland Minster on the evening of Friday, October 2, will launch the festival, which started out as Houghton Literature Festival and was developed by Sunderland libraries over a number of years.

Organisers say the festival will be the largest of its kind staged in Sunderland, with many of the events in the programme free.

The festival includes events staged at some unusual venues with some unusual activities to engage people who wouldn’t usually visit the library, but is also designed to re-engage those who do by getting them involved with other services such as tracing your ancestry and local studies.

Councillor John Kelly

It will bring together elements of established October events including Houghton Feast, Black History Month, National Poetry Day and the half-term library activity programme and builds open the city’s successful experience staging large-scale events during the National Children’s Book Festival.

It will feature local artists and authors with guests including Mark Blacklock, Bethan Roberts and Bryan and Mary Talbot, who will describe their work and careers along with workshops, drop-in sessions and talks on painting and poetry to crime writing, comedians and children’s books.

Sunderland City Council cabinet member for public health, wellness and culture, Councillor John Kelly, said: “This is our city’s annual celebration of the written word, and our library service teams are working with cultural partners including the University of Sunderland, North East Film Archives and Washington Arts Centre to provide people with a programme appealing to all tastes and interests.

“The festival includes events staged at some unusual venues with some unusual activities to engage people who wouldn’t usually visit the library, but is also designed to re-engage those who do by getting them involved with other services such as tracing your ancestry and local studies.

“There are many highlights with everyone from criminologists and crime writers to comedians and poets taking part, and I hope people will come along and support this fantastic event.”

Tickets for the launch event are £2, including refreshments, and can be bought from the local studies section of the City Library in Fawcett Street.

A rundown of the programme can be found via www.sunderland.gov.uk/literature-festival.

There is also the chance to find out more about becoming part of the local readers, writers, local history and community reminiscence projects via www.sunderland.gov.uk/libraries