Award-winning Wearside author Jessica Andrews to give talk as part of Sunderland Literature Festival

An award-winning author who says she was shaped by her Houghton upbringing is heading home for Sunderland’s annual literature festival.

Friday, 22nd July 2022, 4:52 pm

Jessica Andrews has just released her second novel, Milk Teeth, a story about a young woman who struggles against a toxic culture of body shame and questions if she’s worthy of love, as she travels between the North East of England, Paris and Barcelona, which has already gained critical praise.

It looks set to build on the success of debut novel Saltwater, which came out in 2019, a book for which she won the Portico Prize in 2020.

A former pupil of St Robert of Newminster in Washington, Jessica also writes for the Independent, BBC Radio 4, Guardian, Stylist and ELLE magazine, among others.

Jessica Andrews will be giving a talk at The Peacock

Jessica, who currently lives in Bristol and teaches creative writing at Roehampton University, willbe giving a talk at The Peacock in Keel Square on Monday, October 17 as part of the return of the literature festival.

It’s one in a number of events being staged at the historic pub, which has received major investment in recent years to improve its offering.

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As well as being a pub on the ground floor, the venue has an upstairs function room, used for everything from weddings and christenings to gigs and talks.

Jessica Andrews. Photo by Seth Ham

Meanwhile, the once disused attic rooms have been transformed into Birdland recording studios and learning space for the Northern Academy of Music Education, giving students hands on experience of the music industry.

Barry Hyde, who runs the pub with partner Cindy Godoy, said it was great to see the historic pub, which dates back to 1901, giving such a varied offering to the public.

"When the library got in touch with us about hosting this talk, we jumped at the chance as it’s a great way of showing what the room upstairs is capable of,” he explained.

"It’s a really flexible space and we’re working with external promoters who do a really hard job to stage events. The upstairs room is certainly building a following, particularly for punk gigs and private parties, and we’re getting around 10 enquiries a week for the room, which is fantastic.”

Jessica's latest release is out now

:: Jessica Andrews’ talk at The Peacock at 6.30pm on Monday, October 17 is free to attend but people are asked to register at EventBrite.

The Peacock, Sunderland.
The Peacock, Sunderland.