Book a place in festival's audience as Durham event launches 2016 programme

Leading writers, artists and thinkers will aim to inspire audiences as a celebration of literature makes its return.

Wednesday, 10th August 2016, 9:05 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th August 2016, 11:29 am
Writer and broadcaster David Baddiel, who will appear at this year's Durham Book Festival.

Durham Book Festival will welcome names including Anthony Horowitz, David Baddiel, Kathryn Williams, Juno Dawson, Michael Morpurgo and Pat Barker as headliners to this year’s events.

The full programme has been published and tickets are now on sale for the talks, which run from Friday, October 7, until Sunday, October 16.

Labour politician Alan Johnson.

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The programme will feature the family theatre production, Hey Presto!, adapted from the picture book by Nadia Shireen, which will tour 19 libraries and community centres across the county.

The festival is commissioned by Durham County Council and produced by New Writing North, with funding from Durham University and Arts Council England.

Highlights will include Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism project, on her book, Girl Up, while Lynsey Hanley and Mike Savage explore social class in the 21st century.

Owen Jones reveals his ideas on how to build societies run in the interests of working people, and Sebastian Barry uncovers some of the stories of refugees to Britain.

Michael Morpurgo, who will appear alongside Pat Barker at Durham Book Festival 2016.

And Nikesh Shukla gathers the work of exciting new British, black, Asian and minority ethnic voices in his crowd-funded collection, The Good Immigrant.

Memoirs will also feature, with Alan Johnson MP, Chris Mullin to appear and journalist Hunter Davies, with James Rebanks to talk about his best seller The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District.

As part of a schools programme, comedian and author David Baddiel will entertain the under-12s, while award-winning young adult authors Juno Dawson and Lisa Williamson will take questions from teenagers.

Anthony Horowitz, an author of more than 40 books and the creator of television’s Foyle’s War and New Blood, will appear in Durham to speak about his career and introduce his new crime novel, Magpie Murders.

Labour politician Alan Johnson.

Mercury Prize-nominated musician Kathryn Williams returns to perform Hypoxia, the album inspired by Sylvia Plath, and lead a retreat of other musicians and writers which will result in a one-off performance at the Gala Theatre.

This year’s Big Read is Pat Barker’s First World War novel, Regeneration, with 3,000 free copies to be given out across the country.

The launch of the programme also marks the unveiling of its Little Free Libraries, which will feature books donated by the festival.

Councillor Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration and culture, said: “The Durham Book Festival is just one example of the many and varied cultural offerings we have here in Durham.

Michael Morpurgo, who will appear alongside Pat Barker at Durham Book Festival 2016.

“I am delighted to see that, once again, the festival is spreading its reach into the wider county through its touring family theatre production, going into local libraries and community centres.”

Find your nearest Little Free Library, download reading material for the Big Read, and book tickets for Durham Book Festival at