North East book events

Literary events for North East book lovers

There is a wonderful programme of literary events heading to the North East this autumn/winter. Whether you want to meet and greet authors, check out dramatic retellings of your favourite stories, or simply indulge in some book chat, the North East literary scene has something for you.

The biggest literary event this autumn is the release of Margaret Atwood’s new book The Testaments. She’s coming to Sage Gateshead in October to talk about it but if you weren’t lucky enough to get tickets, you can watch a live screening of an interview with the author at Gala Theatre in Durham. And, if you’re really desperate to get your hands on a hardback of the book Waterstones Newcastle is hosting a midnight opening to dish out the novel the second it’s released.

While not of the international scale of Atwood’s new release, the rest of the year is rich with literary events to keep you busy until Christmas. Clear your diary and prepare to increase your to-be-read pile…

In conversation with Jessie Burton, The Biscuit Factory, 23 September

Jessie Burton is coming to Newcastle to talk about her new book, The Confession, which just happens to be one of my top picks for autumn reading.

Listening to Jessie speak is always worthwhile as she’s incredibly candid about the challenges and delights of the writing process, and very open about her inspiration. She usually also gives lots of hints about her next work so there may be some secrets to be heard at this session.

Pride and Prejudice (Sort Of), Northern Stage, 2-12 October

A raucous play that recasts servants in Austen’s classic novel and explores the ends they will go to to find love, romance and money. It’s sure to be a hoot!

If you’d prefer to stick to the original story, the People’s Theatre has a production coming in November. Find out more here. 

Durham Book Festival, 5-13 October

This festival gets better every year and the 2019 line-up is truly extraordinary. David Nicholls, Kit de Waal, Louis de Bernieres, Joanne Harris and Roger McGough are just some of the amazing writers on the bill.

With a range of talks, workshops and hands-on activities, Durham is the place to be in early October.

Tynemouth Book Fair, 13 October

The final Tynemouth Book Fair of the year takes place in October so don’t miss your chance to bag some second-hand bargains. This is an excellent book market where you’ll find everything from cookbooks to crime fiction, history guides to literary favourites. Take plenty of tote bags as they’ll be filled by the time you leave.

Austentatious, Gala Theatre, 16 October

Fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe, Austentatious is an improvised comedy play in which comic performers create a brand new ‘lost’ Jane Austen novel based on nothing more than a title suggested by the audience. Think Reduced Shakespeare Company for the Regency period and you’ll get the gist.

Berwick Literary Festival, 17-20 October

Authors, readers and storytellers descend on Berwick every October and fill this beautiful Northumbrian town with book chat. This year’s programme features sessions on local and international history, memoir, fiction, crime writing and comedy.

Bad Magic book launch, Lit & Phil, 24 October

AM Sterling’s new psychological thriller, Bad Magic, is launching at the Lit & Phil in October. If you’ve not done a free tour of this stunning building yet, give yourself a treat this autumn – find out more here. 

The Diary of Anne Frank, People’s Theatre, 29 October- 2 November

Frank’s heartbreaking diary is brought to the stage in a poignant production at the People’s Theatre.

The Witches, People’s Theatre, 14-16 November

Relive your childhood fears with this performance of one of Roald Dahl’s darkest books. Bring a friend or a large scarf to hide behind.

Words Weekend, Sage Gateshead, 6-8 December

If you can only get to one event this autumn/winter, this is where you’ll get the best value for your time and money. Words Weekend is a three-day festival celebrating the power of words and stories in all their formats. It has some fantastic authors, journalists and speakers on the line-up, all hosted in the iconic Sage Gateshead.

And, remember to follow our friends Forum Books on Twitter for the latest news on author events at their fabulous bookshops in Corbridge and The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle.

Well, that should be enough to keep your diary and your bookshelves filled until 2020. Please don’t blame me if you have to reinforce your bookcases!

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