Border Lines

From London to Berwick: Culture shock? Oh, yes!

Berwick Literary Festival: a storyjar of delights

My festival co-blogger Dawn and I toured Berwick today and chewed on some Berwick Literary Festival fodder – as well as a delicious Foreman’s pork pie at the Curfew Micropub on Bridge Street. We also enjoyed fab coffee at The Corner House on Church Street. The Corner House will be the Festival Hub: if we’re not out listening to authors, Dawn and I will be there blogging, refuelling on cake, and chatting to fellow festival goers.

As Dawn and I walked and talked, I re-enjoyed the fact that Berwick is an extraordinary town rammed with culture, history and, of course, politics. The Literary Festival itself is also a cornucopia of delights. It reminds me a little of this storyjar made in preparation for a storytelling slot at this weekend’s Berwick Food & Beer Festival.

DSC_0126

Like the jar, the Literary Festival holds many surprises and treasures – something to inspire and entertain you, whatever your interests:

If you want to learn more about writing…

On Friday 21st October local schools will be humming with writerly activity and creative inspiration for young people around Berwick. Barbara Morris will be talking about novel writing v screenwriting and Bea Davenport will be running a creative writing workshop. On Saturday Margaret Skea will talk about writing short stories and Alistair McCleery what authors are worth and Louise Ross will take us from scenery to storyline. On Sunday Sheila Wakefield of Red Squirrel Press will be sharing tips on how to get published, whilst Eve Ainsworth will be tackling challenging issues in young adult fiction. Also on Sunday you can enjoy The Vane Collective –  a writing, performing and publishing collective that specialises in writing workshops for women.

If you’re into history…

Alongside big guns David Starkey and Alistair Moffat you’ll find Richard Hingley talking about his book The Cultural History of Hadrian’s Wall, local historian and retired lecturer Mike Fraser on Sir Charles Trevlyan – Northumberland’s Upper Class Socialist MP (Mike’s session was standing room only last year), and Berwick’s wonderful archivist, Linda Bankier, will uncover hidden treasures and inspiration through some compelling human interest stories from the archives.

If you’re into ways of writing the self…

Former military man Matt Johnson will take us from PTSD to publication, journalist Andrew Hankinson will be interviewed by Bea Davenport about how he took himself into the mind of Newcastle bodybuilder Raoul Moat, who shot three people in 2010 and then took his own life. Former Labour MP Chris Mullen will talk about his critically acclaimed Hinterland – A Memoir, and Berwick-based Stuart Faed will explore how the thread of art has connected his family across generations and continents.

And there’s crime fiction, children’s books, the graphic novel, and much more besides…

The full programme is available here and my fellow blogger Dawn and I will be offering more information as we get to chat with authors and speakers. And, guess what? Tickets are now available for events from The Maltings. Meanwhile, do join the Berwick Literary Festival conversation by leaving a thought below, liking the Facebook page, and following us on Twitter and Instagram.

It's all about the books (nearly). Dawn enjoys a lunchtime pie and pint at Berwick's Curfew Micropub.

It’s all about the books (nearly). Dawn enjoys a lunchtime pie and pint at Berwick’s Curfew Micropub.

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