This year’s exciting Berwick Literary Festival (19th to 22nd October) promises to provide something for everybody! There will be a wide range of stimulating and entertaining participants, including an award-winning Radio and TV Poet, a debut novelist praised by literary superstar Margaret Atwood, a Rock Guitarist, now author, who is used to playing to thousands of people and a Poetry publisher whose most famous fan is Meryl Streep. This festival prides itself, however, on not only attracting speakers of national renown but also on promoting Northumberland authors and this year is no exception, with many of the sessions being allocated to talented regional speakers.
Among a number of contributing Historians Max Adams should be especially popular as he will take his audience on a journey of the imagination in search of the Dark Ages and the North’s unique sense of identity. Berwick upon Tweed history will not be ignored as Tom Maxwell will bring to life the historic defeat of the Big Gers by the Wee Gers in the year of its fiftieth anniversary in a discussion with Russell Craig, who played for the winning team that day. Crime and Science Fiction fans will be delighted by the contributions of Christopher Brookmyre and Stephen Baxter respectively and the interview of Polly Clark about her debut literary novel Larchfield, praised by many including Margaret Atwood, should attract a large audience.
Katrina Porteous and Alice Burn provided a highlight of last year’s festival and will return by popular demand with a new programme of poetry and music. Ian McMillan, of radio and TV fame, will bring his unique approach to poetry to an entertaining session with eminent cartoonist Tony Husband, while the latter will also deliver a sad but also amusing account of his Dad’s dementia. Neil Astley, the owner of Bloodaxe books, will read from his new anthology of North-East poetry (sadly one suspects that Meryl will restrain herself until he returns to New York)
Controversial contemporary issues will not be ignored as Rhodri Jones will describe the development of surveillance methods, while Peter Townsend will illuminate the dark side of current technological trends. Having played to thousands of music fans, Dave Randall anticipates a smaller but discerning audience for his discussion of the power of music to change the world.
Tony Husband and Ian McMillan – photo credit David Tilley
As always, a significant portion of the festival is given over to stimulating sessions for children. This year the keynote activity for the younger children is a presentation by Stuart Reid, a Borders children's author, who has written a series of books for primary to middle school age about a character called Gorgeous George.
The Committee will again be collaborating with the Wilson's Tales project to help bring the world-famous tales which emanated from Berwick back to life. Northumberland Theatre Company will be presenting "The disasters of Johnny Armstrong" at the Watchtower Gallery. The project will also launch Volume 4 of their revival editions at the festival, which will include the winners from the 2106 schools short story completion as well as six original tales retold for a modern reader with supporting background research on their authenticity.
There will be a Patrons evening on May 17th at 7 PM in the Guildhall, Berwick upon Tweed – do come along, enjoy some refreshments and become a Patron of this exciting event!
Berwick Literary Festival 2017 will combine various events over the 20th-22nd October, including; readings, workshops, children's authors, book signings, poetry, education and schools events, meet the author, the Rotary short story writing competition and much more.
The Maltings Theatre & Cinema is the premier performing and media arts venue for North Northumberland and the Scottish Borders.
A Town Hall has stood on this site since at least the 16th century. Begun in 1750, this building stands majestically at the south end of Marygate.