Durham Book Festival 2012

Durham Book Festival 2012Durham Book Festival runs from 13th to 30th October. The Department of English Studies will be participating at several events.

This year’s festival is big on stories, both fictional and biographical. Authors will include Pat Barker, Cressida Cowell, Carol Ann Duffy, PD James, Ben Miller, Kate Mosse, Roger McGough, Ian Rankin, Nick Robinson and Jack Straw. The festival will also feature the premiere of Rapunzel by balletLORENT, a new version of the classic BrothersGrimm fairytale re-written for the modern age by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, and a new play by Margaret Wilkinson, Blue Boy.

The Department of English Studies will be represented at several of the events at the festival.

On Friday 26th October at 12.30 there will be a celebration of Northern Poetry, with three poets who live and work in the north east of England reading at Durham Town Hall’s Burlison Gallery. Along with Pippa Little, Dr Gareth Reeves and John Clegg will be reading from their new collections To Hell with Paradise and Antler. You can hear a sneak preview of their work by downloading their podcasts from the Poetry Aloud page on this blog.

The evening of 26th will also see the Festival’s poet laureate giving a reading, including a new poem commissioned especially for the book festival; she will be introduced by Professor Stephen Regan. Lorna Goodison was born in Jamaica, where
 she grew up as one of nine 
children. She is 
one of the most distinguished
 writers of her generation. Her many honours 
include the Commonwealth
 Poetry Prize (Americas
 Region), the Gold Musgrave
 Medal from Jamaica, and the
 Henry Russel Award from the
 University of Michigan. Each year the Festival Laureate is brought to Durham book festival through collaboration with the Department of English Studies. Lorna will also be working at special events with Durham University students during her time here.

From a celebration of new poetry to the hard life of Victorian reality, Professor Simon J James chairs a discussion with Judith Flanders, author of The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens’ London. She uses Charles Dickens in fact and fiction as her guide and brings to life the street-life of the 19th century, including street children, a city of pea-soup fogs and horse manure, and even gutters running with blood.

Simon James will also be appearing at the Institute of Advanced Study as part of the Writing in the Academy series. Writing in the university requires a particular set of skills and is shaped by some very particular pressures. Academic authors need to present original research, to respond to the cut and thrust of peer reviews, to engage in scholarly debate with colleagues, and to be accessible to wider audiences. Festival-goers will have the chance to meet some of Durham University’s authors to find out what it is like to write in this context. Simon will particularly be explaining about his recent book, Maps of Utopia: H.G.Wells, Modernity and the End of Culture on 23rd October. This earlier READ blog post gives some of the background to this work.

These are just a few of the many events featuring at Durham Book Festival in 2012. For a full programme and booking details, visit the festival home page. To receive details on other literary events running throughout the year, you can subscribe to our English Events newsletter via this page.

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