What’s On: North East Literature and Book Events in May 2019

Full of spirit is the month of May (a prize for identifying the quote), and full too of book events happening in Durham, Newcastle, Teesside, Sunderland and around the North East. Make sure you subscribe or submit your event to avoid missing out next month.

All eyes and ears are on Newcastle at the start of the month, with the scintillating array of workshops, talks, films and music lined up for the Newcastle Poetry Festival, running from 1st to 4th. Over the same weekend, from 3rd to 5th May, the criminally good Newcastle Noir returns with 25 crime fiction related talks, panels, readings, film screenings and writing workshops, and over 80 authors from all over the world coming to talk about their work. We’ve only mentioned a few of the specific events in the newsletter below, so visit the websites for all.

Two other book festivals are on this month too. Hexham Book Festival continues, including our own Claire Harman on murder by the book. In South Shields, you’re invited to ‘be inspired by words’ at The Word‘s annual Write Festival, with a combination of creative workshops and inspirational talks by writers, including Michael Rosen.

Finally, this being May, to highlight May Day celebrations taking place (on 6th) with the Durham Miners’ Association at Redhills, which hosts a programme of activities exploring historic cultural links between mining communities in Britain and Russia, Ukraine & the USSR. Come along to find out about the South Shields turned Soviet writer Harry Heslop, or to hear new poetry inspired by the North East’s industrial heritage.

These are just a few of the many events in the North East this May. The full newsletter is below. To ensure you don’t miss anything next month, subscribe if you aren’t already or follow us on Twitter where we post regular updates. If you’re running an event next month, please submit it to the next newsletter.

20190501T11:00

Wed 01 to Sat 04
in Various venues, Various venuesNewcastle
Transformations: Newcastle Poetry Festival
Link to event This year’s Festival is entitled ‘Transformations’ which celebrates the alchemic results of cross-genre art. The invited poets have received acclaim for their hybrid poetics: these writers challenge traditional forms of poetry by including different elements from other genres including prose, music, visual art and the digital. The festival includes a symposium on ‘interplay’ in poetry in conjunction with the Poetry Book Society, readings by poets from South Korea, Slovenia, the US and the UK, as well as the launch of the Newcastle Poetry Prize. Our festival commissions include politically themed Poetry Posters, the Redactions/Redirections project which includes poems inspired by archives held at Newcastle University and ‘Gone Westering’ and a poetry and music performance based on historical events. Organised by Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts.

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20190501T17:30

Wed 01
17:30 in Hallgarth House, Hallgarth HouseDurham
Narrative Theory and Medieval Narrative
with A.C. Spearing
Link to event Narrative theorists rarely read medieval narratives, and medievalists rarely read narrative theory. Professor Spearing will attempt to show from two examples how concepts and assumptions unconsciously adopted from the main stream of modern narrative theory (and especially the dogmas that every narrative must have a narrator and that storytelling is a form of communication) are at odds with medieval storytelling practices. Organised by Inventions of the Text.

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20190502T10:00

Thu 02
10:00 in Sage, SageGateshead
Northern Poetry Symposium: Inter/Play
Link to event A one-day symposium as part of the Newcastle Poetry Festival. Organised by Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts.

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20190503T13:00

Fri 03 to Sun 05
in City Library, City LibraryNewcastle
Newcastle Noir
Link to event There is no mystery about where the North’s crime fiction fans are heading – Newcastle Noir is back! The hugely popular literary weekend is returning for its sixth year and the event is on the move. Organised by .

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20190503T16:00

Fri 03
16:00 in Sage, SageGateshead
Royal Literary Fund Lecture: Ishion Hutchinson
with Ishion Hutchinson
Link to event We are delighted to present the Royal Literary Fund Lecture by Ishion Hutchinson entitled “The fire thus kindled, may be kindled again: A Reading of Robert Hayden’s ’Frederick Douglass’.” The American orator Frederick Douglass never leaves the civic imagination; he endures, in part, due to Robert Hayden’s homage. This lecture will reflect on what makes this poem stand both as a public moment and a textual monument. Ishion Hutchinson is the author of House of Lords and Commons (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016; Faber, 2017). Organised by Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts.

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20190503T16:00

Fri 03
16:00 in Armstrong Building, Armstrong BuildingNewcastle
‘No Jot of Heart or Hope’: A History of Disappointment and Facts, Fictions, and Fictionalities; Or, The Anxieties of a Periodical Writer
with Rachel Hewitt and Jenny Buckley
Link to event Organised by The North East Forum in Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Studies.

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20190504T11:00

Sat 04
11:00 in Waterstones, WaterstonesDurham
Come & Meet Helen Cullen
Link to event We are delighted to welcome the brilliant Helen Cullen to store signing her wonderful book The Lost Letters of William Woolf. Organised by Waterstones.

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20190504T14:30

Sat 04
14:30 in Sage, SageGateshead
Newcastle Poetry Prize Readings and Presentations
Link to event Join us for this special event celebrating the inaugural Newcastle Poetry Competition and Young People’s Poetry Prize. Judges Deryn Rees-Jones and Phoebe Power will announce the winners in both categories who will read from their prize-winning work. Organised by Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts.

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20190505T11:00

Sun 05
11:00 in Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Queen’s Hall Arts CentreHexham
The Truth Game
with Vanessa Nicolson
Link to event Join Vanessa Nicolson, granddaughter of Vita Sackville-West, as she talks about The Truth Game – a haunting exploration of love, loss and grief and a portrait of the discontent at the heart of one of Britain’s most eminent families. Organised by Hexham Book Festival.

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20190505T12:30

Sun 05
12:30 in Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Queen’s Hall Arts CentreHexham
Ghost Wall
with Sarah Moss
Link to event Sarah Moss’ latest work of fiction, inspired by a Festival residency in Hexham, is a novel about the intoxication of power, cults, nationalist myths, feminism and domestic violence, clever teenagers, and Northern Britain in the 90s. Organised by Hexham Book Festival.

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20190505T15:00

Sun 05
15:00 in Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Queen’s Hall Arts CentreHexham
Murder by the Book: A Sensational Chapter in Victorian Crime
with Claire Harman
Link to event One morning in 1840, in fashionable Mayfair, a household of servants awoke to discover their unobtrusive master Lord William Russell, was lying in bed with his throat cut. The whole of London was gripped by the gory details of the Russell murder. But behind it was another story and when Lord William’s murderer claimed to having been inspired to crime by the year’s most sensational novel, it appeared a great deal more was on trial than just one man. Award-winning biographer Claire Harman leads us through this bloody and scandalous moment in British literary history. Organised by Hexham Book Festival.

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20190506T12:30

Mon 06
12:30 in Miners’ Hall, Miners’ HallDurham
Poetry: arise! and The Sailors of Ulm
with Paul Summers and Andy Croft
Link to event Paul will read from arise!, a book-length poem commissioned for last year’s Big Meeting, as well as some of his olderwork about growing up in the coalfields of south-east Northumberland. Andy will read from his forthcoming collectionof poetry,The Sailors of Ulm, putting out to sea with a faithful crew of broken comrades. But the wind has turned, the good ship Progress is heading towards the rocks and the rats are cheering on the quayside. Organised by Durham University Modern Languages and Cultures.

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20190506T17:30

Mon 06
17:30 in Miners’ Hall, Miners’ HallDurham
Remembering Harry Heslop
with Elena Ostrovskaya, Andy Croft and Alastair Renfrew
Link to event In 1926, the former South Shields coal-miner and trade union activist Harold Heslop (1898-1983) became, overnight, a Soviet writer. The manuscript of his first novel, on the theme of mining in the English north, having been rejected by a British publishing house, was accepted in the USSR and published in Russian translation underthe title Pod vlast’iu uglia (‘Under the Sway of Coal’). Organised by Durham University Modern Languages and Cultures.

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20190508T17:00

Wed 08
17:00 in Elvet Riverside A79, Elvet Riverside A79Durham
The Mystery of The Red Earth: Harold Heslop, Soviet Literary Institutions, and World Literature
with Elena Ostrovskaya
Link to event In 1926,the former South Shields coal-miner and trade union activist Harold Heslop became, overnight, a Soviet writer. Discover his story at this seminar, part of a programme of activities exploring historic links between mining communities in Britain and Russia, Ukraine & the USSR. Organised by Durham University Modern Languages and Cultures and English Studies.

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20190508T18:00

Wed 08
18:00 in Peoples Bookshop, Peoples BookshopDurham
People’s Poetry is broken
Link to event ‘People’s Poetry is broken’ is a spoken-word open-mic night. It is open to anyone who wishes to speak, rant or lead us on a merry dance. Organised by jbresidency_isbroken.

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20190509T18:00

Thu 09
18:00 in Lit and Phil, Lit and PhilNewcastle
The Joy and Sadness of Agatha Christie
with Ian McArdle
Link to event Agatha Christie lived a long, successful life but it was not without its bitter experiences and disappointments. This talk will examine some of the joy and sadness in the life of a famous writer but one who, at the same time, was an extremely private woman. Organised by The Lit and Phil.

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20190510T09:00

Fri 10
09:00 in , Durham
Gen(d)eration: Gender and Construction of Subjectivity
Link to event The workshop will focus on the interconnections between gender and cultural studies (literature, art, history, philosophy, social sciences, etc.) and will be looking at how the construction of gender is connected to, and interwoven with, writing, capitalism, globalization, trauma, therapy, ethics, transformation and autopoiesis, to name a few. Organised by Durham University Department of English Studies.

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20190511T10:00

Sat 11
10:00 in Newcastle Arts Centre, Newcastle Arts CentreNewcastle
Creative Voices: A workshop for writers
Link to event With creative exercises, provocations, and plenty of tea and coffee, this one-day workshop for writers will explore the various ways in which you can create and engage with your characters. The techniques and ideas we’ll be providing are based on cutting-edge research conducted with writers at the Edinburgh International Book Festival by Durham University’s ‘Hearing the Voice’. Organised by Hearing the Voice.

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20190511T14:00

Sat 11
14:00 in The Word, The WordSouth Shields
Mr Dickens is Coming
with Gerald Dickens
Link to event Gerald Dickens, the great great grandson of author Charles Dickens, is bringing a popular show, based on the life and character of Charles Dickens, to The Word. A light-hearted performance that uses scenes from the great author’s works, diary extracts and observations from those who knew and worked with him. This will be followed by a performance of The Signalman – a short ghost story written by Charles Dickens. Organised by The Word.

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20190512T11:30

Sun 12
11:30 in The Word, The WordSouth Shields
Authors and Publishers Next Door
with Degna Stone, Suzannah Evans, Pete Mortimer, Russ Litten
Link to event Publishing success stories are all around us in the North, there’s no need to head elsewhere to find extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. This panel session features writers and publishers from the North talking about what they do, and what opportunities are available in the region. Organised by The Word.

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20190513T18:00

Mon 13
18:00 in The Word, The WordSouth Shields
Michael Rosen and Kevin Maguire in Conversation
Link to event Michael Rosen, author, poet and broadcaster, will be in conversation with journalist Kevin Maguire. They will discuss Michael’s work, life and writing – including his memoir So They Call You Pisher. Organised by The Word.

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20190514T18:00

Tue 14
18:00 in Elvet Riverside 142, Elvet Riverside 142Durham
Global Weirding: An Aesthetics of the Anthropocene
with Eva Horn
Link to event Art/Literature “in the Anthropocene“ is currently a buzzword among scholars, artists, and curators. But what could an aesthetics of the Anthropocene mean, beyond mere thematic approaches to environmental degradation, climate change, or species loss? Organised by Durham University Modern Languages and Cultures.

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20190514T19:00

Tue 14
19:00 in Waterstones, WaterstonesNewcastle
The Ghosting of Anne Armstrong
with Jacky Collins and Michael Cawood Green
Link to event We are absolutely delighted to be able to welcome Professor Michael Cawood Green to our store, where he will be talking to Dr Jacky Collins about his latest novel, The Ghosting of Anne Armstrong. Organised by Waterstones.

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20190516T16:30

Thu 16
16:30 in St Chad’s College, St Chad’s CollegeDurham
Conversations With Poems
with Kirsten Luckens
Link to event Join poet and performer Kirsten Luckins for a fun delve into the creative possibilities of cutting up, blacking out, and talking back to poems – your own and others! Organised by PopUpPoetry.

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20190516T19:15

Thu 16
19:15 in Culture Lab, Culture LabNewcastle
Michael Salcman and Carolyn Forché
Link to event alcman is the author of The Clock Made of Confetti (Orchises, 2007), The Enemy of Good is Better (Orchises, 2011), and editor of the anthology Poetry in Medicine (Persea Books, 2015). His most recent collection, A Prague Spring, Before & After (2016) won the 2015 Sinclair Poetry Prize. CAROLYN FORCHÉ was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1950. She is Director of the Lannan Centre for Poetics and Social Practice at Georgetown University and a Professor of Poetry at Newcastle University. Her collections include Gathering the Tribes (1976), The Country Between Us (1981, reissued by Bloodaxe in 2019), The Angel of History (1994), Blue Hour (2003) and In the Lateness of the World (2020). Organised by Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts.

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20190517T09:30

Fri 17
09:30 in Centre for Life, Centre for LifeNewcastle
The 10th Annual Hippocrates Poetry and Medicine Symposium
Link to event This conference will include Changing the Vocabulary of Pain: the life, work and legacy of Julia Darling. Contributors are Cynthia Fuller, poet and co-anthologist with Julia of The Poetry Cure; poet, writer on health, and breast cancer survivor, Catherine Ayres; artist and long-time collaborator with Julia, Emma Holliday; and poet, Sean O’Brien. Other speakers are: Owen Lewis, USA, on poetry for health professionals; Anthony Daniels, UK, and Michael Salcman, USA, on doctor poets; Élise Brault-Dreux, France, on medical themes in poetry; Luz-Mar Gonzalez-Arias, Spain, on campaigning Irish poet Dorothy Molloy, and Christy Ducker and Wendy French, both from the UK, on poet residencies in health settings. Organised by Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts.

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20190517T10:00

Fri 17
10:00 in The Word, The WordSouth Shields
Exploring Poetry
with Anna Woodford and Clare Shaw
Link to event Come along to our Exploring Poetry session with Anna Woodford, where you can read and discuss contemporary poetry in a friendly environment. Exploring Poetry is for anyone who wants to find out more about contemporary poetry, how to read it and which poets to look out for. You will then get to listen to poet Clare Shaw who will be reading from her latest collection ‘Flood’. Organised by The Word.

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20190517T19:00

Fri 17
19:00 in Waterstones, WaterstonesNewcastle
Common People: An Anthology of Working- Class Writers
Link to event We’re thrilled to be celebrating the publication of ‘Common People: An Anthology of Working-Class Writers’. This event is being held in association with New Writing North and Northumbria University. Organised by Waterstones.

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20190518T10:00

Sat 18
10:00 in Live Theatre, Live TheatreNewcastle
Newcastle Writing Conference 2019
Link to event We know that the road to publication can be exhausting, but this is not a sit-back-and-listen conference. We’re looking to make change. The conference is aimed at everyone who has a desire to be published or to further their writing career, including those who feel they are not currently represented by the publishing industry. Organised by New Writing North.

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20190521T17:30

Tue 21
17:30 in Ushaw College, Ushaw CollegeDurham
Staging Magic in English Catholic College Drama
with Alison Shell
Link to event Dramatised magic was popular in early modern theatre, and never more so than within the dramatic corpus of the English Catholic colleges set up in continental Europe after the Reformation. Organised by Durham University Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies and Centre for Catholic Studies.

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20190523T18:00

Thu 23
18:00 in The Word, The WordSouth Shields
Shakespeare Club
Link to event Shakespeare Club is a free, public, informal, and friendly reading group devoted to helping everyone enjoy Shakespeare. Whatever you know (or think you don’t know) about Shakespeare, everyone’s opinion will be valued as you are encouraged to share your ideas about the play we’ll be looking at: The Tempest. Organised by The Word.

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20190524T09:00

Fri 24
09:00 in , Durham
Literature and Surveillance in the Age of Globalization
Link to event The aim of the conference is to explore how mechanisms of surveillance have changed since the Cold War and how literature has responded to new forms of surveillance in the age of globalization. Organised by .

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20190525T10:00

Sat 25
10:00 in Waterstones, WaterstonesDurham
What She Saw Last Night
with Mason Cross
Link to event Join us for a lively discussion of What She Saw Last Night with the author Mason Cross. Organised by Waterstones.

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20190530T18:00

Thu 30
18:00 in Peoples Bookshop, Peoples BookshopDurham
Writing Your Feminism
with Florianne Humphrey
Link to event Explore the diverse world of feminist fiction and learn techniques and short writing activities that you can incorporate into your day-to-day life. Organised by .

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