Durham Book Festival 2018

Open books, open minds. That's the motto of Durham Book Festival, which will let audiences into the lives and writing of some of our leading novelists, poets and thinkers from 6th to 14th October. Headline guests include Sarah Waters, David Olusoga, Sarah Perry, Pat Barker, Carol Ann Duffy and Alan Johnson. While we're certainly looking... Continue Reading →


Sacred Symbols, Snake-Women and Sisterhood: Crafting Power in Medieval Origin Stories (Public lectures, 15th August)

The second of our Late Summer Lectures takes us back to the medieval period. Join Alexandra Claridge, Olivia Colquitt and Madelaine Smart as they explore medieval origin stories whose presentation of mythical beginnings and endings raises fundamental questions of sovereignty, legitimacy, and genealogy. All welcome to Alington House, Durham on 22nd August from 17.30. Alexandra begins with... Continue Reading →

“The Beginning of Sound Film -The End of Literary Modernism?” and “The Rise of Populism and a Call for the New Sincerity in Contemporary Fiction” (Public lectures, 15th August)

Our Late Summer Lectures series is back in 2018, and begins by looking at how literature reflects trends and developments in wider culture and politics. In the first talk, Lara Ehrenfried will show how the advent of sound film influenced modernist writers. In the second, Arya Aryan identifies a new trend in writing as authors... Continue Reading →

The Writer and The Estate Agent

Are we culturally conditioned to assume that when writers hear voices it’s part of their creative process, and when anyone else does it’s a sign of madness? Provocative thoughts from the Writers’ Inner Voices project.

Writers' Inner Voices

Man and woman.jpgWriters I’ve talked to about ‘Inner Voices’ have been very generous; willing to disclose their experiences, their understanding of the phenomenon, and how, if at all, it informs their work. They might not have thought much about the questions I have asked, they may even have been irritated by them, but they have not inferred/assumed that I am questioning their sanity.

Yet it is held by many that there is a link between madness and creativity. I’m not entirely convinced though stories abound of writers battling mental ill-health though whether such a condition is a necessary prerequisite to creative endeavour is debatable.

I do think, however, that there is an expectation within our cultural framework (established and nurtured by anecdote, reportage, output, biography, autobiography and by writers themselves) that writers should see and experience things differently because they are creative.

“So you’re a writer?”


“And you hear voices?”


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