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Eclectic mix of crime, poetry and drama inspire book festival

Other posts by  |  Steve Smith on Google+ |  October 28, 2011 | 0 Comments
Newcastle Winter Book Festival

Take a well-known musician, writers of crime and TV drama, throw in some poetry, a bit of fiction, a CSI expert and a walking tour of ‘Haunted and Bloody Newcastle’ and you have a tasty mix for a new and exciting Tyneside-based book festival.

The Newcastle Winter Book Festival runs for four days between November 24-27 at six iconic venues around the city – including Seven Stories and the Literary and Philosophical Society.

The festival is crammed with well-known and critically acclaimed authors from the North East such as David Almond, Michael Chaplin, Ann Cleeves and Simon Donald as well as writers from further afield, including Liz Lochhead, Alistair Moffat, MC Beaton and Hugh Cornwell.

David Almond, the award-winning children’s author, revisits Skellig in his stunning new book My Name is Mina, and is set to launch the festival with a talk about his first adult novel, The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean.

Ann Cleeves, the best selling author and creator of Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope, the protagonist of four books and a Northumberland-based ITV series, will lead the investigation into crime writing. The North Tyneside-based writer will be ably abetted by MC Beaton, the modern day queen of crime fiction, as well as Lin Anderson and Martin Edwards.

Ian Gillard is an ex-scene of crime officer. He will be holding forensic workshops for adults – and kids – on what goes on behind the real scenes of crime. You can also discover why Scandinavian crime writing is currently so popular – Nordic knitwear optional!

Join Scotland’s Makar (national poet) Liz Lochhead fora  number of events, including Myth and Metaphor, an evening of poetry, readings and discussion at the Star and Shadow Cinema on Stepney Bank in Ouseburn.

Ex-Stranglers lead singer/guitarist and songwriter Hugh Cornwell will share the stage with writer, musician, journalist and former nuclear physicist, Doug Johnstone, to discuss their latest novels Smokeheads and Window on the World and their love of music. They may even bring their guitars along.

Tam Dalyell, one of this generation’s most colourful and outspoken politicians, will talk about his autobiography with BBC journalist Richard Moss, while Geordie stand-up comic and cartoonist Simon Donald, co-founder and creator of the Viz magazine, will be rolling out the jokes as what promises to be an unmissable evening at the Star and Shadow cinema.

The Newcastle Winter Book Festival has been born out of a small library-based event held last year in the city. The organisers describe this year’s offering as “innovative, diverse, wide-ranging and exciting, offering something to inspire everyone, and suit all tastes.”

For the full programme, and to book tickets, visit

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