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Books Editorial

writeljross.jpg The WRITE stuff…

The first WRITE festival at The Word, the National Centre for the Written Word in South Shields, last year was such a hit that it’s no surprise that it’s returning again in May and has been expanded from five days to a fortnight.

Not only does this festival let people celebrate the written word in all of its forms, but it’s also giving you the chance to get busy with your outlandish costume making skills as it’s being launched with a full day of Doctor Who themed fancy dress. I’m not usually one to get excited about fancy dress, but when it involves my favourite Time Lord (and Lady) then even I’m prepared to knit myself a massive scarf and reach for the Jelly Babies for a day of family fun.

There will be plenty of writers in attendance during the fortnight including the always great value Stuart Maconie who will be at The Customs House chatting about the 300-mile trek he undertook while retracing the route of the original Jarrow March. There will be talks from writers such as Nancy Revell, author of The Shipyard Girls series, DCI Ryan creator LJ Ross (pictured), Adam Bushnell, Jenn Ashworth and debut novelist Sarah Dunnakey, while former writer in residence at The Word, Celia Bryce, will hold a workshop on editing manuscripts. Tom Kelly – who has also held a Word residency – will also showcase some of the projects he has worked on.

One of the region’s best-loved playwrights Ed Waugh will present an afternoon of radio comedy, while the works of Jane Austen will form the basis for a special event, History Wardrobe Presents… Bad Girls and Bonnets, where audiences will be able to view original costume items and hear recordings from the author’s most famous works. Youngsters are also well catered for and are sure to enjoy the free Silent Book Disco, where they can stick on some headphones and read and dance to a playlist of songs inspired by some of their favourite books.

Also looking good for children will be illustrator Faye Hanson, who is holding an interactive workshop to celebrate the release of her new picture book, All at Sea: There’s a New Baby in the Family. In a first for the festival The Stags Head pub in South Shields will be holding a Poetry Slam where amateur poets will showcase their slam skills with a range of brilliant, funny, ranting and passionate poems, while local journalist Kevin Maguire will close the festival with An Audience With event, where he will talk about his long and interesting career in print.

For the full programme, venues and ticket details, visit the website, below.

The WRITE Festival, Saturday 12-Friday 25 May, The Word, 45 Market Place (and other venues in South Shields). theworduk.org