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The Crack Magazine

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Durham Book Festival

The annual literary festival returns this October with an exciting blend of live and digital events, including headline guests Lemn Sissay, Richard Osman, Pat Barker, Val McDermid, Leïla Slimani (pictured), Fiona Hill, Ed Balls and the announcement of the Gordon Burn Prize.

Other highlights include:

- Francis Spufford and Sarah Winman will introduce their new, widely acclaimed novels, both set against the background of the Second World War.

- Nickolas Butler and Willy Vlautin also offer exciting new fiction, their novels Godspeed and The Night Always Comes, which both reflect on American society with empathy and grit.

- Writers Anita Sethi and Musa Okwonga will discuss their memoirs, both powerful reflections on identity and society.

- Disability activist and author, Lisette Auton will chair a fascinating discussion between writer Joanne Limburg, whose new book is Letters To My Weird Sisters: On Autism and Feminism, and poet Jen Hadfield whose powerful collection The Stone Age explores how she views the world through a neurodivergent lens.

- This year’s Festival Laureate, supported by Durham University, is Fiona Benson. Fiona will read from her work, including a new sequence of poems inspired by the history of witchcraft in Durham, which was written as part of her laureateship and is inspired by her archival research in Palace Green Library.

- There will be more poetry in an event produced with the Poetry Book Society, featuring Kazim Ali, Hannah Lowe and Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe.

- This spring, Durham Book Festival invited contributions from the public to create a collective audio poem about climate change and what kind of world we would like to wake up to. The resulting sound piece, ‘Dawn Chorus’, has been created by poet Linda France and sound artist Christo Wallers, to be premiered as part of the festival.

- The chance to peer Inside the Archives at Palace Green Library; Catherine Cho, Georgina Lawton and Hadley Freeman talking about life writing, drawing from their own recent works of non-fiction.

- Tawseef Khan who will curate a round table discussion with thinkers and writers, inspired by his vital new book The Muslim Problem.

- Denise Mina and Lucy Jago, whose new novels tell the stories of transgressive women in history and the secrets and scandals of the royal courts.

- Festival favourite and author of the widely acclaimed memoir Hinterland, Chris Mullin, will also return to Durham to explore the rise of English nationalism.

Durham Book Festival, 9th to 17th October.

For full programme visit www.durhambookfestival.com.

Photo credit Catherine Hélie

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