Local Author’s Showcased at Crossing the Tees

Crossing the Tees Book Festival has a history of supporting emerging writers with our short story competition (now in its seventh year), open mic events and writing workshops. The festival invites authors from all over the country to speak to our audiences, but we wanted to do more to promote and inspire local authors. We put a call out for authors from the Tees Valley region to apply to appear on a Local Author Showcase event in our 2024 festival and were blown away by the volume and quality of the applications.

The writers could work in any genre but their books must be for an adult audience. They could be self-published or traditionally published and the writers must be from the Tees Valley region.

Following a difficult selection process the festival team selected six authors to appear in the showcase on Wednesday 12 June at Stockton Central Library. The six inspiring authors are all at different stages of their writing journey and represent a range of genres and writing styles. Each author will have ten minutes to introduce themselves and their books and there will be time at the end for audience questions. Following the showcase each author will have books for sale and there will be the opportunity for informal networking and conversation.

We’re delighted to introduce the six authors to you and invite you to join us at the event to meet them and hear their stories.

Former police officer Sharon Birch wrote her memoir ‘Confessions of an Undercover Cop’ in 2013 and published her debut crime novel ‘She’s Not There’ in 2023. Sharon won the first ‘Pitch Perfect’ competition at Bloody Scotland book festival in 2012 with the pitch for that novel and is currently working on the second in the series. Sharon’s family history is rooted in Hartlepool and she lives in Seaton Carew. She is delighted to share her work and experiences with a local audience.

Linda Dooks’ writing career began when she joined ARC, Stockton Arts Centre’s Creative Writing class. From writing short stories Linda has recently published her first novel ‘Land of Opportunity’ which follows Rose from a North Yorkshire farm in the 1890’s to New York where she strives hard to survive amid the underworld of gang warfare and street crime. Linda wants to share her achievements, struggles and experiences with other writers.

Amy Lord introduces her novel ‘The Disappeared’, a dystopian fiction that imagines life in a broken Britain where literature is considered dangerous and books have the power to become weapons against an authoritarian government. Amy has had short stories published in The London Reader, Reflex Fiction and Palm Sized Press and was shortlisted for 2023’s Mslexia Short Story Competition. She is working towards publishing two more novels, one set in Middlesbrough exploring grief and family secrets and one about the housing crisis, the power of corporations and our relationship with work. Amy is looking forward to the opportunity to talk to potential readers about her writing process and story.

Will Nett is from Middlesbrough and has published ‘My Only Boro: A Walk Through Red & White’ – a must read for Boro fans – and short story anthology ‘Bank Notes’. He is currently working on his first novel ‘Hogweed’, a screwball tale of historical investigation based on the real escapades of his great grandfather. Will loves to meet readers and other writers and is keen to promote the Tees Valley’s literary profile.

Deborah O’Connor has had three thrillers published so far; ‘My Husband’s Son’ (set in Teesside), ‘The Dangerous Kind’ and ‘The Captive’ which was chosen by The Times as Thriller of the Month in 2021. Her fourth novel ‘Dear Future Me’ is set in Saltburn and Marske and will be published in early 2025. Deborah was born and bred in Teesside and recently moved back to the area. She is looking forward to meeting fellow writers, readers and book lovers and being part of the local writing scene.

Jenna Warren introduces her debut novel ‘The Moon and Stars’, a contemporary general fiction/romance with a touch of humour. It’s set around the theatres and music studios of modern day London and is loosely inspired by ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ and Jenna’s love of musical theatre. Jenna runs her own bookshop, ‘Book Corner’, in Saltburn and is looking forward to being on a panel with other authors and hearing about everyone’s different experiences of writing and publishing.

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6 - 21 June 2024