This year, as well as continuing to support local writers with author readings and workshops, we’ve tried adopting a broad theme around wellness and recovery for individuals, communities and the environment. We’ve also committed to a hybrid programme of in-person, Zoom, pre-recorded, and for the first time live streamed events – to make sure as many people as possible can access readings and workshops.
Join us at home or in libraries for craft-along Zooms with Emma Mitchell or Josie George, looking at the links between mental health, nature and creativity. Meet us outdoors for a massive community splash on Redcar beach with uplifting poetry from Kate Fox, or ‘Walking Libraries’ through Darlington and Stockton using books to re-connect you with your wild cities. Take a river cruise for a Tall Tales Mystery to solve the Murder on the Tees, then meet the Northern Crime Writers Syndicate for some Bodies in the Library. Come to the launches of photobooks and poetry collections, and take part in a flash fiction workshop that will give birth to a digital anthology by the end of the festival week. Cosy up at our Big Bluemoose Book Club to hear indie press authors Ronan Hession and Devika Ponnambalam, and get an electrifying theatre experience with live performances and interviews at ARC Stockton with Lucy Holden, Salena Godden, and radio favourite Ian McMillan.
This year we’re also testing out new ways to make the Festival sustainable, by giving you the chance to pay what you can. You’ll see that some events have three prices next to them; this means you can pay whichever rate you’re able to. Many events are free, but you can choose to donate something towards the Festival costs if you like. And the good news is, the more events you sign up for, the more you save, with a percentage discount when you book.