Vera author among the line-up for Morpeth Book Festival

Book lovers are in for a real treat this weekend as the very first Morpeth Book Festival is taking place in the town.
Author Ann Cleeves.Author Ann Cleeves.
Author Ann Cleeves.

Award-winning authors like Ann Cleeves, two of whose characters Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez have become huge television series favourites, and Mari Hannah, pictured, the creator of fictional detectives Kate Daniels, Matthew Ryan and David Stone, will be making personal appearances at the event on Saturday and Sunday.

Plenty of other local and regional authors and poets will also be talking about and reading from their works. These include Robert Scragg, Fiona Erskine, Trevor Wood, Glenda Young and Fiona Veitch Smith.

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Most of the sessions will be held in the recently opened function suites at Morpeth Pleased to Meet You.

From left, Frank Rescigno, Miles Hewitt and Sarah Jayne Kennedy-Robson.From left, Frank Rescigno, Miles Hewitt and Sarah Jayne Kennedy-Robson.
From left, Frank Rescigno, Miles Hewitt and Sarah Jayne Kennedy-Robson.

Morpeth writers Bridget Gubbins and Miles Hewitt will be taking part along with Barbara Fox, who grew up in Ashington and has written two highly acclaimed books about the life of shepherdess and television personality Emma Gray.

Linking into a dystopian fiction session at the festival in a pre-recorded interview from the USA will be American novelist, screenwriter and television producer Chuck Hogan.

There will also be craft and reading sessions for children at Morpeth Library.

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Through the weekend, the award-winning independent group of bookstores owned and run by Helen Stanton will be present – selling books by authors taking in the event.

Helen who will be stocking the bookstall from her recently-opened Accidental Books shop in Alnwick, said: “We are so looking forward to being at Morpeth this weekend because we love attending book festivals.

“It is great that the festival is being held in Morpeth because it offers the chance to promote the works of so many talented local writers and poets, as well as perhaps introducing readers to authors they may not have read before.”

The two-day festival is being jointly organised by Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT) and the Northumberland County Library service.

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GMDT’s director of arts and culture, Frank Rescigno, said: “We hope this is the first of many book festivals held in Morpeth.

“We know for a fact from book sales, and library service figures relating to the borrowing of books, that Morpeth people of all ages and interests are great readers – and we are especially delighted that two such celebrated local authors as Ann Cleeves and Mari Hannah are joining us in person at the festival.

“It would also be good to think that the festival might encourage more young people to become avid book readers in an age so dependent on electronic devices.”

Some sessions are already sold out, but tickets are still available for most others and can be bought through or from Morpeth Library, or the town’s Chantry tourist information centre.

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