Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Culture: Top Authors to Speak at Book Festival; If You're All Sitting Comfortably, David Whetstone Will Preview the Durham Book Fe Stival

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Culture: Top Authors to Speak at Book Festival; If You're All Sitting Comfortably, David Whetstone Will Preview the Durham Book Fe Stival

Article excerpt

Byline: David Whetstone

THE name may have changed - from Durham Literature Festival to Durham Book Festival - but for 10 days the emphasis in the city will be on the written word.

And the spoken word, too, for the festival, which begins tomorrow, features a lot of authors who will be talking about their work.

Big-name writers include Kate Adie, who grew up in Sunderland; novelists Kate Atkinson and Bernard Cornwell; poets Lemn Sissay and Ian McMillan; and that most erudite of comics, Mark Thomas.

Look out for interviews with Kate Adie and Mark Thomas in The Journal in the next few days.

But the festival is not just about famous people popping in. There is a full programme of events where the public can get involved and plenty of opportunities to meet the writers who make a living from their work in the North East without being household names.

A new strand of festival events, supported by the Pakistan Cultural Society, is called Kitaab. This is a platform for multicultural writing.

The first Kitaab event is at 2pm on Saturday at the Gala Theatre and is called Between Two Cultures. It takes the form of a conversation between journalists Sathnam Sanghera and Yasmin Hai.

The former, who works for The Times, was born in the West Midlands

in 1976 to Punjabi parents.

Yasmin Hai, a TV current affairs journalist, grew up in Maggie Thatcher's Britain to parents who arrived here from Pakistan in the 1960s determined that their children would be fully assimilated into the British way of life.

Poets get the festival under way tomorrow. In Debut Poetry at the Gala Theatre (6pm), Paul Batchelor, Frances Leviston and Kathryn Simmonds will read from their first poetry collections which have all been published this year.

At 7.30pm, also in the Gala, the established poet Paul Durcan will read from his work and sign books. …

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