Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Festival Season Approaches; Look out, the Authors Are Coming. DAVID WHETSTONE Celebrates a Bonanza for Bookworms

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Festival Season Approaches; Look out, the Authors Are Coming. DAVID WHETSTONE Celebrates a Bonanza for Bookworms

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID WHETSTONE

THE season of readings, author signings and book festivals is upon us and it's going to be a highly literary North East autumn.

Interviews with several of the authors mentioned here will appear in The Journal but a round-up of the top events seems timely.

Newcastle Children's Book Fest takes place from September 18-22 at Newcastle Castlegate and Newcastle City Hall.

Taking part are Helen Moss, Melvin Burgess, Gareth P Jones, Anne Fine, Jeremy Strong, Steve Cole, Pauline Stewart, Alan Gibbons, Jim Eldridge, Ali Sparkes and Michael Morpurgo. Ticket details on the website www.book-fest.co.uk The region's libraries are also gearing up for a busy time.

North East-based authors and keen walkers Peter Donaghy and John Laidler will be talking about their new book, Discovering NewcastleGateshead, at Gosforth Library next Thursday.

It features 26 Tyneside walks and offers a personal perspective on the area's people, places and events.

Also at Gosforth Library, on September 17, Newcastle thriller writer Dan Smith will talk about his third book, The Child Thief.

Appearing at Newcastle City Library will be Freya North on September 20, Helen Limon on September 22 and Joanne Harris on September 26.

I met Freya in Newcastle in 1996 when she had just published her first novel, Sally, and was full of good advice for others wanting to get into print.

"Get an agent," she advised, before confessing that she had landed one by sending him her manuscript accompanied by spoof reviews by famous writers, including two raves by Jilly Cooper and Mary Wesley and a stinker by Germaine Greer.

It must have worked. Freya's latest novel, Rumours, is her 12th and the last 11 were all bestsellers.

Joanne Harris, who found fame with the international bestseller Chocolat, will talk about her fantasy novels Runemarks and Runelight.

Helen Limon, who lives in Northumberland, will talk about her new children's book Om Shanti, Babe, winner of the 2011 Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Award, set up by publishers Frances Lincoln and Seven Stories.

The winner of the 2012 award is to be announced on Tuesday at Seven Stories in Newcastle. …

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