Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Creative Quintet Taking a Tour by the Book (Shop); the Poet Laureate Is Bringing Some Accomplished Friends to Northumberland in Celebration of Indie Bookshops, as DAVID WHETSTONE Explains

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Creative Quintet Taking a Tour by the Book (Shop); the Poet Laureate Is Bringing Some Accomplished Friends to Northumberland in Celebration of Indie Bookshops, as DAVID WHETSTONE Explains

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID WHETSTONE

HITTING the road on a very special national tour this weekend is a creative quintet led by the Poet Laureate - and on the itinerary is a church in the Tyne Valley.

It was Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate since 2009, who came up with the idea of a tour with fellow poets to celebrate the country's independent bookshops.

She was delighted, she says, when her publisher, Picador, responded enthusiastically along with The Booksellers Association and, not surprisingly, independent bookshops across the country.

"It is my belief that there is not a writer or a reader in the land who is not passionate about independent, local bookshops," she says.

So it is that Shore to Shore was conceived - a 14-day tour of the country by Carol Ann Duffy, three other poets and musician John Sampson to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Independent Bookshop Week (June 18-25).

The tour begins in Falmouth on June 19 and wends its way north through England and Wales before arriving in Corbridge, Northumberland, on Wednesday, June 29.

The event, in association with Forum Books, located in Corbridge Market Place, will take place in the village's St Andrew's Church.

Forum Books, owned by Helen Stanton, was judged best independent bookshop in the North of England earlier this year.

There is also a Shore to Shore date at Carlisle Cathedral the night before - Tuesday, June 28 - in association with local bookshop Bookends.

A big night is in prospect for staff at both shops preparing to welcome some of the biggest names in contemporary poetry.

Carol Ann Duffy will be accompanied by Gillian Clarke, the National Poet of Wales, Jackie Kay, the National Poet of Scotland (properly known as the Makar) and Imtiaz Dharker, recipient of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014.

Imtiaz Dharker, born in Pakistan but brought up in Glasgow, is published by Bloodaxe Books, based in Hexham.

Strictly speaking, she is not the nationmal poet of anywhere, but Carol Ann Duffy explains: "If there were to be a World Laureate, then for me the role could only be filled by Imtiaz Dharker. …

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