Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Legendary Novelist to Give Taster of Festival

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Legendary Novelist to Give Taster of Festival

Article excerpt

Byline: David Whetstone Culture Editor david.whetstone@ncjmedia.com

BIG names in fiction, non-fiction and poetry will be heading to the Tyne Valley for the annual Hexham Book Festival, with novelist Joanna Trollope leading the charge.

The author of such titles as The Choir and A Spanish Lover has a new one out, City of Friends, which she will talk about next weekend in a forerunner to the main festival, which starts in April.

The festival line-up, just announced, embraces comedy and tragedy and all things in between.

Comedians Arthur Smith and Tim Brooke-Taylor will be Hexham-bound, as will music writer Paul Morley, author of The Age of Bowie, who will pay tribute to the late David Bowie.

Frank Gardner, the BBC's widely travelled security correspondent, will talk about his debut novel, Crisis, a thriller focusing on Luke Carlton, an ex-Special Boat Service commando now working for British Intelligence in South America.

The festival never fights shy of politics and this year presents two women whose names have long been synonymous with political discourse.

Dame Joan Ruddock, the onetime chair of CND and former Labour MP and minister, will talk about her memoir, Going Nowhere.

Meanwhile, Dame Margaret Hodge, who chaired the House of Commons public accounts committee from 2010-15, will discuss her book, Called To Account.

Guardian columnists Polly Toynbee and David Walker, who have co-authored books and are also married, will discuss their latest, Dismembered, looking at how our public services might fare in a post-Brexit world.

Another celebrated Guardian writer, Gary Younge, will give a talk called Another Day in the Death of America, looking at the country's gun culture, which claims the lives of seven children and teenagers every day.

A special ticket will buy lunch and entry to events hosted by Thomasina Miers, Masterchef winner in 2005, and healthy eating expert Jordan Bourke.

Then a special Bollywood night will feature Vaseem Khan, author of the Baby Ganesh Detective Agency novels, and a screening of Bride & Prejudice, a Bollywood spin on Jane Austen.

Following Joanna Trollope's special festival launch appearance on Saturday, March 4, at the Queen's Hall Arts Centre, Hexham, there will be plenty for fiction lovers to get their teeth into. …

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