Turn Up For The Books

young programmers and event speakers pose on stage

Turn Up For The Books is a project designed as part of Durham Book Festival to give young people aged 18-25 an insight into careers within literature, the arts and events programming.

Founded in 1990, Durham Book Festival is one of the country’s oldest literary festivals. Durham Book Festival is a Durham County Council event, produced by New Writing North with support from Durham University and Arts Council England. Each year we bring world-class writers, thinkers and performers to the North East. Events at previous festivals have included appearances from Philip Pullman, Bill Bryson, Jung Chang, Alexander McCall Smith, Grace Dent, and a special performance of Benjamin Myers’ novel Cuddy, performed by Toby Jones. 

Alongside more traditional author events, Durham Book Festival also commissions new writing each year across all forms, and runs community projects such as library workshops and the Little Read. You can find out more about what we do here.

Book festivals create a hive of activity where writers, professionals and readers can come together. They offer a great opportunity to engage with the wider ecosystem of the book industry on your own doorstep, and gain hands-on experience and skills. As we build our programme for the 2024 Festival, we would once again like to invite young people to be part of the creative process.

We are looking for 15 young people currently living in County Durham to participate in the programme, which will involve: 

  • Three days of industry-based workshops and training, including: 
    • An introduction to book festivals and events 
    • Demystifying publishing and careers in books 
    • Project and event management skills
    • These sessions will be led by professionals from across the sector, and will include practical exercises as well as real world insights 
  • The opportunity to programme and deliver an exclusive event for Durham Book Festival in October 2024 
  • Behind the scenes insight into Durham Book Festival, from programme planning to final delivery 
  • The opportunity to review an event at Durham Book Festival 2024 
  • Access to all events across the Festival

Who can apply?

In order to take part, participants must be available for the following dates:

  • 17 June (in-person, Durham)
  • 29 July (online, via Zoom)
  • 2 October (in-person, Durham)
  • 11-13 October (Durham Book Festival)
  • 25 October (debrief, online via Zoom)

Participants must also be over 18 and under 26 years of age on the day of the first session (17 June), as well as resident of County Durham. We welcome applications from students who are resident in County Durham, including final year students so long as they will still be living in Durham in October 2024. We encourage applicants from all levels of experience and background. You do not need any previous experience or any qualifications, and there will be a small stipend available to cover local travel for each participant.  

In the application form, we will ask you to tell us why you wish to join the programme, and to provide an example of some form of writing or journalism. This could be a short book review or theatre review, an article, blog, YouTube video etc. It doesn’t need to be published anywhere. 

How do I apply?

Places are limited so please apply via this form if you are interested. The deadline for applications is midnight on Monday 3 June. Successful applicants will be notified by Friday 7 June. The first day of workshops will take place in Durham City Centre on Monday 17 June.

If you have any questions regarding the programme, please get in touch with us via [email protected].