Durham Book Festival 2017 comes to a close

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It has been a bumper year for Durham Book Festival, with a record number of people attending events across the city over ten days this year. We launched with a special screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at Durham Cathedral in celebration of 20 years since the book’s first publication.

The three Harry Potter screenings sold out within 12 hours – the first record broken for the festival this year, but by no means the last. The festival also broke its previous sales figures for number of seats sold!

We had visits from television and radio stars including Tony Robinson, Robert Webb, Jenni Murray, June Sarpong and Stephen McGann were programmed alongside exciting artists such as poets Andrew McMillan, and Sinead Morrissey, graphic novelists Una and Mary Talbot, and North East writer Carmen Marcus. Sell-out fiction events included names such as Kamila Shamsie, Tracy Chevalier and Booker-prize winners Roddy Doyle and Alan Hollinghurst, and emerging names such as Chibundu Onuzo and Jen Campbell.

Highlights from our friends at Durham University this year included historian and BBC Next Generation Thinker Dr Eleanor Barraclough, award-winning theoretical physicist Dr Tom McLeish and acclaimed writer and creative writing professor Claire Harman.

For this year’s Big Read, 3000 people across County Durham received a free copy of the short story collection Half a Creature from the Sea by North East writer David Almond, with many more attending both reading and writing workshops across the county and events based around the book.

Thank you to those of you who visited the festival this year; we look forward to seeing you again in 2018 for an even bigger and better event!

Rebecca Wilkie
Senior Programme Manager (Festivals and Events)