Durham Book Festival is a Durham County Council event produced by New Writing North with support from Durham University and Arts Council England. It is part of Durham County Council’s exciting festivals programme.

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Founded in 1990, Durham Book Festival is one of the country’s oldest literary festivals.

The festival takes place in and around the beautiful city of Durham each October. In 2023, the festival will take place at Gala Durham, Clayport Library and Collected Books. All Gala Durham events will be live-streamed so if you are unable to make it to Durham, you can also watch from home.

Every year the Durham Book Festival invites a range of thinkers, writers and performers to appear. Events at previous festivals have included appearances from Philip Pullman, Bill Bryson, Pat Barker, Jung Chang, PD James, Simon Armitage and Lemn Sissay.

Alongside more traditional author events, Durham Book Festival commissions new writing each year across all forms. Previous festival commissions have included a dance-theatre retelling of Rapunzel from Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy; historian David Olusoga’s essay Black and British: Growing up in the North East; and journalism examining the legacy of the Miners’ Strike, from writers including Richard Benson and Anne McElvoy.

Our commissions originate in Durham and are often available online or published in the national media.


Venue information

This year’s festival takes place at Gala Theatre and Clayport Library in Millennium Place, Durham, DH1 1WA.

Further events will be held at Collected Books, 44 Riverwalk, DH1 4SL

Keep in touch

Facebook: DurhamBookFestival

Twitter: @durhambookfest #DBF22

Instagram: @durhambookfest

For access queries, please email [email protected]


We try hard to ensure that Durham Book Festival is accessible to all:

Events from the Gala will be live-streamed and live-captioned by Stagetext.

If you are attending an event at Clayport Library or Collected Books and need further access support please get in touch.

If you require a BSL interpreter we will endeavour to provide this. Please inform the Box Office staff when booking your tickets. We will need minimum two weeks’ advance notice.

Gala Theatre access information:

There are lifts to all levels and accessible toilets located throughout.

Wheelchair spaces are available – if using a wheelchair, please just advise the Box Office when booking to ensure your seats or spaces are allocated accordingly.

For disabled customers who need a little more help, we offer a personal assistant ticket free of charge, please ask at Box Office.

Assistance dogs are welcome at Gala Durham.

Gala Theatre operates the Sennheiser infrared amplification system in the main auditorium – headsets are available at Box Office.

Clayport Library access information:

Clayport Library has public lifts, accessible toilets and a loop system installed.


Concessions are available to anyone receiving unemployment or disability benefit, full time students, senior citizens and young people up to 21 years old. Proof of status or ID is required when booking or collecting your tickets.

About Durham

Durham boasts a spectacular and varied landscape, combining a rugged coastline with breath-taking dales and a bustling city steeped in history. The home-place of writers such as Basil Bunting, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Anne Stevenson, Durham has a strong literary tradition that underpins the annual Book Festival.

Durham City’s profound sense of heritage is matched by its commitment to progress. The dramatic city skyline is one of the most stunning panoramas in Europe, and is dominated by the ‘UK’s number one landmark’ Durham Cathedral and its adjacent castle – a world UNESCO heritage site. It is also home to one of the finest universities in the country, with Durham University ranked fifth in the Guardian University Guide 2019 and consistently pioneering world-class innovation in research.

The Durham Dales and the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are home to incredible scenery and fascinating attractions, including The Bowes Museum, a magnificent French-style chateau housing an impressive collection of European and fine arts, and medieval Raby Castle, home to Lord Barnard’s family since 1626. And don’t miss High Force, one of England’s largest waterfalls.

In the Vale of Durham you can step back in time and experience Beamish, The Living Museum of the North, or board a steam train at Locomotion: The National Railway Museum at Shildon. The seventeenth-century Palace Green Library in Durham’s World Heritage site houses books and manuscripts dating from the medieval period onwards, ranging from illuminated tracts to the diaries of prominent suffragette Else Headlam Morley. Once you’ve had your fill of culture, get into the great outdoors and set out on one of Durham’s coastal walks or moorland hiking trails, including the awe-inspiring Waskerley Way and the imposing headlands and wave-swept beaches of Durham’s Heritage Coast.

When it’s time to refuel, you’ll be spoilt for choice at Durham’s many restaurants, gastropubs, cafés and tearooms. Look out for the Taste Durham Award, a sign of great food and service proudly displayed at over 60 businesses across the county.

To find out more about Durham and to book your perfect break visit the official tourism website here.

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