Every year Durham Book Festival commissions new writing and we are thrilled to share our Durham Book Festival 2023 commissions and our archive of commissions from previous years

Festival Laureate

This year’s Festival Laureate is the award-winning poet Zaffar Kunial.

Zaffar Kunial is the author of Us (2018), which was shortlisted for both the Costa Poetry Award and the T. S. Eliot Prize. In 2021, he was awarded the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize for Poetry. His new collection of poetry, England’s Green, was published by Faber in September 2022.

As part of his laureateship, Zaffar appeared at the festival on Friday 13 October, where he presented a newly commissioned poem, ‘Vapour Trails’, inspired by Durham and its ecclesiastical history.


Audio Commission: Cuddy’s Course Self-Guided Literary Walk

St Cuthbert is regarded as the patron Saint of Northern England.

His story has been told by many, from the Anglo-Saxon scholar and Saint, the Venerable Bede and most recently by renowned Durham born writer Benjamin Myers in his novel Cuddy.

We’ve commissioned Ruth Robson, a North East England & Cumbria Blue Badge Tourist Guide, to create a self-guided literary audio walk along the route of Cuddy’s Corse, a waymarked trail from Chester-le-Street to Durham City, also part of the Northern Saints Trails.  

Take the walk

The Little Read

This year’s Little Read is Moth: An Evolution Story, written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Daniel Egnéus.

This beautiful and poetic picture book is about the extraordinary way in which animals have evolved and is a perfect introduction to natural selection and evolution for children.

Find out more

Discover our commissions from over the years