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Northern Bookshelf Live

A stack of new books written by Northern authors

Welcome Northern Bookshelf Live 2024 – a new scheme from New Writing North, connecting the best writers with libraries and readers across the North of England.   

Building on New Writing North’s previous Read Regional scheme for libraries, as well as our quarterly Northern Bookshelf newsletter, Northern Bookshelf Live supports author events in local libraries.

From spring onwards, libraries will be hosting in-person events in their regions with Northern authors who have recently published books. Our selection of ten brilliant authors, who all live and work in the North of England, have previously been featured in our Northern Bookshelf newsletter.

Keep an eye on this page to see events happening near you in 2024!

Featured authors:

  • Author photo of Ashleigh Nugent

    Ashleigh Nugent

    Ashleigh is a writer, performer and director at RiseUp, based in Liverpool. Ashleigh’s debut novel Locks was published in June 2023 and was optioned for TV by BAFTA award nominees 2LE Media.

  • Author photo of Jane Claire Bradley

    Jane Claire Bradley

    Jane Claire Bradley is an award-winning queer, working-class writer, performer and educator living in Manchester. She writes fiction, short stories, essays and poetry, including her novel Dear Neighbour (2023).

  • Author photo of Jessica Irena Smith

    Jessica Irena Smith

    Jessica Irena Smith is writer and artist who is Newcastle-upon-Tyne born and bred and now lives in County Durham. The Summer She Vanished (2023), a gripping crime thriller, is her debut novel.

  • Author photo of Karen Powell

    Karen Powell

    Karen Powell is a previous Northern Writers’ Award-winner who lives in North Yorkshire. Fifteen Wild Decembers (2023) is her second novel, and has been shortlisted in the inaugral Nero Book Awards.

  • Author photo of Kit Fan

    Kit Fan

    Kit Fan is an award-winning poet and novelist based in York. The Ink Cloud Reader (2023) is his third poetry collection, and was shortlised for both the Forward Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize.

  • Author photo of Lucy Nichol

    Lucy Nichol

    Lucy Nichol is an experienced writer and mental health advocate based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Her latest novel, No Worries if Not! is a relatable and funny feminist read, published in August 2023. 

  • Author photo of Naomi Kelsey

    Naomi Kelsey

    Naomi Kelsey is the winner of two Northern Writers’ Awards, and lives in Newcastle upon Tyne where she works an English teacher. The Burnings, inspired by historical witch trials, is her debut novel.

  • Author photo of Okechukwu Nzelu

    Okechukwu Nzelu

    Okechukwu Nzelu won a 2015 Northern Writers’ Award and is based in Manchester. His second novel, Here Again Now (2022) was shortlisted for the RSL Encore Award and longlisted for the Polari Prize, the Jhalak Prize and the Diverse Book Awards.

  • Author photo of Polly Atkin

    Polly Atkin

    Polly Atkin (FRSL) is a poet and nonfiction writer living in the Lake District. Some Of Us Just Fall: On Nature and Not Getting Better (2023) is a memoir exploring place, belonging and disability.

  • Author photo of Rose Wilding

    Rose Wilding

    Rose Wilding is a queer, working class writer from Newcastle Upon Tyne, who lives in Cheshire. She studied creative writing at the University of Manchester, and published her first crime novel, Speak of the Devil, in 2023.

Featured books:

Find an event near you

  • Lucy Nichol at Ingleby Barwick Library, 26 Feb

    Monday 26 February, 6.30pm to 8pm
    Book here

    Meet author Lucy Nichol as she introduces a romcom for chronic over-apologisers everywhere – No worries if not!

    No worries if not! tells the story of Charlotte when she resolves to stop saying sorry for a year. When her space is invaded by a manspreader, Charlotte lets rip and finds herself unwittingly going viral on social media. With a touch of romance, a splash of comedy and some lovable Geordie spirit it’s an uplifting and relatable read.

    Lucy is a writer and mental health advocate based in Newcastle upon Tyne.

    Books will be available to purchase on the night from Drake the Bookshop

  • Lucy Nichol at Newcastle City Library, 2 Mar

    Saturday 2 March, 1:30-3pm
    Book here

    This International Women’s Month, City Library invites Newcastle writer and mental health advocate Lucy Nichol to talk about her latest book, No Worries if Not!, a romcom for chronic over-apologisers everywhere.

    Lucy Nichol is a writer and mental health advocate based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Her published works include: No Worries if Not!, Parklife, The Twenty Seven Club, Snowflake and A Series of Unfortunate Stereotypes.

    Lucy has also written extensively in the national media, with a particular focus on mental health and addiction stigma, and has worked on behalf of Mind and Recovery Connections and with a range of TV soaps and dramas to ensure responsible mental health portrayals.

  • Author photo of Rose Wilding

    Rose Wilding at Ramsbottom Library, 13 Mar

    Wednesday 13 March, 2pm
    Free, no booking required, more info here

    Meet Rose Wilding as she talks about her first crime novel Speak of the Devil, described as ‘a powerful feminist thriller…twisted in the best way’.

  • Author photo of Karen Powell

    Karen Powell at Radcliffe Library, 19 Mar

    Tuesday 19 March, 2pm
    Free, no booking required, more info here

    Meet Karen Powell, a previous Northern Writers’ Award winner, who will give an insight into her work and her latest novel Fifteen Wild Decembers, which has been shortlisted in the inaugural Nero Book Awards.

  • Rose Wilding at Newcastle City Library, 23 Mar

    Saturday 23 March, 1:30-3pm
    Book here

    Seven women stand in shock in a seedy hotel room; a man’s severed head sits in the centre of the floor. Each of the women – the wife, the teenager, the ex, the journalist, the colleague, the friend, and the woman who raised him – has a very good reason to have done it, yet each swears she did not. Against the ticking clock of a murder investigation, each woman’s secret is brought to light as the connections between them converge to reveal a killer.

    An addictive feminist thriller about love, loyalty, and manipulation, Speak of the Devil explores the roles in which women are cast in the lives of terrible men… and the fallout when they refuse to stay silent for one moment longer.

    Rose Wilding is a queer, working class writer from Newcastle Upon Tyne, who lives in Cheshire. She studied creative writing at the University of Manchester, and published her first crime novel, Speak of the Devil, in 2023.

    Rose will join us in conversation on her debut crime novel and round out our 2024 Women’s History Month programme.

  • Author photo of Lucy Nichol

    Lucy Nichol at Hull Central Library, 9 May

    Thursday 9 May, workshop 3:30-5pm, author talk 7-8pm

    In the lead-up to Mental Health Awareness Week, Hull author Lucy Nichol will lead a workshop exploring mental health stigma in the media and popular culture, discuss how to avoid using it, and share examples of positive portrayals. Book for free here.

    She will then chat to Louise Beech about her writing career, her new feminist romcom No Worries if Not! (2023) and her two Hull-set 90s novels The Twenty Seven Club (2022) and Parklife (2021), followed by an audience Q&A. Book for free here.

  • Author photo of Rose Wilding

    Rose Wilding at Elland Library, 14 May

    Tuesday 14 May, 2pm
    Book here

    Meet Rose Wilding as she talks about her first crime novel Speak of the Devil, described as ‘a powerful feminist thriller…twisted in the best way’.

    A 45 minute conversation, followed by 10-15 mins of questions from the audience. There will also be an opportunity for book signing.

  • Author photo of Lucy Nichol

    Lucy Nichol at Blyth Library, 14 May

    Tuesday 14 May, 7pm
    Book here

    Lucy Nichol is a writer and mental health advocate based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Her published works include: No Worries if Not!, Parklife, The Twenty Seven Club, Snowflake, and A Series of Unfortunate Stereotypes. Lucy has also written extensively in the national media, with a particular focus on mental health and addiction stigma, and has worked on behalf of Mind and Recovery Connections and with a range of TV soaps and dramas to ensure responsible mental health portrayals.

  • Author photo of Lucy Nichol

    Lucy Nichol at Chester Lane Library, 22 May

    Wednesday 22 May, 6pm
    Book here

    A Night Out/In at the Library with Lucy Nichol.

    Join us for a cosy night in at the library with northern author, Lucy Nichol! Dive into a world of what happens when you stop saying sorry!

    Books will be available to purchase on the night from St Helens Book Stop.

  • Lucy Nichol at Durham Clayport Library, 25 May

    Saturday 25 May, 2:30-3:20pm

    Join local author Lucy Nichol for a talk about her work as a mental health advocate, plus readings and a Q&A session about her fantastic new book No Worries if Not!

    This is a free event, but places are limited. Please book your place by emailing [email protected]

  • Author photo of Jessica Irena Smith

    Jessica Irena Smith at Hebden Bridge Library, 13 Jun

    Thursday 13 June, 7pm
    Book here

    Meet Jessica Irena Smith as she talks about her debut novel The Summer She Vanished, a gripping crime thriller – a missing girl. a murdered woman. How long can a small town bury its past?

    A 45 minute conversation, followed by 10-15 mins of questions from the audience. There will be an opportunity for book signing.

  • Author photo of Okechukwu Nzelu

    Okechukwu Nzelu at Hexham Library, 18 Jun

    Tuesday 18 June, 7pm
    Book here

    Okechukwu Nzelu won a 2015 Northern Writers’ Award from New Writing North and is based in Manchester. His 2019 debut novel, The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney, won a Betty Trask Award; it was also shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Polari First Book Prize, and longlisted for the Portico Prize. In 2021, it was selected for the Kingston University Big Read. His second novel, Here Again Now (2022) was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Encore Award and longlisted for the Polari Prize, the Jhalak Prize and the Diverse Book Awards. He is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Lancaster University.

    Okechukwu joins us to mark Pride Month, in partnership with Hexham Pride, Hexham Book Festival and Queens Hall Arts.

  • Author photo of Rose Wilding

    Rose Wilding at Berwick Library, 20 Jun

    Thursday 20 June, 7pm
    Book here

    Rose Wilding is a queer, working class writer from Newcastle Upon Tyne, who lives in Cheshire. She studied creative writing at the University of Manchester, and published her first crime novel, Speak of the Devil, in 2023. Rose has taken part in both panel-style events with other speakers and in-conversation events as a stand-alone author. For her launch event with New Writing North and The Bound Bookshop, she was interviewed by Ann Cleeves, before embarking on a nationwide tour of appearances to celebrate the books’ release.

    Rose will be in conversation with Jackie Kaines-Lang.

  • Jessica Irena Smith at Consett Library, 22 Jun

    Saturday 22 June, 10:30-11:30am

    Help us to celebrate National Crime Reading Month this June and join Consett author Jessica Irena Smith for a talk about her debut thriller The Summer She Vanished.

    This is a free event, but places are limited. Please book your place by emailing [email protected]

  • Rose Wilding at Sunderland City Library, 22 Jun

    Saturday 22 June, 2-3pm
    Book here

    Culture House Sunderland is delighted to welcome North-East author Rose Wilding for an afternoon talk about her thrilling debut crime novel Speak of the Devil. After the gruesome discovery of a headless body of a man on a cold winter morning in Newcastle in 1999, the novel follows a haunting police investigation and the lives of seven women linked to the crime, all of whom claim to be innocent. Against the ticking clock of the murder investigation, each woman’s secret is brought to light as the connections between them converge to reveal a killer. Rising star novelist, Rose studied at Sunderland University before obtaining a MA in Creative Writing from Manchester University under the tutelage of author Jeanette Winterson. During the event, she will be talking about her writing career and inspirations when creating this exciting one-of-a-kind novel.

  • Karen Powell, Naomi Kelsey and Polly Atkin at Central Library & Archives Halifax, 29 Jun

    Saturday 29 June, 1:30pm
    Book here

    Karen Powell, Naomi Kelsey and Polly Atkin will speak at Central Library & Archives in Halifax, about their work and topics such as writing as an important tool for women to voice their experiences.

    A 60-minute conversation, followed by 10-15 mins of questions from the audience. There will also be an opportunity for book signing.

  • Author photo of Jane Claire Bradley

    Jane Claire Bradley at Thatto Heath Library, 17 Jul

    Wednesday 17 July, 6pm
    Book here

    Come chat with Jane Claire Bradley at the library about her latest book and writing journey and celebrate St Helens Pride 2024.

    Books will be available to purchase on the night from St Helens Book Stop.

  • Lucy Nichol at Houghton Library, 18 Jul

    Thursday 18 July, 6:30-7:30pm
    Book here

    Join us in an evening talk with author and mental health campaigner Lucy Nichol on her newly released book, No Worries If Not. In this wonderfully humorous novel, after one too many life incidents, central character Charlotte Thomas decides to stop saying sorry to everything – sorry for just doing her job or speaking her mind or simply taking up space as a woman in the world. Follow Charlotte on a life changing, emotional and hilarious journey where each step confirms the power of standing up for yourself. Author of several fiction novels, a non-fiction book and former columnist for several national newspapers and magazines, Lucy will talk about her eclectic writing career as well as her passionate engagement with mental health awareness.

  • Author photo of Ashleigh Nugent

    Ashleigh Nugent at Hull Central Library, 18 Jul

    Thursday 18 July, workshop TBC, author talk 7-8pm

    More details to come

  • Naomi Kelsey at Spennymoor Library, 3 Aug

    Saturday 3 August, 10:30-11:30am

    Help us to celebrate the first anniversary of Spennymoor’s new library and join author Naomi Kelsey for a talk about her new novel The Burnings.

    This is a free event, but places are limited. Please book your place by emailing [email protected]

  • Naomi Kelsey at Washington Library, 7 Aug

    Wednesday 7 August, 6:30-7:30pm
    Book here

    Be part of our exciting event where Newcastle-based author Naomi Kelsey will be discussing her debut historical novel The Burnings set in North Berwick during the witch trials. Inspired by the incredible true story that set 16th-century Scotland and Denmark alight, The Burnings follows the story of two unlikely characters who join forces to try and evade a grisly fate. Naomi Kelsey is an award-winning author, having won two Northern Writers’ Awards. Her fiction has been published in magazines and shortlisted for several further awards including the Bridport Prize and Bristol Prize. When she doesn’t write, she teaches English at a large secondary school in Newcastle. Naomi will be discussing her novel, career and writing inspirations.

  • Author photo of Rose Wilding

    Rose Wilding at Hull Central Library, 21 Sep

    Saturday 21 September, 7-8pm

    More details to come

  • Author photo of Ashleigh Nugent

    Ashleigh Nugent at St Helens Library, 23 Oct

    Wednesday 23 October, 6pm
    Book here

    Join us for a wonderful evening with local author and performer, Ashleigh Nugent as we hear all about his award-winning book, Locks.

    Celebrating Black History Month.

    Books will be available to purchase on the night from St Helens Book Stop.

  • More events coming soon!

Find more about Northern Bookshelf Live here

 

Love reading? Sign up to our quarterly Northern Bookshelf newsletter and receive all the updates on new releases, events and extra bookish content.  

If you have any questions about Northern Bookshelf Live, or want to find out how your library can get involved, email us at [email protected]