Northern Bookshelf Live: A new scheme to connect authors with readers through local library events

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Inspired by New Writing North’s popular reader’s newsletter which goes out each quarter, packed full of new releases, literary news, podcast episodes and other bookish content, we’re launching Northern Bookshelf Live: a new scheme to bring more literary events to readers in the North. With support from Arts Council England, we’re helping libraries across the regions to host events with talented authors based in the North of England.  

Our inaugural list of ten writers will be visiting participating libraries through spring and summer of 2024. Their work ranges from crime fiction, to memoir, to poetry, and all have previously been featured in the Northern Bookshelf newsletter. At their events they will be focusing on their most recent publications, taking part in Q&As, talks, book signings and more. 

Northern Bookshelf Live authors 2024:

Ashleigh Nugent
Jane Claire Bradley
Jessica Irena Smith
Karen Lisa Powell
Kit Fan
Lucy Nichol
Naomi Kelsey
Okechukwu Nzelu
Polly Atkin
Rose Wilding

A collage of author photos and book covers


Read more about our selected authors and their books here


Karen Powell, a previous Northern Writers’ Award-winner who this year published her second novel, Fifteen Wild Decembers, had this to say: 

“Ever since I was a small child, libraries have been wondrous places to me. I can still remember waiting in the queue to check out another heap of Topsy and Tim picture books, and the thrilling clunk of the librarian’s stamp which I tried to recreate with an old date stamp in my own ‘library’ at home. I am delighted, therefore, to be taking part in Northern Bookshelf Live, a partnership programme connecting authors with readers across the North of England, and supporting everything our libraries do to ensure literature is accessible to all.” 

So far, we’ve been able to share resources with librarians as part of the scheme, including some of our accumulated knowledge on running events, thinking about accessibility, working with authors and digital marketing techniques. We’ve also offered grants to go towards event costs, online skills development, and will be supporting the widespread promotion of activity taking place in libraries in 2024.  

Readers will be able to see if an event is happening in their local library by checking our Northern Bookshelf Live listings page, which will feature everything taking place from spring onwards. They can also subscribe to the Northern Bookshelf newsletter, which along with all the usual Northern bookish content, will also include updates on events coming up and links to book tickets.  

We’ve got a growing history of working with librarians to champion the brilliant work they already do in bringing excellent Northern writing to readers in their regions, and are really excited for this new chapter. In a time when arts programming is facing more challenges and slimmer resources, we hope this scheme will encourage accessible and enjoyable literary events to continue to take place in communities. 

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