EVENT REVIEW: Lucy Mangan: Bookworm 

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13th October, 2018

Durham Town Hall

Review by Tabitha Peverley

‘Bookworms are born, not made.’

Truer words have never been spoken. In this special one-hour talk by The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan, long-forgotten memories of library visits and books I used to read came back to me. As a kid I used to live for Fridays, as Fridays meant two things: tea at Grandma’s, and after-school library visits. My love of books was strong; I always had a book to hand, I’d devote all my spare time to reading, and the library in the village was my second home. It was something which seemed to vanish once I started doing my A-levels and later my degree at university. Suddenly, I had no time to devote to my beloved books.

Mangan, however, managed to re-awaken the passion I once had for reading. In her book Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading, she talks about her favourite childhood books, which got me thinking about my own. If you asked me as a kid who my favourite author was I’d have said, without hesitation, Jaqueline Wilson. I read all her books and loved them all; I even read her ‘Girls in Love’ series (which was aimed at early teenage girls) at the age of 9. I felt a connection with each and every one of Wilson’s characters: something of which I was reminded when Mangan said ‘the books themselves and the people within them are your friends.’ It is so true – even when my real life friends have let me down, I knew the friends I made in my books never would.

Mangan’s talk, and the Q & A afterwards, made me realise how much I love and miss reading just for fun. There was a definite sense of nostalgia in the air at her talk; you got the sense that everyone in that room was thinking of a specific book or author they love, or used to love. There is something about books which brings out the inner child within us, and that is something Mangan highlighted in the hour she spent with us.

This work was produced by participants on our Durham Book Festival Reviewers in Residence programme, a cultural journalism programme run by New Writing North Young Writers. Reviewers in Residence gives aspiring journalists aged 15-23 the chance to review books, attend events and interview authors at the Durham Book Festival. For more information about New Writing North Young Writers visit the New Writing North website.