Turn Up For The Books 2023: opportunity for 18-25 year-olds based in Co. Durham

Posted by

Turn Up For The Books is a project designed as part of Durham Book Festival to give young people aged 18-25 an insight into careers within literature, the arts and events programming.  

Founded in 1990, Durham Book Festival is one of the country’s oldest literary festivals. Run by New Writing North with support from Durham County Council and Durham University, each year we bring world-class writers, thinkers and performers to the North East. Events at previous festivals have included appearances from Philip Pullman, Bill Bryson, Pat Barker, Jung Chang, PD James and Simon Armitage. 

Alongside more traditional author events, Durham Book Festival also commissions new writing each year across all forms, and runs community projects such as library workshops and the Little Read. You can find out more about what we do on our website.  

Book festivals create a hive of activity where writers, professionals and readers can come together. They offer a great opportunity to engage with the wider ecosystem of the book industry on your own doorstep, and gain hands-on experience and skills. As we build our programme for the 2023 Festival, we would once again like to invite a cohort of curious and ambitious young people to be part of the creative process.  

We are looking for a group of young people currently living in County Durham to participate in the programme, which will involve:

  • Three days of industry-based workshops and training, including: An introduction to book festivals and events; Demystifying publishing and careers in books; Project and event management skills. The workshops will be led by diverse panels of professionals from across the sector, and will include practical exercises as well as real world insights. 
  • The opportunity to programme (and deliver!) an exclusive event for the Festival in October 2023 
  • Behind the scenes insight into Durham Book Festival, from programme planning to final delivery 
  • The opportunity to review an event at Durham Book Festival 2023 
  • Exclusive access to all events across the Festival. 

Who can apply? 

In order to take part, participants must be available for the following dates: 

  • 16 June (in-person, Durham)  
  • 28 July (online, via Zoom) 
  • 29 September (in-person, Durham) 
  • 13-15 October (Durham Book Festival) 
  • 25 October (debrief, online via Zoom) 

Participants must also be over 18 and under 26 years of age on the day of the first session (16 June), as well as resident of County Durham. This includes undergraduate and post graduate students of Durham University. Final year students who will no longer be studying in County Durham at the time of the Festival in October will not be eligible. We encourage applicants from all levels of experience and background. You do not need any previous experience or any qualifications, and there will be a small stipend available to cover local travel for each participant.  

In the application form, we will ask you to tell us why you wish to join the programme, and to provide an example of some form of writing or journalism. This could be a short book review or theatre review, an article, blog, YouTube video etc. It doesn’t need to be published anywhere. 

How do I apply? 

Places are limited so please apply via this form if you are interested. The deadline for applications is midnight on Wednesday 7 June. Successful applicants will be notified by Friday 9 June. The first day of workshops will take place in Durham City Centre on Friday 16 June.  

If you have any questions regarding the programme please get in touch with New Writing North via [email protected].