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Newark Book Festival to host online virtual programme of authors and workshops this weekend

The first chapter opens on this year’s Newark Book Festival at the weekend.

Due to coronavirus, the usual public talks, stalls and activities have been shelved.

The postcard designed for Newark Book Festival 2020 (31715534)
The postcard designed for Newark Book Festival 2020 (31715534)

Instead, organisers have taken the festival online with a virtual programme of author events, workshops and panel discussions that explore history, crime fiction, gothic and storytelling.

Later in the year, subject to restrictions, it is hoped to hold public events such as the Literature Village, walks, and children’s activities.

This year’s festival is on the theme of anniversaries, from 100 years of the first publication of an Agatha Christie novel to 35 years of Live Aid.

Historian Emily Brand, from Nottinghamshire, will share her new book, The Fall Of The House Of Byron, a sweeping history of the 18th Century through the eyes of one notorious family, in an online session on Saturday morning.

To mark the birth of Anne Brontë 200 years ago, an expert panel on Saturday afternoon will celebrate the life and works of the Brontës over the years.

The panel will feature BookTuber Lucy Powrie, Lauren Livesey from the Brontë Parsonage Museum, and Sunday Times bestselling author Rowan Coleman.

For crime fiction lovers, the Crime Through The Ages panel, on Saturday morning, will host four crime authors, including Mick Finlay, Frances Brody, Rod Reynolds and brought to you by resident chairman and organiser of Hull Noir, Nick Quantrill.

The Saturday evening headliner is Sophie Hannah talking about Agatha, Poirot And Me and her coaching programme for writers.

Other author talks include a gothic fiction panel with Jess Kidd, Sarah Ward and debut author Francine Toon; historical fiction author Giles Kristian in conversation with Mark Turnbull, who launched his book on the history of the Civil War last year in Newark; international bestseller Kate Mosse and author of Jambusters and Dressed For War Julie Summers.

The digital festival will still include events for children with a Facebook live storytime from BeanBlock café and the whole family are invited to get involved as children’s author Claire Barker shares her series of Picklewitch And Jack books, recommended for those aged six to ten.

There are also two workshops for aspiring writers.

The festival’s 2020 poet in residence Leanne Moden hosts a real writing for wellbeing workshop at Carriages and a memory writing workshop on Zoom.

To view the full programme and buy tickets for the events, go to www.newarkbookfestival.org.uk/programme

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