Visits from internationally renowned authors

One of my main roles is Reader Development Librarian for South Tyneside Libraries. What does that mean I hear you cry? Well basically I have the best job in the world – my whole working day revolves around books and reading. I get to meet authors, poets, publishers, literary agents and put on a wide range of events.

It has been a spectacular year since we moved to The Word and we’ve had some outstanding events featuring old friends and new.

It all started in October with a visit from David Baddiel – the great British comedian, novelist and television presenter – and yes I was lucky enough have lunch with him and Ann Cleeves.

“It’s absolutely brilliant. What I do, both as an author and also as a comedian is predominantly about storytelling, so to have a whole building dedicated to storytelling in all its forms is just amazing.” – David Baddiel, at the official opening of The Word, October 2016.

Our next event was on a very stormy evening in November. AD Garrett (aka Margaret Murphy and Helen Pepper) braved the storm to come and visit:

“I’ve always relished my visits at South Tyneside Libraries, and have given readings in both my writerly guises over the years. The staff are friendly and welcoming, and their enthusiasm and hard work always ensures a brilliant turnout to events. I thought it couldn’t get much better. But last November, I was privileged, with my forensic adviser, to be invited to talk to readers at The Word. What a beautiful building! I love its luscious curves and fabulous, bright interior spaces as much as its widely inclusive cultural appeal. As for our event – despite floods and gale force winds, we had pretty much a full house, with both readers and staff providing a typically warm Tyneside welcome”

Our good friend, Ann Cleeves, has visited us twice this year each time bringing an important guest with her. Alison O’Donnell (Tosh) from BBC’s Shetland and Adrian Pitches from BBC Look North have both accompanied Ann.
“As soon as I visited The Word I could tell it would be a brilliant place for events. It’s a place to share with friends.”

Pan Macmillan brought their Big North Book Run to us and it was most definitely one of the high points of our year with a visit from the one and only David Baldacci. He enthralled the audience and our issues of his books went through the roof.

Our 5 day WRITE Festival was full of unmissable events including writing workshops, performances, storytelling, song writing, poetry slams and more as we celebrated writing in all its forms with a host of award-winning writers. Culminating in a visit from Mark Billingham and Chris Brookmyre. The chicken story was monumental, you really had to be there.

It’s been a wonderful first year. Who knows what will happen next year. Look out for WRITE 2018!


Pauline Martin, Reader Development Librarian