WRITE Festival 2021

Our annual celebration of the written word returned from 17 – 25 September with a week long programme of unmissable events, once again showcasing an array of literary and creative talent. We held a range of performances, workshops and talks for a variety of ages at The Word, across South Tyneside Libraries and online.

This year was our 5th annual celebration and launched with a talk from historian Lucy Adlington who joined us to discuss her new book The Dressmakers of Auschwitz – a remarkable true story of resilience, camaraderie and quiet heroism in the most extreme circumstances.

Highly Suspected joined us on Saturday 18 September with their family-friendly murder mystery afternoon for budding crime solvers and detectives!

Then on Sunday 19 September, Sixth Element Publishing held one-to-one online masterclasses, with mentoring on writing, ranging from fiction to non-fiction, children’s books, short stories, memoirs and poetry. Local author Helen Scarlett made her WRITE festival debut with a workshop on how to write a chilling Gothic novel. Helen also gave a talk about her experiences leading up to the publication of her first novel, The Deception of Harriet Fleet. On the same day, youngsters also joined writer and illustrator Julia Stafford for a fun craft session where they made pop-up characters.

On Monday 20 September, Bill Greenwell gave a fascinating talk at Cleadon Park Library on the History of Marsden Rock and Marsden Grotto, and author Margaret Murphy hosted two zoom online writing workshops – one exploring dialogue and the other focusing on starting points.

TV-crime drama enthusiasts joined us on Tuesday evening as Ben Lamb conducted a forensic investigation of police TV series from 1955 to present day.

We held a fantastic costume talk at Jarrow Focus Library with costume historian and dressmaker Meridith Towne, who explored the camping and caravanning fashions of the sixties and seventies on Wednesday afternoon. On the evening we welcomed best-selling authors Harriet Evans and Lissa Evans to The Word as they chatted about their books, The Beloved Girls (Harriet) and V for Victory (Lissa), and their careers as authors.

Best-selling crime writer Nicci French, joined us on Thursday evening to discuss their new book, The Unheard. On Friday 24 September, Creative Calligraphy held an introductory workshop at Hebburn Library where beginners could try their hand at calligraphy. We then welcomed the Yorkshire Shepherdess, Amanda Owen, to The Word as she chatted about her life as a shepherdess, farmer’s wife, mother to nine children, a passionate photographer and as a bestselling author.

Saturday 25 September saw New Writing North host the ‘New Writing Feast’ where teenagers took part in a selection of writing workshops, allowing them to develop their writing skills. For the final event, award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, Ann Cleeves, closed the festival with a talk on her new book The Heron’s Cry.

If you joined us for any WRITE Festival events we hope you had an amazing time and we look forward to welcoming you back for our upcoming events.

Take a look at some of the images below!