The Sunderland Libraries Literature Festival will set out to celebrate all things local this year – with a focus on the north east’s artists, authors, playwrights and musicians.

The festival will offer a range of highlights including a murder mystery evening, screenings of old films, creative writing workshops and events linked to the end of the First World War.

The festival – organised by Sunderland Libraries Services in partnership with the University of Sunderland’s School of Culture – will run from Friday 28th September to Saturday November 3rd and will take place in venues across Wearside.

The festival will kick off with an evening of murder, mystery and guesswork courtesy of The Time Bandits at The Place Café. Other festival highlights will include an audience with popular folk musician Jez Lowe and an event featuring north-east poet Scott Tyrell.

Jez Lowe

There will be a performance of First-World-War-based drama The Muddy Choir, penned by award-winning playwright Jesse Briton, and British Asian crime writer A.A. Dhand will be taking about his work, much of which is set in Bradford.

The Muddy Choir

On Saturday 13th October, a conference – Propaganda, Revolution and Victory – will take place to mark the end of World War One. Key speakers will include Peter Hart – author of The Last Battle: Endgame on the Western Front – and Taylor Dowling, author of Secret Warriors: Key Scientists, Codebreakers and Propagandists of the Great War.

The festival will also feature Seaham-based author Jane Lowes discussing her debut book Horse Keeper’s Daughter and a creative writing workshop courtesy of self-published author Jamie Richards.

University of Sunderland lecturers Colin and Alison Younger will use the festival to launch the mysterious-sounding Grimmer Fairy Tales while costume historian Meredith Towne will be talking about the battle of working-class women to secure the vote.

Film will be a prominent feature of the festival – with visitors being encouraged to bring along any old film footage they posses that they feel might be of interest. Staff from the North East Film Archive will be on hand with old video recorders and hand winders to enable the footage to be played. In addition, selected short films from the archive will be screened.

There will also be craft and poetry activities for children and dyslexia awareness sessions in partnership with the Sunderland Social Inclusion and Dyslexia Project.

Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for communities and culture, Cllr John Kelly, said, “The city has a real wealth of literary and creative talent which we should all be proud of and it’s only right that we should celebrate that.”

“What’s really great about this year’s festival is that we have such a range of themes and events on offer with something for everyone.”

“The majority of the events are free so I’d urge everyone to have a look through the programme to see what they’re interested in and to come along and join in.”

To learn more about the Sunderland Libraries Literature Festival 2018, please go to

A PDF of the full programme can be accessed at

(The featured image is from the Time Bandits’ murder mystery event.)

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