2024 Hexham Book Festival line up unveiled

55 events, including film screenings, writing workshops and book group events, will take place across Hexham, in venues including the Queen’s Hall and Forum Cinema.

Hexham Book Festival is back in its traditional Spring slot and taking over the town of Hexham for 10 days.

In a year of elections – both here, and across the pond – a cost-of-living crisis, war in Europe and the ramping up of climate change, Hexham Book Festival returns with big discussions, amazing writers, and beautiful poetry. Hexham Book Festival, which was founded in 2006, has welcomed tens of thousands of people to its events, and in 2023 was back to pre-pandemic audience numbers.

The Hexham Book Festival Family Day – StoryLand – will take place on Saturday 29 June, and the Schools Festival will run from 1-5 July. More information on these programmes will be available soon.

Domestic politics and the impending General Election will never be far from any discussion this Spring – not least with local and mayoral elections the week of the festival this year. Politicians and commentators alike will be coming to Hexham to offer their viewpoint and opinion; join in the discussion with Wes Streeting, Ian Dunt, Nigel Fletcher, Raymond Newell and Will Hutton.

Further afield, international politics are still very much on everyone’s minds as Russia bears its teeth, China grows ever-stronger and the prospect of another Trump presidency looks all the more real. The view from overseas, including diplomacy and the lack thereof, will be the topic of discussion for Angus Hanton on the USA, Robin Niblett on China, Subhadra Das on beliefs that founded the West and Liam Fox on the wars over water which might be coming.

Society – and what society might mean, and look like – is the subject for a host of writers and journalists speaking at this year’s festival. Cathy Newman looks at women who broke the mould; Marianna Spring talks about online trolling and hate; Suzanne Heywood reveals what the impact of a very unorthodox childhood is; and Helen Russell shares what raising a child in Scandinavia looks like (and how we Brits can learn from them!)

For something a bit more light-hearted, Hexham Book Festival will welcome farmer’s wife Helen Rebanks on the tough but rewarding life on the farm she and her farmer and campaigner husband James Rebanks have built in Cumbria; broadcaster and writer Stuart Maconie will regale with stories from walking across England; and food writer Pen Vogler brings her history of good food to life for audiences.

For fiction lovers, the traditional Hexham Book Group discussion returns, as well as an exclusive Proof Party where the audience will leave with 3 books which aren’t even published until August! Novelist Sarah Perry (The Essex Serpent, Melmoth) will be in conversation with fellow novelist Sarah Hall (Haweswater).

For poetry lovers, former Scottish Makar (and festival favourite) Jackie Kay returns with her first collection in nearly a decade, while Imtiaz Dharker and Len Pennie will enthral audiences with their words and performances. Kathleen Jamie and Lavinia Greenlaw will present work together, in a special event sponsored by The Biscuit Factory.

Susie Troup, Director of Hexham Book Festival, says:

“We’re thrilled so many wonderful writers, journalists, politicians and poets are coming to Hexham to headline events, and we can’t wait to hear what they have to say – especially in an election year, there’s a lot to talk about!”

Storyland Children’s Book Festival

The Hexham Book Festival Family Day – StoryLand – will take place on Saturday 29 June, and the Schools Festival will run from 1-5 July.

The full programme for Hexham Book Festival 2024, as well as booking information, is available to view at www.hexhambookfestival.co.uk.

Tickets go on general sale on 4 March with Priority Booking on 2 and 3 March 2024.