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Jackie’s Festival Blog

Wandering in Berwick

Welcome to the (updated) second part of my brief look at Berwick as the star of the Literary Festival (fitting, as a new film about Robert the Bruce, ‘Outlaw King’, was filming in the town when I wrote this in 2017). My last post encouraged you to wet your whistle and whet your appetite in…

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Eating and drinking in Berwick

For last year’s (2017) Literary Festival in Berwick I compiled a post about Berwick’s eateries. It was by no means exhaustive and was a personal take on eating and drinking in and around Berwick. As we approach the tourist season this year, I thought I’d update my listings. There’s also a post about wandering in…

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Quirks of fate, hard work and sheer bloody-mindedness: how to get published

Northumberland-based writers Caroline Roberts (publisher: Harper Impulse, contemporary romance) and Stephanie Butland (publisher: Bonnier Zaffre, commercial literary) are doing a joint gig at the Berwick Literary Festival in October. They’ll be chatting to Newcastle blogger and creative writing tutor Victoria Watson about writing novels and getting them published. I caught up with these two marvellous…

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This book will change your life…

Books really do have the power to change lives and influence the reader in both subtle and startling ways. They also help us set down markers in time: what were you reading thirty-one years ago? Thirty-one years ago, I was engrossed in Olivia Manning’s The Balkan and Levant Trilogies, collectively known as The Fortunes of…

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A life of privilege, power, politics and passion


As any decent creative writing teacher will tell you, conflict is at the heart of storytelling, and it’s the contradictions within a character that make them believable. Mike Fraser’s talk, based on his meticulously researched study: ‘Sir Charles Trevelyan of Wallington: Northumberland’s Upper-Class Socialist MP’ (A Blue Button Publication), was the story of a man…

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Poetry and tea and cake! A perfect day.


Do rhyming couplets thrill you? Does blank verse sooth your soul? Does Haiku make you happy? And iambic pentameter lift your senses? Check out the Poetry Café, humming with fun, tea, coffee and snacks at St Aidan’s Hall, Saturday 22nd October, 10am to 3pm – free entry. The hall is bang opposite Festival hub, The Corner House Café…

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Literary Festival with a heart (2): Schools Programme


Engaging children and young people in the written and illustrated word has to be a key goal of any literary festival – after all, young people are the festival attendees of the future. Of course, it’s not always easy to lure youngsters along to events. That’s why the Berwick Literary Festival aims to meet children…

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‘The Confessions of Stella Moon’, Shelley Day

Stella Moon

Here’s a good taste of one of our Festival authors’ work – Shelley Day’s ‘Stella Moon’ – from Vic Watson (aka Elementary Watson). Vic’s a Newcastle-based writer, blogger, creative writing tutor, copyeditor and proofreader. Her blog is crammed with insightful and thoughtful reviews. She’s very kindly given me permission to reproduce today’s offering below. This really makes me want…

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A literary festival with a heart: poetry in care homes

Pamela Wright

I am even more in love with the Berwick Literary Festival today than I was yesterday.  This is because I met with Pamela Wright this morning. Pamela is a member of the Festival steering group and responsible for areas of the Festival that reach out into the community in ways that are beyond the remit…

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