Sunday, 31 August 2014

Farewell To Kings by Les Rowley book review

I read this book on holiday recently, and the blurb reads:

100 years after WW1 some scores need settling

Authored by MR Les Rowley
Edition: 1
Nearing 100 years after the end of WW1 and another battle is brewing. Farewell To Kings is the new novel from BBC journalist, Les Rowley, who has drawn on history's darkest period to produce a 200+ page story about an unfinished business from the Belgium Trenches of 1917.

The book, published to mark the centenary anniversary of WW1, is a tale about the quest to find the Holy Grail of WW1 memorabilia. A war museum team has a chance to win the object and hopes the new treasure will save the industry. In the spirit of 1917, it's Germany versus England all over again. Let battle commence.

From Leeds to Ypres, this is a first proper novel from former Loaded journalist and Chris Evans producer. Farewell To Kings is published April 2014 in paperback. For paperback copies contact

It's World At War meets Match Of The Day


The book starts with a prologue in Ypres, Winter 1917, where Jacques Piccard, a Swiss Dr trying to fast-track his surgical career by helping heal the wounded, is chosen as a referee for the Christmas Day football match of peace.  Fast forward to July 2017 and referees are the new heroes of football and Tony Bloom, the Cristiano Ronaldo of referees, is about to endorse a new digital version of the pea whistle that has served referees well for over 100 years.  Meanwhile Martin Kossow, historian at Leeds Imperial War Museum (LIWM), which is suffering in the times of austerity, finds a rare VC at a school fair (one of only 1,800 misspelled medals) which leads him to the home of Horace Taylor who was once a 13 year old witness to the 'match of peace'.  The race is now on to prove the authenticity of the myriad of artefacts (that have now been taken from his home to become a permanent exhibition in the LIWM in the hope that it will raise visitor numbers and awareness of WW1) using an A5 notebook written by the then 13 year old Horace.  Horace, however, feeling that his duty has been done, passes away age 113 to visit his fallen comrades once more and the rare VC goes missing.

The race to prove the authenticity of the artefacts uncovers a plan (The Deauville Offensive) to finish the war a year early and the missing VC medal and the whereabouts of the 'whistle of peace' are now the keys to blowing the lid on the secret from the Great War.

Football, war and history combine in this book written by journalist, writer and television producer Les Rowley, and you can feel the enthusiasm for each subject as you read the story.  It was fortuitous that I read the book at the beginning of August, coinciding with the 100 year anniversary (4 August 2014) and I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in either WW1 or football.

The past is always with us.                                                                                           7/10

#FarewellToKings  #FarewellToKingsMovie  #LesRowley  #WW1  #Football

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Mountain Kingdoms NEW Blog competition, travel tales, deadline 31 September

Thanks to my fellow blogger Sally Jenkins for the following travel story competition information:

To celebrate the launch of our new worldwide blog ‘Travellers' Tales’, we are inviting you to submit your images and travel stories.
Whether it’s a unique experience, a cultural encounter, a trekking tale or a piece of advice, we’d love to hear from you. Our favourite tales and images will be added to our new worldwide blog and shared with like-minded travellers.
Send us a travel story (minimum 100 words) accompanied by a travel photo by 31st September 2014 to enter our competition and to be in with a chance of winning one of three prizes.
1st £75 Bob Books voucher 
2nd £50 Bob Books voucher 
3rd £30 Bob Books voucher 
Plus, send in your entries and automatically receive 15% off the usual photo book prices.
Bob Books - create a book! Bob Books is the perfect platform to showcase your travel photos and to remember your once in a lifetime trip. Bob Books quality photographic papers and professional binding will bring your pictures to vivid life. You can even share and sell your creations via the online Bob Bookshop.
Visit Bob Books
Plus, each year we ask our clients to send us their favourite images. Our favourite images will win discounts off Mountain Kingdoms’ holidays, a travel goodie bag, plus a small payment if used within our brochure.
Good luck, we’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Friday, 29 August 2014

The London Magazine short story competition, deadline 31 October 2014

Submissions are welcome from 1 September for the London Magazine short story competition:

The London Magazine’s prestigious short story competition will be returning for its third year in September.

We are home to some of the very best names in short story writing, including Raymond Carver, Alison MacLeod, Hilary Mantel and William Boyd. To continue its literary history, The London Magazine is always looking for new voices from across the world. Our competitions provide emerging literary talent with an opportunity for publication and distinguished recognition.

Opening date: 1st September 2014
Closing Date: 31st October 2014
 The winner is published in a future issue of The London Magazine. The runners up will be published on our website.
1st Prize: £500
2nd Prize: £300
3rd Prize: £200
The winners will also be announced at a champagne reception at the House of Commons in early 2015. This is a fantastic networking experience and gives the winners a chance to meet The London Magazine team.

Entry fee: £10 per short story.
Entrants from across the world are welcome. There is no limit to the amount of short stories you can submit.

Polly Samson – she is the author of two collections of short stories and a novel and has written lyrics for two number one albums. Her short stories have been published by the Observer, You Magazine, the Sunday Express Magazine and the Guardian Weekend magazine as well as being broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland.

Harriet Kline – she is the winner of last year’s short story competition. She was the winner of Hissac Short Story Competition in 2012. She has also been shortlisted in the Exceter Writers Short Story Competition and the Spelling Ink Competition. She has had stories on Radio 4 and in a Virago Anthology. She lives in Bristol with her partner and two sons.


Please read to competition rules carefully before entering. Read these here.

All rules must be adhered to.

Make sure to include your completed entry form with your submission. The entry form is now available to download.

If you have any questions, please contact Jessica at
To be told when the judges are announced and for exclusive deals, sign up for The London Magazine‘s Official Newsletter. Sign up here.

The London Magazine’s Short Story Competition Entry form:

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival event review - Special Guest: Robert Galbraith in conversation with Val McDermid, Friday 18 July 2014 7.30pm

Following on in my review blog posts of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate, here is my review of the Robert Galbraith event:

Mark Billingham said "One of the most unique and compelling detectives I've come across in years", Alex Gray described the novel as "one of the best crime novels I've ever read", and Val McDermid said it reminded her "why I fell in love with crime fiction in the first place".  But when The Cuckoo's Calling was first published, none of them knew that its author was not what he seemed.  When it was revealed that Robert Galbraith was a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, one of the world's most successful and beloved authors, there was a media storm and Rowling's assured, superb crime debut rocketed up the charts.  This year the book's compelling detective, Cormoran Strike returns in The Silkworm.  In this exclusive appearance Rowling talked about turning to crime with the Galbraith books with early fan Val McDermid. 

Val started off the evening by revealing that she had wanted debut novelist Robert Galbraith for the New Blood panel at the Festival last year and introduced J.K. Rowling as the 2007 runner-up for the person of the year.  Rowling was wearing a fetching grey suit and pink tie with skyscraper heels and Val asked her about her middle name, Kathleen, and whether this had been the influence for her pseudonym as Bob in Blackadder is really Kate.  Rowling revealed that she used the pseudonym to get the book published under the merits of the book and she wanted to keep it going long enough to establish a series; she wanted to do something just for her and while it lasted it was a lot of fun.  When she saw what Val had written about it, she was jumping up and down in the kitchen and wrote a thank-you letter as Robert, but a month later, wrote one as J.K.  The economist J.K. Galbraith, Robert is her favourite man's name and Robert Kennedy her political hero; since childhood she has loved the name Galbraith.

Rowling revealed that she chose crime because she loves it. reads a lot of it and thinks that the Harry Potter novels are whodunnits and why.  She read Ruth Rendell in her teens and loves Christie, Margery Allingham's The Tiger in the Smoke, Peter Whimsy of the Harriet Vane mysteries, Mark Billingham and P.D. James.  J.K. had read very little fantasy and joked that you are never the murderer if you have long thin fingers and alluded to The Moving Finger by Christie, who she feels was on the run from the tax man and never given credit for her humour.

When asked about her character Strike, J.K. said that forensic teams prefer a police officer, but his military brains and trust led to him going the security route.  In regards to his amputation, hopes it is not choke syndrome, this is his reality of living with disability which is close to her heart with her Mum's history (sometimes a wheelchair, sometimes a stick) but in Cuckoo's Calling she could use this.  Strike gets angry and frustrated by it, but deals with the day to day difficulty of it.  It was also a chance to deal with her fame in the guise of the world of books in The Silkworm, her new novel.  Her next book is quite different and you find out more about what happens to people after they leave the military.  She has some good research to go onto the next book; the story arc is planned for more than seven books.  Her process when she starts a book is to plot (she had the plot for The Silkworm before Cuckoo's Calling, as she wanted to introduce Strike in a less complex story, and it is the most complex plot she has ever written; she has been working on the plot for six years as there is a revelation in chapter 48 that was the kernel of the idea and worked it out from that).  She plans a lot (a vast plot) and researches.  The third Strike book is the best planned book she has ever written and it has a colour-coded spread sheet.  She sets a working day, not a set number of words.  Val sets 1500-2000 words a day and 5-10k words a day in a row.  J.K. researches before the book, writes it and researches if needed as goes along.

Rowling's publisher never got to take her out for lunch as didn't know who it was, only the editor did.  Researched loads of forensics, insects in bodies etc., and has now got good contacts in the Met, Mystic Bob, so a degree of insight into forensics through them.  She reveals that there is a point in the book where you hate it, so she recommends you take a day off then go back and read it and start again.  In the last third of the book, starts thinking about the next book and it is always more attractive.  She is half-way through the third and just started plotting the fourth as a carrot.  She is also working on a script for Fantastic Beasts and where to find them and a couple of Strike's.  Warner Brothers wanted to do a film on Fantastic Beasts so she started writing it and found it fun/challenging/fascinating but her first love is novels.  She feels that if being a novelist had not worked, she would have been a psychologist and teaching because she was broke and had a daughter, but really wanted to be a writer.  She had to justify chasing this dream when she had someone wholly dependent on her.

Val said that she loves Robin, as do most readers, and if you let her marry Matthew they are all going to be very, very cross.  J.K. feels that she is the first extremely lovable character she has written, including Harry Potter, as she is good, smart and kind (Forster said: Only a writer with a sense of evil can make goodness readable).  We will find out the answer to this question in book three.  She wanted to make a detective with a female side-kick as physicality is important as harder to cope with disability but there is genuine friendship and awareness of attractiveness.  Strike can charm people and it gets him in places, but in the third book Robin gets to do a few things it wouldn't be possible for him to do alone.

Rowling revealed that in her research for the book she was in a cafĂ© and a builder came in and said that someone had said that J.K. was in there but then announced that he didn't know what she looked like, so she breathed a huge sigh of relief.  In Cuckoo's Calling she invented more locations, but Silkworm is real locations and she loves London and wants to get out in the real world.

When Val asked what it is with the Latin, she said that she did Classics at University and in the Strike books it is a clue to what he was studying, backstory there.  Robert Galbraith came first but knew wanted to write crime.  She feels that Strike is not her, yes he is the central character but he has different politics and treats people in a way she would never and she would never want to go work for the News of the World.

The evening ended with J.K. Rowling signing her Cormoran Strike books as her pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

#RobertGalbraith  #JKRowling  #TOPCRIME2014  #CormoranStrike  #CuckoosCalling  #TheSilkworm

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Ghost Stories and How to Write Them by Kathleen McGurl book review

Whilst I was away on holiday I read my kindle edition of this book by Kathleen McGurl (known for her Womagwriter blog).

In her easy style, Kathleen mixes her own ghost stories (as examples to refer to) with advice on how to write a good ghost story and information on the 3 main types of ghost story. She believes that all have to have a beginning (the main character has a problem/story to resolve this through their actions), a middle (before the problem gets better, things get in the way) and an end (the issue is resolved).  The 3 main types are epic, tragedy and comedy.

Her expertise as a writer for Womag means that she thinks there are 3 ghost story types for this market: 1) Where the ghost is the character with the problem, 2) Where the ghosts presence helps the main character come to terms with a loss, usually of whoever the ghost was when it was alive and 3) Stories where something spooky happens, but there is an alternative rational explanation offered for those who don't/won't believe in the supernatural.

She has 3 main story rules for type 1 stories: 1) What is the ghost's problem and why are they still hanging around on earth when should be in heaven? 2) Why is the ghost haunting people now?  What happened to make it active? 3)  Decide on your ghostly rules and stick to them (i.e. can your ghost walk through walls, move objects etc.) and be consistent.

For type 2 stories there are the following rules: 1) Use lots of emotion  2)  Use a circular story structure (strong hook, backstory comes later or is fed in  3)  The ghost is not the main point of the story.

Type 3 story rules: Alternate rational explanation and work out what the problem is and what needs to happen for it to be laid to rest.

An entertaining and informative book, if a little on the short side.                                          9/10

For more information on Kathleen:

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Writers and Artists Newsletter

Here is the latest Writers and Artists newsletter for my followers to peruse:





Join award-winning author Sarah Crossan and her literary agent Julia Churchill on 16th October for a two-hour evening masterclass on writing Young Adult fiction. Through inspiring discussion, practical advice and writing exercises, you’ll find out how to write about the teenage experience, what agents look for in a submission and how to avoid the common pitfalls YA writers face.
Gain the confidence and knowledge you need to take risks, explore new ideas and write successful YA fiction. Click here to book your place today or call 0207 631 5985.





Publishing remains an ever-evolving industry, and self-publishing continues to be very much at the forefront of recent change. More platforms, more providers… writers are confronted by more choices than ever before when looking to make their work available on e-readers or bookshelves across the world.
To help make things clearer, we’ve brought together a fine list of speakers from all corners of the self-publishing industry for a full-day Self-Publishing in the Digital Age conference, held at The Wellcome Collection, London. The event will cover all aspects of becoming a self-published author, from editorial considerations through to discussions on cover design, where your book’s distributed, how it's marketed and also the price it should be sold at.
With speakers ranging from bestselling authors to Amazon representatives and industry insiders, this essential event will give you everything you need to successfully self-publish your book.
To reserve your place at an exclusive discount price of just £75*, click here and enter SELFPUB20 on the checkout page.
*Offer valid until midnight, 15th November.










How to Hook an Agent November


Our September event sold out in the blink of an eye but, fear not(!), we have one more ‘How to Hook an Agent’ lunch booked in for 2014. Literary agents (left-right) Charlie Campbell, Jo Unwin, Alex Christofi and Jemima Hunt will be joining us on 22nd November to discuss everything you need to know on the submission process; from covering letter faux-pas to crafting a perfect synopsis.
This intimate, half-day event takes place at Bloomsbury Publishing, London. If you’d like to reserve your place, click here or call 0207 631 5985 (though, as always, places are limited!) 




Visit our online shop to browse through a host of titles available to help you on your way to publishing your book.


Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2015
Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2015

Writing Children's Fiction
Life Writing




ListingsAnd our Online Listings database enables you to browse nearly 5,000 contacts for the book publishing industry. To purchase a twelve-month subscription click here

Monday, 25 August 2014

Lucy film review

Went to see this today with my husband and son at the Leeds/Bradford Odeon.

IMDB says: A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

In this Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Taken 2) written and directed film, Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, We Bought A Zoo) stars as Lucy, who goes from being an innocent to a gun-toting super-human.  When her dodgy new boyfriend Richard (Pilou Asbaek, A Hijacking, Sex, Drugs & Taxation) sets her up as a courier for the drugs he is supposed to deliver, she enters into a deadly underworld.  Forced to act as a drug mule for a new synthetic drug by sinister king-pin Mr Jang (Min-sik Choi, I Saw The Devil, Lady Vengence) and The Limey (Julian Rhind-Tutt, Rush, Notting Hill) along with three others, including The German Mule (Jan Oliver Schroeder, Head in the Clouds, Belle and Sebastian) and The Italian Mule (Luca Angeletti, Escort in Love, Holy Money), she is assaulted by one of her captors, causing the drugs to enter her system and then her troubles really begin.

Using her new found knowledge, she enlists the help of French police captain Pierre Del Rio (Amr Waked, Syriana, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) to track down her fellow mules but by now her mind potential has grown so much that she can alter her own body and can control others.

Morgan Freeman (Now You See Me, The Shawshank Redemption) stars as Professor Norman, a leading light in the field of the untapped potential of the human mind, which leads Lucy to believe that he can help her and so she travels to Paris to meet with him, but  Mr Jang and his minions are hot on her trail intent on recovering their drugs and silencing her.

This film is effects driven, but delves deep into the philosophical questions of what it means to be human but unfortunately loses its way and rushes the ending, leaving you with a let down feeling.  It does give you many questions to ponder and I understand that it could not possibly answer them and it could be that this is exactly what Besson was aiming for, but there is so much happening when Lucy arrives in Paris, that it spoils what could have been a much better film.  Another 30 minutes would have enhanced the film no end and even though it is a sci-fi, a little bit of reality in that an influx of armed policemen arriving at a building having been warned that an armed drug cartel is coming, would notice the massive black vans with armed bad guys outside said building, would have helped too.

Tagline: The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity. Imagine what she could do with 100%.

For me, the film tried too hard to be two things, philosophical and action, and though it succeeded with the action in the most part, it was let down by a rushed ending that ruined the philosophical aspect.


#Lucy   #ScarlettJohansson   #MorganFreeman   #LucBesson

Sunday, 24 August 2014

New Writing North newsletter

Here is the latest New Writing North newsletter that I thought my followers would be interested in viewing:

August 2014
News from New Writing North
New Writing North news
Durham Book Festival programme revealed
Booking is now open for this year’s Durham Book Festival, which takes place from 6-18 October in venues around Durham. We’re thrilled with this year’s line-up, which includes many household names from literature, politics and broadcasting, including Kate Adie, John Carey, Laura Bates, Kirsty Wark, Jung Chang, Sheila Hancock and Kate Tempest.
There are several new commissions for this year, including a new poem from Festival Laureate, poet Paul Farley. We sent writer and broadcaster Stuart Maconie to explore the Durham Dales and report back about his experiences, while Economist journalist Anne McElvoy has been visiting Easington Colliery, where she met some of those photographed by Keith Pattison in his seminal images of the Miners’ Strike.
We’re also celebrating North East writers, with events featuring Debbie Taylor, Lauren Owen, Dan Vyleta, Carolyn Jess-Cooke, Bryan and Mary Talbot, Andy Croft, Bill Herbert, Linda France and Ben Myers.
See the full programme of events and book online at the new festival website at
Durham Book Festival for Schools
Teachers! Don’t forget to book your events at Durham Book Festival for Schools, which takes place on 6 and 7 October. Join authors Meg Rosoff, Mick Manning and Brita Granström, Helen Stephens, and Daljit Nagra for two days of special events at Durham Johnston Comprehensive School. There is also a special twilight session with Daljit Nagra, who will lead a poetry writing workshop for teachers. To find out more go to
Gordon Burn Prize shortlist announced
We’re delighted to announce the shortlist of the second Gordon Burn Prize, which is run in partnership by New Writing North, Faber & Faber and the Gordon Burn Trust, and was conceived to pay tribute to the legacy of the late author.
The prize seeks to recognise writers whose work follows in the fearless footsteps of Newcastle-born Burn. This year’s judges are the comedian, actor and musician Julian Barratt, poet John Burnside, artist Sarah Lucas, and novelist Benjamin Myers, winner of the inaugural Gordon Burn Prize in 2013.
The winner will be announced on 10 October at a special event to open Durham Book Festival. Lee Brackstone, Gordon Burn’s editor at Faber & Faber and one of the prize’s founders said, ‘This year’s prize threw up a shortlist which is embarrassingly rich and strong in literary qualities that Gordon, we hope, would have found attractive. Gordon’s literary intelligence was quixotic, egalitarian, and always questing for new experience to be presented in a novel fashion… We hope you will feel compelled to read each of the books on the shortlist and reach back into Gordon’s extensive backlist to see thematically and stylistically these books correspond to the work of one of the great English literary writers of the late 20th century.’
The shortlist The Valley, Richard Benson (Bloomsbury) The Kills, Richard House (Picador) The Wake, Paul Kingsnorth (Unbound) The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink, Olivia Laing (Canongate) American Interior, Gruff Rhys (Hamish Hamilton) The Free, Willy Vlautin (Faber & Faber)
The Worst Princess
Following the success of last year’s My Granny is a Pirate, we’re hard at work on The Worst Princess, our brand new children’s show for under 7s. Adapted by Carina Rodney from the gorgeous picture book written by Anna Kemp and illustrated by Newcastle-based Sara Ogilvie, the production will be touring 40 community venues in County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, as well as festivals in Sheffield and Manchester this autumn.
With original live music, an amazing picture book-inspired set, and North East actors alongside musicians from Sage Gateshead, the show promises to be a wild and fun-filled adventure into a world of princesses, princes and dragons, where characters defy expectations and learn to be themselves. The show opens on 29 September at Gateshead Old Town Hall and a list of all dates and venues is available at Book soon because many dates sold out last year!
The Worst Princess is produced by New Writing North in association with Sage Gateshead and support from bait for Durham Book Festival.
NEW for September: Cuckoo Young Writers groups in Sunderland, Newcastle and Cramlington
Cuckoo Young Writers are now recruiting young people aged 12-19 years for our fortnightly Young Writers sessions starting from Saturday 13 September. Focusing on various styles of writing, sessions are drop in, free and run from 11am-1pm. If you are an aspiring writer, or know someone who is, drop Nick Malyan a line at or call him on 0191 204 8852 for more information.
Cramlington Cuckoo group leader wanted
We’re seeking a creative person with an interest in working with young people to take on a new role as part of our Cuckoo Young Writers programme. Working alongside a professional writer, the candidate would run weekly sessions supporting young writers with creative projects. Sessions take place on Saturday mornings from 11am-1pm in Cramlington and are paid at a rate of £25p/h. Trained Arts Award Advisor preferred. For more details download the job description here.
To express an interest in this opportunity please write to Nick Malyan explaining why your experience and ambition would make you a good candidate for this post. Email Nick at or for an informal discussion, call 0191 204 8852.
Join the Moth Publishing crime family
Penned a brilliant crime story? There is still time to dust off your manuscript and enter our Northern Crime Competition, which is open to both novelists and – for the first time – short story writers based in the North of England. Winning short stories will be published in a crime fiction anthology, while winning novels will be published in print and as ebooks. Find out more at, but don’t delay – the competition closes on 29 August.
Socially engaged artist wanted for Leeds residency
Artist House 45 is a unique opportunity to be involved in a new project pushing the boundaries of socially engaged practice and community activity. East Street Arts is looking for an artist or collective of two, who have an established, socially engaged practice. Artist House 45 will create opportunities, encourage sustainable projects and house an artist. Local residents will be encouraged to become co-producers of the artist’s projects with an opportunity to unlock and share experiences, learning, resources and relationships.

East Street Arts has secured a traditional two-bedroom, back-to-back in the residential area of Beeston, Leeds. The house is offered at Leeds City Council rates and a bursary of £14,100 will be given to support the artist/s to work three days a week responding to the local area and communities. Closing date: 28 August. For more information, see
Homeless: the SASH Writing Competition
Yorkshire homelessness prevention charity SASH is offering a new competition to writers over 16 and based in the UK, to write on the theme ‘Homeless’. Entries may be in any genre and of a maximum of 3,000 words. Award-winning author Ross Raisin (God’s Own Country, Waterline) will judge the competition, the first prize of which is a five-day residential writing course, courtesy of Arvon. Closing date: 10 October. For more information, go to
The Cultural Spring: Evaluator
The Cultural Spring is looking to appoint an experienced evaluator (or team of evaluators) to undertake the evaluation of its Creative People and Places project in Sunderland and South Tyneside from October 2014-January 2017. See for the evaluation brief. Deadline for proposals: 8 September, 5pm.
Durham Cathedral: Documentation officer and exhibition officer
Durham Cathedral has secured support from the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver Open Treasure, a £10 million project which aims to transform the experience of visitors to the cathedral by creating high quality gallery spaces in which to deliver a rolling programme of exhibitions, featuring the cathedral’s own extensive collections and items on short-term loan from other prestigious institutions. They are looking for a documentation officer and an exhibition officer to help deliver the project. Closing date: 27 August. Download an application pack at
The Listening Post
North East Rising
Arts Centre Washington: 4 September, 7.30pm
Rowan McCabe and Arts Centre Washington present a new one-person show, North East Rising, which blends performance poetry, theatre and stand-up, and in which Rowan searches for the true heart of the region’s culture. Expect hallucinatory tales, humorous satire and some pause for thought as Rowan meets eccentric characters, writes a gangster rap about stotties and goes on a journey that seeks to shake apart Northern stereotypes. Suitable for ages 14+. For more information, see
Chris Ryan:Hunter-Killer
Queen’s Hall, Hexham: Saturday 13 September, 7.30pm
Former SAS officer and author of Strike Back Chris Ryan returns to Hexham to talk about his new book, Hunter-Killer, which is described as ‘the law of the jungle, London style’. Book your tickets online at or call the box office on 01434 652477.
Workshops and classes
Writing workshops in Northumberland
Words Across Northumberland & Northumberland Arts Development are offering new writers the opportunity to join two short courses in Haltwhistle and Wooler libraries. Both courses cost £15 for all three sessions. Places are limited so sign up early to avoid disappointment.
In Haltwhistle, Valerie Laws, author of The Operator and The Rotting Spot, is leading a series of three workshops on aspects of crime writing to help you plot your murder mystery (Saturdays 6, 13 and 20 September, 10.30am-12.30pm, tel. 01434 322809 to book). For more information, see
In Wooler, former BBC journalist Barbara Henderson, who writes as Bea Davenport (In Too Deep, This Little Piggy)  will cover how to start a piece of historical fiction in her three-day course, Imagining the Past (Saturdays 8, 15, 22 November, 2pm-4pm, tel. 01668 282123 to book). Details are at
For more information, telephone the libraries above or email
Deadline for the next newsletter
If you have news that you would like to submit for inclusion in the newsletter please contact The deadline for receipt of information for the next newsletter is 25 August. The next edition of The Listening Post, covering September’s literature events, will go out in late August. If you have events that you would like to submit for inclusion for this you will need to send information by 21 August to
While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this newsletter is correct at the time of going to press, things do change, frequently at the last minute and very often without our knowledge.