Arts / Education / Playwriting / Reading / Writing

Hexham Book Festival

"Working with the Gillian Dickinson Trust has been a wonderfully straightforward and supportive experience." - Susie Troup

In 2012 Hexham Book Festival needed core funds in order to continue to deliver a book festival and related events in Hexham and we were fortunate enough to be successful in our bid to Gillian Dickinson Trust for a grant. Support from the Gillian Dickinson Trust has over the last two years enabled us to continue our programme of events supporting reading and writing in all its forms across a variety of venues and libraries in and around Hexham. Financial support from the fund has further enabled us to run several free events for the region’s aspiring authors and workshops for children who face barriers to reading and writing, these included a trial ‘tent’ venue located on the Sale Park opposite the Queens Hall for events for young children – story telling and workshops, something we hope to establish as a more permanent fixture in the 2014 Festival. An increase in audience figures and resulting box office has meant that we have been able to build on our financial reserves to sustain us while we seek new sponsorship partners in difficult economic times.

We are delighted to have been able to continue partnerships with local businesses and venues in Hexham which are very important to the Festival, and pleased to have been given time to establish new partners. Well known and famous authors appeared alongside lesser known writers and poets over the last two years.  We profiled over 40 authors and poets in 2013, including Claire Tomalin, Lionel Shriver, Joe Simpson, Phyllida Law, Edward Stourton, Michael Frayn, Gavin Hewitt and Kate Atkinson. Feedback from participants and audiences has been overwhelmingly positive and we have had an excellent response from the region’s restaurants, cafes and shops reporting an increase in sales over the Festival weekend, all which helps boost the local economy and ensures their ongoing support.

Our dedicated children’s programme took place in October and we welcomed over 800 children aged 3 to 12yrs to events in the Queens Hall , we were fortunate to host the only performance in Northumberland of the adaptation of Val McDermid’s children’s book for preschool children ‘My Granny’s a Pirate’ which was an immediate sell out success.

Working with the Gillian Dickinson Trust has been a wonderfully straightforward and supportive experience and we are grateful to the trustees who have been simultaneously ‘hands off’ and interested in our development as an organisation.

Susie Troup
Director, Hexham Book Festival