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15 May 2018

Authors to visit Cumbria as library campaign celebrates 10 years

Authors of new books published during the last year will be touring Cumbria’s libraries throughout June as part of Read Regional 2018.

Read Regional is a celebration of brilliant new books from the North of England, which connect authors with readers in their local libraries. Founded by New Writing North in 2008, the campaign is funded by Arts Council England and is produced in partnership with Cumbria County Council’s Library Service and 22 other library authorities across the North of England.

Cumbria Library Service has been part of the campaign since 2016 and has previously hosted writers including internationally renowned poet Jack Mapanje, and Gulwali Passarlay, the influential Afghan refugee who is a TEDx speaker, activist and campaigner.

There are twelve titles on this year’s Read Regional campaign list, offering a broad selection of poetry, children’s books, nature writing, fiction and crime.  All 12 titles are now available to borrow from Cumbria’s libraries, and reading guides for each book can be downloaded from www.readregional.com.

For the authors, Read Regional is not only an opportunity to meet readers and talk about their work, but also to celebrate the vitality of libraries as centres of creativity and learning for the whole community.

Jane Austin, author of ‘News from Nowhere,’ one of this year’s shortlisted books, is visiting Carlisle Library on Monday 4 June for a reading and Q&A session.  Jane said:

“Libraries play a hugely important role in bringing people together to explore thoughts, feelings and ideas through a shared passion for books.”

David Mark, author of ‘The Zealot’s Bones,’ one of this year’s shortlisted books, is visiting Whitehaven Library on Wednesday 5 June for a reading and Q&A session.  David said:

“This may sound a little obvious, but I like the fact that people can go to libraries and get books they want, for free. I mean, that’s brilliant, isn’t it? Books should be available. I’m also rather fond of librarians, who seem to me like the gatekeepers of a fabulous realm and who really shouldn’t have to spend any time persuading the accountants that their service is valuable. Of course it bloody is.”

Sarah Dunnakey, author of The Companion, another of this year’s shortlisted books, is visiting Penrith Library on Thursday 21 June for a reading and Q&A session.  Sarah said:

“My local library is a safe and welcoming place that doesn’t have a dress code, doesn’t try to sell me anything, doesn’t care about my age, gender or sexuality.  A place to sit and think.  To read, to write.  To think a bit more. Like a spa with words and ideas instead of steam.”

Councillor Deborah Earl, Cabinet Member for local communities, said:

“This is the third consecutive year that Cumbria Libraries have taken part in Read Regional. We’re delighted to be hosting events to bring some of the best contemporary writers in the North of England to our libraries, as well as offering our readers the exciting selection of featured books, and the opportunity to enjoy the work of our home-grown talent at one of the reading and Q&A sessions.”

Claire Malcolm, Chief Executive of New Writing North, said:

“There has never been a more important time to support our local libraries. Read Regional is ten years old this year and over this period things have changed a great deal for libraries with the onset of austerity programmes for local authorities. These have been challenging times with many libraries undertaking great change. Through Read Regional our partner libraries have continued to support our campaign and authors, working hard to ensure that regional writers get great opportunities and that their readers can access wonderful books and events.”

Read Regional runs from March to June 2018 in libraries across the North of England. Find information about all of the events and download reading guides for each of the titles at www.newwritingnorth.com

The titles selected for 2018 are:

Girl Zero, A. A. Dhand

Take This One to Bed, Antony Dunn

How Saints Die, Carmen Marcus

Fish Boy, Chloe Daykin

The Zealot’s Bones, D. M. Mark* originally from Carlisle and former writer for the Cumberland News

An Honest Deceit, Guy Mankowski

News from Nowhere, Jane Austin

Fell, Jenn Ashworth* novel is set in 1960’s Grange over Sands

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World, Kate Pankhurst

Basic Nest Architecture, Polly Atkin

A Sweet, Wild Note, Richard Smyth

The Companion, Sarah Dunnakey

Cumbria County Council’s Library Service will be hosting the following events which will feature an author reading, talk and a Q&A session:

Carlisle Library, Monday 4 June, 2pm - Jane Austin

Whitehaven Library, Tuesday 5 June, 2pm - David Mark

Workington Library, Wednesday 6 June, 6.30pm - AA Dhand

Penrith Library, Thursday 21 June, 1.30pm - Sarah Dunnakey

Barrow Library, Wednesday 27 June, 1.30pm - Chloe Daykin (this event is for invited school classes only, it is not open to the public)

Grange over Sands Library, Thursday 12 July, 7pm - Jenn Ashworth

Authors of new books published during the last year will be touring Cumbria’s libraries throughout June as part of Read Regional 2018.